Iowa’s Secretary of State’s office removed thousands of records from state websites last week after learning that hundreds of them contain business officers' and board members’ Social Security numbers.
At first glance, it seems a common sense decision, welcomed by anyone concerned about personal privacy and identity theft prevention.
But Iowa’s banking and business leaders accustomed to the easy access to information afforded by the Internet are howling about expensive delays in their day to day business activities.
“Banks can’t make loans without access to these records,” said *** Davidson, a corporate and bank attorney in Davenport.
“This is creating an absolutely impossible situation for lawyers and lenders. We have to have this stuff,” Davidson said in an interview with the Des Moines Register.
For it’s part, the Secretary of State’s office will provide hard copies of the deleted records with the Social Security numbers blackened out--just like it did in the old days--but the process is much slower than viewing them over the Internet.
In a perfect world, the solution would be to remove the Social Security numbers, restore the records and return them to their earlier, easier accessibility.
Unfortunately, perfection doesn’t come cheap. The Iowa legislature just approved increased land record transaction fees to raise $2.4 million to remove thousands of Social Security numbers from IowaLandRecords.org. Secretary of State Michael Mauro just discovered last year that his own Social Security was visible on that site.
Mauro said he’d might ask legislators to appropriate millions more to pay for additional redaction.