Sample of the Written Public Comments
Received from the Website & E-mail
COMMENT - I am opposed to the state of NJ, or any agency
or subunit of the state, revealing or disclosing to anyone any information
about me contained in any public records, by mail, phone, fax or
over the internet. This would of course include my name, social
security number, address and phone number, as well as any other
- I do not believe home addresses need to be accessible to the public
in most cases. They need to be available to law enforcement personnel,
but should be so restricted. There may be other categories. If so,
restricted access is appropriate. Making home addresses fair game
for the public is otherwise unnecessary and sometimes dangerous.
Certainly the government should be denied the right to circulate
home addresses, except in the limited categories. It is probable
that no one can identifying every category in question; therefore,
everyone should be allowed to obtain a home address from public
records by seeking an order from a court, providing adequate reasons.
- When I give my home address to the government, I have a reasonable
expectation that the government will not turn around and give my
home address to anybody else.
- # 1 - I believe that home addresses, home phone numbers, along
with their SS numbers should be made public for the following reasons.
I am a Business Agent for Plumbers and Pipefitters LU 9 here in
central NJ. Often we have get certified payroll from different contructions
jobs that are ongoing. There is rampant cheating taking place by
unscrupulous contractors who take advantage of their workers by
not paying them the prevailing wages for the craft that they represent.
Or the worker takes cash for some of the hours and checks for the
rest. We need all the information we can get as to insure that all
workers and the taxpayers of this State are not cheated. Often the
agency representing the job leave the name blank or SS blank or
the addresses. This information is needed because some workers need
a place to call like us to let us know their contractor is cheating
them. When you get to a federal funded job it is an absolute disaster
with rampant cheating of wages taking place. So the need for all
the personal information that is available is needed to protect
the taxpayer and worker in general.
- Any and all personal information should be made available for
the aforementioned reasons.
COMMENT - I am quite concerned about permitting ANYONE to
obtain personal information about me. The requirement to release
all documents a government has to anyone especially news organizations
and businesses looking to sell something is quite outrageous.
Information about what is happening is one thing but releasing everyones
name address family information workplace is too much! Our privacy
must be protected. Victims must be protected. This law only serves
news media and bad guys trying to find out information to harass
law abiding citizens
COMMENT - I will be unable to attend the public hearings
being held by the Privacy Study Commission, however, I would ask
that the following comments be considered.
addresses are just the tip of the ice berg. Property records are
now available on-line in Ocean, Union and Middlesex Counties. These
records are not only Deeds, which of course contain addresses but
also the following that contain more dangerous information. Many
mortgages contain social security numbers typed below the legal
signatures, these social security numbers, should be redacted from
the copies available to the public, however, the custodian/County
Clerk does not do so. Federal Liens, and Institutional Liens also
contain social security numbers and these instruments are also available
to view and copy without this information redacted. New Jersey's
County Clerks have in essence, provided a data base for identity
theft by allowing them to be available on-line. Getting 50 pieces
of junk mail a week really is not as serious as some criminal going
on line and obtaining your legal signature and social security number
to use to steal your identity.
that you consider this information very seriously and at least take
some sort of formal intervention with the County Clerks on this
very serious matter.
- this is my public comment on the privacy study commission's study
of privacy and how it impacts the public's right to know.
long been a fan of open public government. I believe the government
has too strong a power to hide things it does that are wrong when
it restricts access to public records on its citizens. It too often
uses "privacy" to hide its criminal dealings.
public records open. I want them available. I am willing to lose
the "privacy" that commercial enterprises may gain or
that other members of the public may gain in order to prevent government
from its secretive dealings. Our far greater danger is government.
Certainly no matter what "privacy" rules are ever made,
the only ones kept from knowledge will be the public - the government
always gets the information it needs or wants.
public records open and available. We are seeing these days far
too many records which should be open kept closed and unavailable.
example, we get anonymous reports of bears being seen. We want to
protect the bears. We are entitled, as members of the public, to
know where the bears are and we do not know that unless we have
available to us addresses where it was reported they were seen.
We have even had reports on these addresses withheld from us. I
consider that absolutely stupid. Certainly that kind of information
want to know who owns guns in New Jersey, if I am so inclined. If
my child goes over to play with another family, I am entitled to
know through public records if there is a gun in that house.
PUBLIC RECORDS OPEN TO THE PUBLIC, WHO PAYS FOR THEM. PUBLIC RECORDS
DO NOT BELONG ONLY TO GOVERNMENT BUREAUCRATS WHICH IS WHAT HAPPENS
FAR TOO OFTEN.
- An item in the Sunday Star Ledger of June 8, 2003 provided information
on the commission and invited comments from interested people. While
the article seemed to focus, in the main, on whether the government
should provide individual's home addresses in cases where there
is no obvious need to know, there are other issues as well.
I am especially concerned about the increasing imposition of the
requirement to furnish Social Security numbers where there is no
obvious need, or benefit.
With all the examples of identity theft that are occurring, the
seemingly indiscriminant insistence on providing SSN's becomes increasingly
suspect. As an example, I cite the requirement to provide one's
SSN when applying for a recreational clamming license. My understanding
of the law is that such request must be accompanied by an explanation,
in writing, of the need and purpose for the SSN. This has never
happened. In addition, the "original" copy of the application
is kept, with dozens of others, attached to an unsecured clipboard
at the location where I buy the license. Virtually anyone could
access any number of SSN's. I fail to see why a driver's license
is not sufficient, if one must establish identity (especially in
light of the fact that NJ is adopting digital licenses which are
supposed to be more "secure").
There are other examples, I'm sure. I should note that yesterday
I received my Tax Saver Rebate application. Inside, the SSN's of
both my wife and myself were clearly provided. If these applications
were to be removed (stolen) from the mail, anyone could access information
they have no business having.
I would like to see less reliance on SSN's for identity in cases
where they serve no useful purpose and where there are clear alternatives.
I would also like to see that greater care be taken on the part
of the government to protect this information (SSN's) when it is
necessary to keep them on file.
COMMENT - Our country is based on rule by the majority. Why
should the right-to-know of a few surpass the right to privacy of
the many. Put it on a ballot or take a poll. The majority of people
will say that they don't want their personal information released.
There are the obvious issues of being deluged with junk mail and
telemarketers, but there is also the issue of identity theft. If
someone is able to search enough databases, chances are that they
will be able to collect enough information to steal a person's identity.
I pay the phone company to not list my number just to minimize unwanted
calls. Why should the government (or anyone else) be allowed to
give it out. When I give my information to a government agency (for
a license or whatever), it is for THEIR use. The information is
still MINE and does not belong to anyone else. Right-to-know: sure,
but right-to-know what? How the government works, yes. Statistics,
sure. My personal information, NO!
Sunday Star Ledger article on privacy stated that Barbara Peterson
says that keeping commercial enterprises from exploiting address
lists is not good enough reason to close government files. Well,
she is wrong, it is plenty good reason. We the majority should have
our rights protected, rather than the minority. She further stated
to the effect that junk mail doesn't hurt! What planet does she
live on? With so much identity theft going on, one can't take a
chance and just dump the junk. One must remove their personal information.
That means not only the address label, but go through it and remove
all the other places personal info is printed on the inside, and
shred it. This takes time. Time is money. Being self-employed, this
junk mail should be clearly marked with contact information where
one can have their name removed from the mailing list. If that information
is not there, the Post Office should not deliver that mail!!
stop now, so as not to bore you. Hopefully you have read this far
and get the idea.
- As a Licensed Private Investigator in the State of New Jersey
and as the
President of the New Jersey Licensed Private Investigator's Association
(www.njlpia.org), I represent thousands of investigators in the
Tri-State area. I am writing to you to explain our position with
regard to the recent discussions and concerns with access to public
records here in New Jersey.
a former law enforcement officer, I recognize the need to protect
the privacy of individuals from those who have no need for the information
except bad intentions and are motivated to cause harm both in a
personal and financial way. The need to protect the public from
these types of individuals is the right thing to do, but any such
regulation and or restriction should not prevent Licensed Private
Investigators from this information. The commission should know
that we are not the characters that are portrayed in television
dramas and in the movies. NJ Investigators are law abiding professionals
with years of experience and we must meet strict requirements which
include state police criminal background checks that delve into
our credit history, moral and ethical character. In fact, since
85% of licensees are retired or former law enforcement officers,
New Jersey licensees combined have more law enforcement experience
and expertise than most police departments. The laws that regulate
private detectives in New Jersey clearly define us in a way that
provides us with specific privileges that allow us to conduct investigations.
We are not seen as the general public, although whenever laws are
considered or passed that effect our profession, we are never asked
for our input and ultimately we are faced with challenges of trying
to rectify a wrong.
commission should be aware that we as investigators provide a vital
service to our clients, which include attorneys, insurance companies,
employers, state and federal agencies and other law enforcement
agencies. We are not the ones that the public should be shielded
from. Our use of public records helps in support of child custody
issues, alimony, identity theft, insurance fraud, false employment
applications, background checks, and defense and plaintiff legal
ask that you take into consideration that our industry provides
support to the community and to law enforcement. I ask that we be
allowed to testify at any hearings on this subject and that our
input be sought as we cannot afford to be hampered by any further
limitations. We strongly encourage the commission to recommend that
any laws restricting or limiting access to public records includes
an exemption for New Jersey Licensed Private Investigators.
- I do not feel that home addresses should be considered public
information. If i make a complaint to a state or municipal or county
agency I am going there for help and the info i send i expect to
be private including my home address and the matter i am complaining
about. I do not want attornies to get it and use it to start class
action suits or others to get the info or my home address do that
they can write to me. I WANT MY ADDRESS AND INFO MADE PRIVATE otherwise
why should i turn individuals in who may be beaking the law or ripping
off consumers. If I give the government name and address to get
a driver's license or regster a car I expect it only to be used
by them not made available so someone can purchase it and invade
if i register my children to participate in a public sponsored event
i expect that info to be private. otherwise people who pray on children
could come along ask for a list of names and addresses of all the
children participating in a summer swim program for instance and
use that info to find their victims.
someone wants to find out info they can use the phone book but they
should not be able to get it from a public agency. I DO NOT WANT
EVERYONE IN THE WORLD HAVING THE RIGHT TO KNOW MY BUSINESS BECAUSE
SOMEONE FROM THE PRESS FELT IT IS THEIR GOD GIVEN RIGHT TO KNOW
understand that documents like contract for services etc should
be public but individual's home address and phone # should not be
available from gov. agencies.
I saw in the Camden Courier Post that an individual testified that
he was starting a title look up service and felt that he was not
getting cooperation from the county clerks. You should check around
with title agents and companies because county clerks have been
giving them access to transfer records for years. Long before OPRA.
THAT MY ADDRESS FROM THIS COMMENT WILL NOT BE MADE PUBLIC.
- I've read the recent press re the Privacy Study Commission with
keen interest. As a former computer-industry professional (20+ years),
I believe that the most significant enemy that the average, honest,
taxpaying citizen faces is it's own government-and specifically
this interest in stripping individuals of their constitutional rights
to privacy. The computer is clearly the vehicle; however it is the
corrupt vested-interests in law, the finance and insurance industries
and politics that are catalyst to dismantle citizen's rights. We
are a morally and ethically bankrupt nation.
I work daily with social security numbers of unwitting citizens,
now coerced by their government, to provide "key" information
i.e mother's madien names, etc. About 25% of my co-workers are,
I'm told, not citizens! Who knows where their true interest are?
It's rumored that some additional 5-10% State employees and countless
numbers of County and Local parties are convicted felons, who are
now allowed access to individual's most sensitive data! The State
library system now facilitates identity theft research, by citing
birthplaces and social security numbers of deceased New Jersey parties!
I need not write a book for you as to how/where that facilitates
anyone interested in identify theft. Fishing licenses in this State
require provisal of social security numbers! Any controls on those
records? Electronic payroll deposits; identifier numbers on health
insurance cards, etc, etc. each provide significant opportunity
to thieves intent upon defrauding the hapless, honest, stable citizen.
Telemarketers have absolutely no right to personal demographic information!
Yet government's coerced and purchased politico's are bending over
backwards to insure that no one has any semblance of privacy (except
of course the judges and other "nobilities" in what has
become a two-class system. There are no controls on any of the government
files that can be demonstrated to be in the best interests of the
citizen. There are no sanctions on parties who violate the limp-wristed
rules that exist. There are increasing examples of deliberate bias
by financiers; lenders and of course, by government itself, to deprive
When they write the obituary for America (and we're fast becoming
a third world nation without citizen liberties of any kind) this
issue of dismantling personal privacy-and as such the individual
rights to life and "liberty" and justice- will surely
be cited as the key ploy used by those who reject "freedom"
in favor of dictatorship! It has become increasingly clear to me,
that New Jersey has become an anti-American, police state; that
the country is headed very quickly in the same socialist direction
and that the only winners are those interests cited above and the
crooks themselves, who have never been static (or honest) enough
to fall victim to these invasions. What's particularly sad to note,
is that so many of the persons involved in this matter don't even
care to understand the significance and consequences of these liberalized
leftist shifts in what once was a proud, free nation.
- In response to your Commission accepting comments regarding public
government records rules, I'm writing to state I feel very strongly
that home addresses should NOT be made public. I feel this is a
personal privacy issue, a safety issue and can make identity theft
easier. Furthermore, we have no choice in supplying our address
to the government, it is a requirement for many items, not an authorization
to disclose private info. Lastly, a newspaper article on this subject
mentioned Fishing Licenses as an example. We are also now required
to supply a social security number to obtain a fishing license,
I surely hope making that information public is not being considered.