The age of public information saturation

By Tammy Jackson . . . Recently in my boredom I decided to look at my local Clerk of Courts public records online to see what it says about me. I have no criminal convictions. To my amazement, after having looked a few years ago and finding nothing except my divorce info, I discovered that traffic speeding tickets from the 1990s, some twenty-five years ago, are listed — as if this is vital information about who I am. Zooming along at 38mph in a 25mph speed zone in 1990 must be pertinent information to need be listed today. I suppose the fact that my driving record was less than squeaky clean in my late teens and early twenties must prove that I’m at risk to reoffend according to a society with a “Right to Know” addiction. It may very well have mattered for a brief part of my life. Today, not so much. The same can be said of anyone listed on registries and lists today.

In the state of Ohio, as is the case in most states, minor traffic violations remain on your driving record for two years in most instances and can potentially affect your auto policy premiums for a three-year period according to the insurance companies. So I ask: What does this public information really have to do with my driving ability some twenty five years later?

Furthermore, not only are a couple of speeding tickets listed, but also my married name is provided in parentheses. I changed my maiden name to my husband’s last name in 2006. Even more invasive to me is that my current address is listed, not the address where I resided in the 1990’s. Is a person really being paid to update personal information for traffic violations almost thirty years later? Even if there is an existing computer program that automatically adds updated personal information, at what cost was this program and why would any department or agency pay to implement a tool that delved into such antiquated and insignificant minutiae?

One can only imagine the shock — based on all the “public” information that exists online due to overtly aggressive proponents who insist this makes us safer — when future generations discover their ancestors were heathens. It seems that Great Grandma Jackson’s driving record will be far more significant and exciting to learn of compared to her Kohl’s department store bridal registry or professional career.

I thought at one time that wrongdoings, no matter what they involved, were to become the past once whatever form of retribution was completed. Just because an ability to seek personal information about someone exists doesn’t make it a prudent choice. It seems this saturation of public information at our fingertips should cause as great a concern with unconstitutional repercussions as it does with our trying to figure out who the unlawful citizens complied on some list or registry are. But I guess that’s just too antiquated of a philosophy for today’s standards of public information sharing.

Me today, YOU tomorrow.

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Tammy Jackson

Tammy serves as co-chair of the Conference Planning Committee. In addition, she serves on the Finance Committee, Marketing Committee, and assists with various NARSOL projects.

  • This topic has 8 replies, 1 voice, and was last updated 3 years ago by AvatarTim l.
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    • #39090 Reply

      I’m afraid that this magnet ink system called a computer is just a public shaming for all to know. People wanting to justify themselves people wanting to shame others. Even everything you text on a computer ends up trying to get others to say OMG did they do that. I guess nothing is private even a person’s thoughts.

      Course I don’t know what I’m saying but public saturation thru the internet is just people being a bit meddling if you ask me in a wrong way. Myself I don’t care about these forces of evil that stock on the internet. Its when they take the information and want to twist it into something to glamorize themselves or to con others out of something.

    • #39094 Reply

      The very same proponents of this crap who want to know all about YOUR business will be the first ones to tell you to *mind your own business* when it comes to THEIR lives. Ironic, isn’t it?

      Something has happened to our country since the end of the mid 2000’s, I’ll say around 2005/06-ish. I could get into my own personal details of why I feel this way but I’ll save it. Let’s just say that around that time we went from being a somewhat normal society to a society that fears it’s own shadow. I went to prison on my charges in 2006 and got out in 2008. It’s as if I came out to a whole new USA. People got…..weird.

      Also, this unnecessary information about traffic tickets from 1990 is just another, more minimal way of this “great and wonderful country” holding our pasts against us. Any and all information, no matter how long ago it was CAN AND WILL BE used against you in a court of law. The prosecutors LOVE to be able to say:

      “Your honor, Mr so-and-so was convicted in 1977 for shoplifting. Now he’s in trouble again in 2018 on a violation of probation for not asking his probation officer for permission to go to the movies. See how Mr so-and-so doesn’t seem to learn his lesson? He’s a danger to society and should be locked up!”

      • #39104 Reply
        Tammy Jackson

        You are so right. Society’s mentality changed dramatically when the economy took a downturn and less jobs were available as employers sought ways to sift through prospective candidates. The temporary employment agency industry determined background tests were a must and I believe this led to a new hire rule more-so than any known instances of ‘on-the-job’ related crimes happening all at once and causing such reactionary measures. This coupled with the internet’s age of information sharing has became the standard norm rather than having any concern for privacy.
        The public registry and these never-ending lists feed this beast. The SOR specifically influenced Americans in an ever broadening grave manner in that it has not only chastised one populace, but also because it summoned attention to the idea that we must know about everyone’s history in order to accommodate someone feeling ‘safer’ and frankly, feel better about their own self. In my humble opinion, it has created even more of a thinking error hierarchy based on who did what, thus causing former offenders outside of the scope of sex crimes to minimize their behavior-especially when addiction has been accepted as a disease or symptom of mental illness instead of the deviant behavior it was at one time considered. There is unfortunately a plethora of people who perceive risk based on reading about someone’s past on the internet rather than accepting someone’s existing attributes.

    • #39141 Reply

      While this article of Tammy’s is a bit different from the usual articles on the sex offender topic I really wasn’t sure how to comment. A lot of us have all done things in the past but should the past convict us in this know it all information age of computers. Actually it shouldn’t or do we all have some guilt. I would tend that those officers have the bigger guilt.

      Looking at this topic does make one wonder who’s trying to play the double jepordy game when most all of this is a sex offender issue we all face today of a devilish nature whether physical or psychological. In the end who is right, those in blue uniforms or those ones that are ensnared in this. You could even say its brain washing with a enticing effect to lure one to their doom. I don’t care what my past is and if people found out as everybody has a past whether good or bad.

      I don’t like to use the word entraptment because man has always wanted to justify themself even in court situations they want to crucify you if one lets them.

    • #39195 Reply
      Will Bassler

      After reading this article it got me thinking there are all kinds of public records out there. If you stop and think about it, buy a house there is a public record of it, making improvement to that house is a public record for it, get dragged into court for a dispute with the neighbor or a business there is a public record for that to, get married, get divorced, have children, the list goes on and on. What I see happening in the near future is the nosy people who think they are above reproach, that like this idea of knowing others information are going to have it turned around and karma is going to come back and bite them hard. simply because there are bigots of every kind and bigotry can always be carried to extremes, and things that seem simple choices to a person at the time somebody else can find a reason to hate them for. Then they will be the ones crying about the loss of privacy. At that point what has happened in the UK and Japan will start to happen here we will have the movement, hash tag the right to be forgotten. that is for everyone except registered citizens.
      yes I’m a cynic.

    • #39196 Reply
      Tim L

      A database is a powerful tool. Politicians realized it early on and moved quickly to utilize it to full effect. The indenture of convicted sexual deviants was one of the first actions undertaken by two parties. Offenders are indentured. Offenders are forced under threat of felony to maintain them. The databases are property and offenders are the servants of that property. Therefore the registration regime always was intended to be A PUNISHMENT as described under the 13th amendment. Clearly the electronic databases are being used to impose affirmative disability, justified or not. Like P&P the regulatory regime known as SOR DOES indeed tell you what you may not do where you may go, reside or travel.

      State AGs will deny the punitive effects claiming the efforts upgrade public safety and outweighs all implications of liberty.

      • #39233 Reply

        Tim if that’s true than we as sex offenders don’t have any unalienable rights to stand up even with a plea deal or a guilty plea. Does that seem fair or constitutional? I mean people can dupe one in public but thru an internet based system sounds a but unorthodox to me. I can understand that people want to keep records
        and all that . Even the records of presidents good or bad and laws that have bit the bullet.
        Sounds a bit confusing to me and when we do go to court on these challenges they seem to want to be right so I would have to say evil forces are involved in a lot of this con game of tearing one’s conscience down.

        • #39449 Reply
          Tim l

          Registrants still have rights but they just assert them. I have twice demanded jury trial for a registration cases. In the most recent it took all of two years to get to trial. I took every opportunity to confront the illegal nature of states application. I have forewarned our county DA that the next time I will be calling one M.M.H. back to the stand in my defense. While he may doubt it will happen, it will.

          IMHO taking it to jury is the best option. Most will get convicted of the civil felony but pointing to the facts is incredibly cathartic. My case is kinda unique so I have advantages but any registrant could do the same. For me SO R is a poor public policy and explaining why to the jury is straightforward.

          What concerns this registrant more than anything is our government and firms misusing data to protect those not acting in the interests of liberty, namely its preservation. FBs data is a good example.

          Holding citizens culpable for wrong doing not their own is patently wrong. Always keep in mind, for the establishment (The little prince) to stay in power they must appear to protect constituencies interests. ENTER THEDON….LOL! He too is facing attacks from the press concerning his sexuality. His implied relationship with a porn starlet is being exploited by those that disapprove of his politics. It’s the same schmeering imposed by SORNA. What a society.

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