This week in public records: Alabama – California – Maine – Virginia

The well established may disappear overnight in the realm of online government records. Visitors to the Jefferson County, Alabama Probate Court online records search – the site for images of land records, personal property and probate recordings – were recently greeted by an unwelcome message.

Due to privacy concerns, this site is unavailable until further notice. Data is still available at the Jefferson County Probate offices.

A reporter alerted the county to the availability of Social Security numbers in some document images – mostly older UCC filings – which were not properly redacted. The site is completely down until all the SSNs can be removed.

California legislation that would have restored the public’s right to view police disciplinary information has apparently been derailed before being heard in the Assembly Public Safety Committee. The California Progress Report gives a detailed review.

The San Mateo County, California Court site has posted a Standing Order restricting personal data in court filings, in accordance with the California Rules of Court. Personal identifiers should be limited to the last 4 digits of the Social Security number, the year of birth, and initials for minor children.

Adoptees received some good news in a bill signed by the governor of Maine. Starting January 1, 2009 anyone adopted in Maine gains the right to their original birth certificate. Only 3 other states have unlocked adoption records that were formerly closed.

In the ever new species of state registries the Virginia Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services has sprouted the Dangerous Dog Registry!

The Dangerous Dog Registry provides a mechanism for consumers to determine if dangerous dogs reside in their neighborhoods and for local animal control officials to post information about dogs that have been declared dangerous by the local court.

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