Public records are documents or pieces of information that are not considered confidential. For example, in California, when a couple fills out a marriage license application, they have the option of checking the box as to whether the marriage is “confidential” (Record will be closed, and not opened to public once recorded) or “public” (record will become public record once recorded). Basically, if the marriage record is public, a copy of the record can be ordered from the county in which the marriage occurred.[1]


[edit] History

Since the earliest organised quipu, whose meaning has been lost.

In western Europe in the late [3]

[edit] Contents of public records

  • Records of law court proceedings
  • Records of births, marriages, and deaths
  • Statistics regarding population and the economic activity of a country

[edit] Access to public records

Although public records are records of public business, they are not necessarily available without restriction, although Freedom of Information legislation (FOI) that has been gradually introduced in many jurisdictions since the 1960s has made access easier. Each government has policies and regulations that govern the availability of information contained in public records. A common restriction is that data about a person is not normally available to others; for example, the California Public Records Act (PRA) states that “except for certain explicit exceptions, personal information maintained about an individual may not be disclosed without the person’s consent“.[4]

In the United Kingdom minutes of cabinet meetings.

Some companies provide access, for a fee, to many public records available on the Internet. Many of them specialize in particular types of information, while some offer access to different types of record, typically to professionals in various fields. Some companies sell software with a promise of unlimited access to public records, but may provide nothing more than basic information on how to access already available and generally free public websites.[citation needed]


[edit] In the United States

Access to U.S. national public records is guided by the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA). Requests for access to records pursuant to FOIA may be refused by federal agencies if information requested is subject to exemption, or some information may be redacted (deleted).

In addition to the national FOIA, all [6]

There are many degrees of accessibility to public records between states, with some making it fairly easy to request and receive documents, and others with many exemptions and restricted categories of documents. One state that is fairly responsive to public records requests is citation needed]

[edit] Controversy

With the advent of the Internet and the information age, access to public records in the United States to anyone who wishes to view them has dramatically increased. Third-parties such as the information broker industry make regular use of public records to compile profiles on millions of people that are easily accessible to anyone at the click of a mouse, and sometimes make a profit from the service of recompiling and mining the data.

However, it is important to remember that public record data is usually beneficial to people.[expunged after a certain amount of time has elapsed.

[edit] Types of public records

While each state has its own standards about what information is considered public record, the following information is generally available under the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA).

[edit] See also

[edit] References

[edit] External links

This article uses material from the Wikipedia article public records, which is released under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share-Alike License 3.0.