3 Things You Didn’t Know About Public Records On The Internet
What Are Public Records?
A public record is any document or piece of information that is filed with or by a government agency.
For example, let’s say you recently learned that your coworker was convicted of an assault. Because that case’s information was documented through the government, you can request to receive more information and details on that case from the courthouse.
Information such as arrest records, court cases, driving records, and mugshots are generally considered public records.
Now the next question most people ask is how public are these records?
Freedom of Information Act
In 1966, the Freedom of Information Act became law. Every state has its own version, but it generally gives anyone the right to obtain records from any federal agency.
Many people might see this as a violation of someone’s privacy, but public records play a significant role in maintaining a transparent relationship between our government and us.
Although this is a powerful right to the people, the FOIA is not without limits. The court might seal records from the public eye if it were harmful to the government or private interests.
There are nine FOIA exemption categories ranging from personal privacy information, trade secrets, national security, or law enforcement if it were to be publicly disclosed.
All agencies are encouraged to use their discretion and release information if there is no foreseeable harm.
How To Access Public Records?
If you want to access public information, you will need to submit a written request to the appropriate agency that reasonably describes the information sought and complies with the agency requirements.
As long as the record is in the agency’s control at the request’s time, you can obtain any file.
Each federal agency has its own process in handling information requests. Review the list of federal agencies for the exact contact information of the government agency holding the information you’re looking for.
Directly contacting the agency will give you the quickest possible response regarding your request.
How to Remove Online Public Records
Many people discover that their private information is posted on a website. Like many, most people don’t want their personal information out and in the open.
The best and cheapest way to get your information removed from a website is to contact an appropriate website administrator and submit a content removal request.
Depending on the number of websites you want your information to be removed from, getting your content removed can be time-consuming and stressful.
Those that find themselves in a deep pit and struggling to manage their online information are recommended to work with an online reputation management company.
When the situation is getting out of control, it becomes harder to handle on one’s own. Online reputation companies will provide their clients with a team of digital experts to crawl the internet and remove all websites holding the customer’s personal information.
Remove your unwanted information as soon as possible. The faster your information is removed the less likely it will spread onto other sites.