Land Vital Records

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Information about Land Vital Records
News-Reports

Published on April 18, 2008

Author: Connor

Source: authorstream.com

Land & Vital Records in the Sunshine:  Land & Vital Records in the Sunshine Bob Terwilliger, Lisa Goldsworthy & Carol Foglesong NACRC Annual Conference August 5, 2006 What will be covered?:  What will be covered? On-going public access versus privacy issues Washington experience Florida experience What’s happening in other states? Media Reaction and Public Official Savvy What is public access?:  What is public access? Strong and long history of open access to records about land ownership and financial interests in land Dates back to the Plymouth Rock But we’ve moved from “practical obscurity” to international access If we have it, you may search it If we have it, you may have a copy of it Long history for gathering and preserving Vital Records (birth, marriage, death) Not always open to “just anyone” But available to those with a recognized personal interest/relationship What are privacy issues? :  What are privacy issues? You have no right to know more about me than I am willing to share Fear of theft (financial, physical, identity) It’s no one’s business what I own or how much I owe If you make MY information public, someone will misuse it What does public access provide?:  What does public access provide? Fuel to the national economic engine Home-ownership as the American Dream Ability to verify what someone claims they own Is it free? Should it be?:  Is it free? Should it be? Variations across the country Statutes have not always kept pace with technology changes When submitter pays at time of recording, what are they paying for? Act of recording? Preservation of document for future? Copies whenever wanted? Some variations include:  Some variations include What you can see when in-office varies from what can see when on the web You can see, but you can/can’t copy for free (In office? From web?) Index data versus recorded document images What’s a reasonable cost?:  What’s a reasonable cost? $1/page is most common statutory price Consider: Paper versus microfilm versus electronic image Single document versus large number of documents versus month’s or year’s worth Legislate versus business decision Reasonable price versus consistent price Within the state versus across the country Other cost considerations:  Other cost considerations Storage media costs Paper Microfilm Electronic Transfer media costs Paper Duplicate microfilm CDs FTP What is Personally Identifiable Information?:  What is Personally Identifiable Information? Social security number? Date of birth? Driver’s license number? Financial institution account numbers (bank account, credit cards, loan numbers)? Mother’s maiden name? Signature? Washington Custodian of Records :  Washington Custodian of Records In the State of Washington, County Auditors are “Recording Officers” or “Custodians of Records.” The Revised Code of Washington (Titles 65 and 36) define the minimum information required for each instrument recorded and the applicable fees for recording. Washington Recording Fees :  Washington Recording Fees County General Fund $ 5.00 1st Page $ 1.00 Each add’l page $ 1.00 County historical programs Preservation of Historical Documents $ 4.00 (Operations & Maintenance) Archives and Records Management $ 2.00 (State) Affordable Housing $10.00 (State / Local) Ending Homelessness $10.00 (State / Local) Mortgage Lending Fraud $ 1.00 Deed of Trusts Only (State) Washington Document Standardization January 1997:  Washington Document Standardization January 1997 Documents submitted for recording in Washington State must conform to standards set by RCW 65.04 The first page of the document or the cover sheet must include: Title(s) Reference Number(s) Grantor(s) Grantee(s) Legal Description Assessor's Parcel Number Washington Document Standardization – Revised July 2005:  Washington Document Standardization – Revised July 2005 Any instrument, except those generated by governmental agencies, may not contain: A social security number; A date of birth identified with a particular person; or, The maiden name of a person's parent so as to be identified with a particular person. Washington Public Disclosure – DD214s:  Washington Public Disclosure – DD214s Effective 7/1/2002 Military Discharge records may be released only to the Veteran Veteran's next of kin (RCW 42.56.440: Next of kin is defined as widow or widower who has not remarried, son, daughter, father, mother, brother and sister) Deceased veteran's properly appointed personal representative or executor A person holding the veteran's general power of attorney, or Individuals designated by the veteran (must be filed in same location as discharge record). Washington Public Access:  Washington Public Access Many counties across the Washington provide online access in one form or another, including: Full access to images and index data Index only access Limited document access Subscription only access One county will redact SSNs from all documents prior to posting images / data online Washington 2006 Privacy Legislation:  Washington 2006 Privacy Legislation HB 2750 – Disclosure of Federal Social Security Numbers in recorded documents: This bill, which died in committee, would have required county auditors to prevent public disclosure of social security numbers in any recorded document unless the holder of that number has given written permission for its disclosure or it is requested by a government agency. A surcharge of $1 per fee document would have been added to the fee for each document recorded to cover the costs of redaction Washington Privacy Issues Continue:  Washington Privacy Issues Continue A former federal prosecutor and now King County Councilman fears the county's web site is a gold mine for identity thieves scouring the Internet for victims. These fears were announced publicly June 27, 2006. In response, King County’s Director of Records stated disabling access to online documents "would severely affect those who have come to rely on the web site," including citizens, title companies, surveyors, escrow agents and law-enforcement agencies.” There has not been a single case where public documents filed with a County Auditor have been used for the purpose of identity theft. Florida’s Experience:  Florida’s Experience Government in the Sunshine (1979) Chapter 119, F.S. Everything is open and available to the public Public has access to all records and able to make copies of anything Oh, did we really say everything? We meant almost everything… Florida Exceptions:  Florida Exceptions Some 110 amendments; at least one each year for 27 years Law Enforcement & Public Safety Officials’ home address to be protected New protected groups added each year New parameters added; not much consistency Unintended consequences perennially being “tweaked” Florida 2000:  Florida 2000 Section 28.2221 enacted 2000 State law intention: “a proper and legitimate state purpose is served…” = OR Index and images should be more accessible Index data 1/1/1990 to present must be placed on Internet by 1/1/2002 Images of all document on index to be placed on Internet by no later than 1/1/2006 9/11/01 Florida Reactions:  9/11/01 Florida Reactions Don’t want information so accessible; changed the laws in May 2002 Created Section 28.221(5)(a): categories of documents which are not to be viewable on the Internet (but may be seen in office) Death Certificates Military Discharges Court papers from juvenile, mental health, domestic relations, or probate cases Created Section 119.07(3)(ff): no social security, bank account, or credit card numbers on the Internet You can ask to have your number(s) removed; no fee for service may be charged Timeframes Modified:  Timeframes Modified Gave recorders until 1/1/2006 (and then extended twice until 1/1/2008) to mask, or redact, the numbers As of 1/1/2008, applies to both in-office and on Internet copies of documents All 5 number types must be redacted (masked): ss#; bank account; charge, credit and debit card numbers Orange County FL Experience:  Orange County FL Experience 25 million images back to 1970; has now grown to nearly 30 million images No time for staff to review images (refinancing boom, hot housing market, etc.) Decided to go to outside contract instead Chose software AND human eye Cost estimated at just over $700,000 for 30 million images We export images; they run software; then human review; then we import images back into system Preliminary Results in Orange FL:  Preliminary Results in Orange FL Based on 1998 – 2005 (7 years) Roughly 13 million image pages Total pages with masking/redaction = 320,000 (or 2.44% of the pages) Note: overall % is not increasing as go back in time; there are fewer pages even as the occurrence of numbers to mask increases IRS side note Other Florida Counties:  Other Florida Counties Completed/Done 3 counties: Pasco; Seminole; Marion In process The top 6 counties (48% of state population) Estimate another 25+ under contract Estimate 33 still deciding/evaluating What’s happening in other states?:  What’s happening in other states? Michigan Texas California Michigan:  Michigan Lawsuits by title firms against recorders Bulk sale of images pricing Reasonable cost issues Who “owns” records/images Texas:  Texas Not many counties have images on the Internet For one Clerk, it clearly became a campaign issue Those who opposed having images on the Internet challenged the incumbent and made this issue a key campaign issue Good news: the incumbent won handily California:  California Not all counties have images or index on web Despite open public records act (of about 10 years ago) More recent legislation requires that information be Internet-protected for law enforcement, public officials, and judges; but no requirement for self-identification; thus recorders unsure where such information exists Sell records to private firms; prices vary, but it may not be more than the cost of providing the information Legislation Passing/In Place:  Legislation Passing/In Place Arizona California Colorado Florida Kansas Michigan Nevada New Hampshire New Jersey Texas Utah Washington Legislation Stalled/Died:  Legislation Stalled/Died Maine Missouri Pennsylvania Washington PRIA’s Privacy Model Legislation:  PRIA’s Privacy Model Legislation SSNAPP Act (Social Security Number and Privacy Protection Act) Personal identifying information Birth date Social Security Number Driver’s License Number Financial Institution Account Numbers Go forward basis Responsibility/Liability falls on the document preparer who put the numbers on the document States moving to enact: IA, ME, MO, PA, TX Media Action/Reaction:  Media Action/Reaction Scary story; gets immediate reaction; positive ratings impact They tend to simplify, simplify, simplify YOUR ss# is available to everyone YOUR personal financial info is available to everyone YOUR identity will be stolen Recorder comments misused; perceived as defensive Examples of Media Stories:  Examples of Media Stories On-line newsletters David Bloys Kim Cameron’s Identity Weblog Computer World (on line magazine) Local News All over Florida Texas National News ABC Paula Zahn, CNN Public Official Savvy:  Public Official Savvy What to say? “Rules”: Don’t lie Don’t stonewall Always tell the truth Never say “no comment” Don’t be afraid to say “I don’t know” Be accessible Accommodate the media How to prepare? Action, not reaction Prepared sound bites Internal to office versus Web:  Internal to office versus Web Post signs Train staff Web privacy statement prominent Web submission forms Help us help you:  Help us help you Tell us where you’ve found it Commit to removing from public view; “covering it up”; redacting Do not remove from the “as recorded” document (thus protecting the individual who will need the info in the future Certified copy issue: of the “as recorded” or of the “as reflected/redacted”? What can you do?:  What can you do? Promote legislation? Work with partners? Provide “secure” access to “selected” customers? Issue press release(s)? Hold public hearing(s)/forum(s)? Prepare sound bite? Legislation in Your State:  Legislation in Your State PRIA SNNAPP Act Talk to legislators Hard facts, not heart strings Reasoned action; not unfortunate reaction Contact Darity Wesley, Privacy Guru, Privacy Solutions; 619.670.9462; (darity@privacygurus.com) Work with partners:  Work with partners Who really needs what? Who wants what? Public versus necessary business use Meet with title, escrow, lender customers; clarify needs and wants Draw on PRIA Talk, discuss, debate, decide Secure Access to Select Few:  Secure Access to Select Few Price for full/unmasked access How secure is it? User log in and password Share within an office? How define (defend) who gets this type of access? Where are your written policies and procedures? What’s your acceptable use policy? Press Release(s):  Press Release(s) Describe your “Consumer Privacy Protection” practices Tell what you are doing Answer the what, when, how and why questions Use multiple releases Put your releases on your web site Send your releases to NACRC & PRIA 2 Oklahoma Examples:  2 Oklahoma Examples One recorder: we respect your privacy and you need to pay attention to what you are doing/allowing to appear on your documents; privacy is your responsibility as well as mine Oklahoma Attorney General: based on recent situation for veterans, you need to explore your exposure; here’s what you can do; information on how to contact credit bureaus Public Meeting(s) & Forum(s):  Public Meeting(s) & Forum(s) Outline issues and state your Consumer Privacy Protection position (or practices) Hold public meetings Speak at Rotary, Kiwanis, Chamber, Land Title Association, County Bar meetings Speak before your Board of County Commissioners Do a segment for the county tv station? Prepare Sound Bites:  Prepare Sound Bites Memorize your 30-second sound bite Help me help you; My Consumer Privacy Protection policy is… Importance of public land records Can’t close a real estate transaction in <30 days without public land records As independent 3rd party, provide proof of ownership of land Globalization of real estate = many countries want same public records (land & credit) as we have in the U.S. Remember this: you can’t stop reporting of a story. You can only influence it. Untouched Topics:  Untouched Topics What did we not cover that you want to talk about? Who would you like to hear from at our next conferences? Thanks!:  Thanks! Bob Terwilliger Snohomish County Auditor 425.388.3472 bob.terwilliger@co.snohomish.wa.us Lisa Goldsworthy Recording Manager Snohomish County Auditor’s Office 425.388.3713 lisa.goldsworthy@co.snohomish.wa.us Carol Foglesong Assistant Comptroller, Orange County Comptroller’s Office 407.836.5982 carol.foglesong@occompt.com

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