PUBLIC RECORDS PRIVACY STATEMENT
November 1, 2014
UniCourt Inc. (“UniCourt”) uses personal information responsibly and strives to protect privacy rights. All data in our public records databases are supplied by government agencies and reputable private suppliers. We do not add personal information collected from individuals to our public records services and products.
UniCourt makes personal information available for legitimate uses by business and government organizations. That means we adhere to the principles in this Public Records Privacy Statement and comply with the requirements of statutes such as the U.S. Gramm-Leach-Bliley Act (GLB) and the U.S. Driver’s Privacy Protection Act. UniCourt limits access to nonpublic and Social Security number (SSN) information, and may terminate access to any user who misuses Public Records. Public Records provided by UniCourt are used to identify and clarify relationships among businesses, people and assets. UniCourt is not a consumer credit reporting agency. Therefore, UniCourt does not:
- a) Maintain any databases of nonpublic individual financial data such as individual credit reports, income tax records, or bank information
- b) Collect or distribute information about any person’s religious preference or health
- c) Collect any person’s medical records
“Public Records” are records that are created and maintained by government agencies and are open for public inspection (although access may be limited to certain permissible purposes). Examples include:
- a) Real estate records
- b) Court records (filings)
- c) Birth, marriage, and divorce records
- d) Motor vehicle data
“Nonpublic Information” is information about an individual obtained from a source that is privately or publicly owned and is not available to the general public. Examples include Social Security Numbers and similar government-issued identification numbers.
“Publicly Available Information” is information about an individual from non-governmental sources that is available to the general public. Sources include:
- a) Newspapers and other publications
- b) Telephone directories
- c) Classified ads
“Personally Identifiable Information” is information about a person that identifies or is directly attributed to that person. Personally Identifiable Information is contained in Public Records, Nonpublic Information and Publicly Available Information. Examples include:
- a) A person’s name
- b) Address
- c) Date of birth
- d) Social Security Numbers
“Permissible Use” means that UniCourt’s subscribers must use Public Records for specific, legitimate purposes. These purposes must comply with the U.S. Gramm-Leach-Bliley Act, U.S. Drivers Privacy Protection Act and other applicable laws. Examples of uses that may be permissible include:
- a) Detecting fraud
- b) Locating individuals
- c) Engaging in law enforcement and official Government activities
DO WE DISTRIBUTE NONPUBLIC INFORMATION TO THE GENERAL PUBLIC?
UniCourt does not distribute Nonpublic Information to the general public. Only properly authorized UniCourt subscribers have access to Nonpublic Information available through databases. UniCourt subscribers, when appropriate, could include law firms, legal and compliance departments, governmental agencies and other authorized entities.
WHO CAN ACCESS SOCIAL SECURITY NUMBERS (SSNs) THROUGH OUR SERVICES?
UniCourt users may search records using a SSN in their possession, but the results of those searches will display masked SSNs. An example of a masked SSN is XXX-XX-1234. The vast majority of UniCourt users cannot access full SSNs. Only approved users within government agencies (for example, law enforcement and certain government agencies) and certain specially approved private sector entities may have access to full SSNs. Before they are granted access to SSNs, these organizations must qualify through a review process to have such access.
HOW DO WE SECURE PUBLIC RECORDS AND PERSONAL INFORMATION?
UniCourt strives to keep all of our data secure. We take reasonable steps to protect Personally Identifiable Information from unauthorized access. UniCourt employees do not have access to full Social Security Numbers, except rarely when required for specialized product development and support functions. Such employees are required to complete privacy training and agree to an appropriate use affirmation.
WHAT STEPS DO WE TAKE TO INFORM EMPLOYEES AND USERS ABOUT APPROPRIATE USE OF OUR SERVICES AND PRODUCTS?
UniCourt takes steps to inform our employees and users about appropriate use of our public record services and products. We take measures to bridge awareness of:
- a) Responsible use of Public Records, Nonpublic Information and Publicly Available information; and
- b) Privacy and security issues associated with information services and products from UniCourt.
HOW DO WE ACQUIRE PUBLIC RECORDS AND NONPUBLIC INFORMATION?
ARE OUR RECORDS ACCURATE?
UniCourt takes reasonable steps to accurately reproduce data we receive from suppliers. However, sometimes this data may contain errors. While some data suppliers and government entities will entertain requests for changes from members of the general public, many will only acknowledge and consider requests for changes when they are submitted by resellers such as UniCourt. Therefore, if you find an error related to Nonpublic Information or Public Records provided by UniCourt, please contact UniCourt immediately to enable any necessary correction. Based on the source of the data and the requirements of that particular vendor, we will notify you as to the documentation that you may need to submit in order to have the vendor consider making the change being requested. Please be aware that we have no options in terms of the copies of documentation that may be requested to commence the correction process for any particular error. The requirements are dictated by each supplier.
WHAT KIND OF INFORMATION IS INCLUDED IN THE PERSONAL INFORMATION STATEMENT?
The personal information statement may include information from Public Records and nonpublic sources. The statement will only include information from records referring unambiguously to you. Please see the Definitions section of the Public Records Privacy Statement for definitions of Public Records and Nonpublic Information.
CAN I HAVE MY PERSONALLY IDENTIFIABLE INFORMATION REMOVED?
You may request your Personally Identifiable Information be removed from UniCourt’s public records databases. However, it is important to note that casual removal of such information could compromise the integrity of our services and products, in part because others rely on the accuracy and completeness of our databases.
UniCourt will act to help prevent certain harms to an individual that could result from the display of personal information in our services and products. Therefore, each request will be evaluated on the merits of that request and the nature of the service or product in question. In evaluating such requests, it must be determined whether the person in question:
- a) Is a judge, public official or member of law enforcement; and/or
- b) Can provide evidence that the availability of his/her personal information through our services and products exposes him/her to risk of physical harm; and/or
- c) Is a victim of identity theft.
In order to consider such requests, we require a written explanation substantiating the request. Depending on the nature of the request, the person will be required to provide:
- a) Copies of credentials (verifying his/her position in law enforcement or public office); and/or
- b) Letters from supervisors (required when the requestor is a member of law enforcement or a public official); and/or
- c) Police reports or court orders (regarding potential physical harm); and/or
- d) Police reports or letters from credit reporting companies (regarding identity theft).
Additional questions about who can request removal of their personal information or what kind of documentation is required, may be directed to UniCourt at:
UniCourt Inc., 1504 Brookhollow Drive, Suite 116, Santa Ana, CA 92705
Once a request to remove personal information has either been granted or denied, that decision will be communicated to the requestor in writing, as appropriate.
This Public Records Privacy Statement may be revised without notice. If our information practices change in a significant way, we will post the changes here.