California UCC filings Web site shut down

A few weeks ago I wrote that the California State Controller ordered the removal of social security numbers from state tax liens. Now, Debra Bowen, the new California Secretary of State, has shut down the online UCC filings database in order to remove social security numbers from the UCC filings index.

We have temporarily disabled the capability to perform online searches and orders. In order to prevent identity theft and protect the personal privacy of people whose information appears in documents filed with the Secretary of State, we are in the process of removing social security numbers from all copies and electronic images of UCC filings made available to the public.

Records researchers and private investigators (and anyone else) who requests the paper copies, will receive them with the social security numbers removed. Bowen is not explicit on whether she will redact the complete SSN, but based on the bruising fight private investigators had with her last year over the business records pretexting bill, SB 1666, I expect she’ll remove as much personal information as the law will allow.

What effect might this restriction of public records have on private investigators, businesses and attorneys conducting due diligence, background screening or judgment collection?

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