Saturday, August 11, 2007

Keeping Secrets

I haven't had much to say about Oneida County Clerk Sandra Deperno's on-again, off-again efforts to keep public records off the internet since I'm lazy and people like Strikeslip have been all over it. Making government more transparent is a good thing, and that includes making as many public documents as possible searchable via the internet. In an ideal world we wouldn't even need freedom of information laws because everything, down to the billing records of public employees with taxpayer funded cell phones, would be just a few mouse clicks away.

Sadly, that's not how Ms. DePerno thinks. She has claimed her primary motivation for keeping records off the internet is concerns over privacy, but I think that's a straw man designed to exploit people's fears of identity theft. The truth is that both lawyers and abstract companies, the only groups that would have had easy access to county records under her initial proposal, have a vested interest in making it harder for people to get access to property records. With that in mind I'm sure you'll be shocked to discover that those groups were among the biggest donors to her campaign in last year's election.

Purely a coincidence, I'm sure.

Update: Link was bad. All better now.