Five genealogists have started the Keep Genealogical Records Open Workgroup (KGROW). Their goal is to educate government officials and the public about the truth behind identity theft- and terror-related efforts to close public records.
“We find there’s no evidence that open public records contribute to identity theft or terrorism to any measurable degree," says KGROW co-chair Jean Foster Kelley.
Her statement echoes the December 2006 Family Tree Magazine
special report on public records (available as a PDF file at www.familytreemagazine.com/dec06/publicrecords.pdf
). Our research indicates public records pose little identity theft risk; the major culprits are stolen financial documents and corporate data breaches.
States have passed 616 record closure laws since the Sept. 11, 2001, terror attacks. Now state public records laws must comply with the Intelligence Reform and Terrorism Prevention Act of 2004, which could negatively impact your attempts to find relatives’ birth and death records. States can—but aren’t required to—make concessions for genealogical research.
KGROW, a project of the Association of Professional Genealogists
(APG) Florida chapter, will prepare a position paper and solicit support from the APG, news media and other organizations.
For more on public records access, see Family Tree Magazine
's December 2006 special report
. If you know of a threat to records access in your state (such as excessive fee hikes or record restrictions and closures), inform your fellow researchers on the new FamilyTreeMagazine.com Public Records Alert Forum
Wednesday, July 18, 2007 1:54:25 PM (Eastern Daylight Time, UTC-04:00)