Politicians and bureaucrats often try to lock up records of interest to genealogists, claiming such actions are preventing identity theft. A closer examination of the facts, however, often reveals that such actions are futile. Locking up records typically keeps out the legitimate users while the thieves contine to operate unimpeded.
A recent example has been reported on Ars Technica about two New Jersey Department of Motor Vehicle employees who have been accused of selling personal information they routinely had access to. The New Jersey prosecutor's office claims (at http://www.mercercountyprosecutor.com/press/Motor%20Vehicle.pdf) their investigation "uncovered that two employees of the New Jersey Motor Vehicle Commission were providing the names, addresses, dates of birth and social security numbers of unsuspecting residents that they obtained through their employment." They were charging as little as $200 per identity.
You can learn more on Ars Technica at http://goo.gl/pR6ML.
Denying records access to descendants and others with legitimate interests will never slow identity thieves. Somewhere in every government agency, every company, every insurance agency, and every other repository of records there will be at least one low-salaried employee who will be willing to provide all the information a thief wants for a fee.
The recent arrests in New Jersey is but one example. I suspect there are thousands of other such sales of personal information in every state in the country.
Let's get the word out to the politicians and bureaucrats: stop blocking legitimate access and tackle the real problems.
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