Wednesday, May 2, 2007
Google to Assist State Governments with Making Records Accessible
The clash of government watchdogs' wish for open access to government information versus privacy advocates' efforts to protect the public's personal information has intensified as a result of Google's agreement to assist in making public records more readily available online. Google has offered two technologies at no cost to state governments wishing to simplify the online search process for government records. Four states -- Virginia, Arizona, California and Utah -- have accepted Google's offer and have enhanced the search engines on their government websites with Google's technology. Privacy advocates expressed concern that the information being made more readily available is often of a confidential nature. They point to the less than stellar record state governments have compiled with respect to protecting their residents' confidential information, and the increased risk of identity theft should records with information like Social Security numbers become more readily available. State governments need to take steps to identify those government onlline records tha may contain confidential personal information and encrypt such records.