Government Records

What you need to know:

Many government records (local, state and federal) are public by law, and these records are increasingly becoming digitized and easily accessible. These records are generally either available through a public database or sold to commercial data compilers aka data brokers.

Types of public government records that contain your personal information may include: property files, motor vehicle records, registered voter files, professional/business licenses, marriage licenses and court files.

Within these files basic information you can include name, address, phone number and SSN but may also include very personal details, particularly in court files. 

These public records are important for many civic and societal reasons but when compiled with private sources of data can become invasive and lead to issues like identity theft, discriminatory/predatory practices and even harassment/physical harm.

Learn More:

What data is publicly available and its potential negative consequences

What to do:

These files are public by law and are impossible to fully remove from public records.

If you visit your county clerk’s office, it may be possible to have certain pieces of information removed or redacted (like phone numbers or SSN). Although it’s likely this information is already in the hands of private data brokers.