Private Investigators In Virginia

PI Chatter Professional Investigators in Virginia

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Posted by Bill on November 9, 2007

PIAVA’s main “poster of posts” is out of touch with the Blog right now.  So, really good researched investigative posts will not resume until next week.  Meanwhile, if any PIAVA members or other visitors have comments or investigative information they want to post, send me a paragraph or two on the subject via e-mail to president@piava.org.

 Meanwhile, PIAVA member Nicole Bocra advised that the Virginia Freedom of Information Advisory Council issued a press release on November 8, 2007, about research and studies conducted by their Personal Identifying Information Subcommittee (PII Subcommittee) and the FOIA Council and the Social Security Number Subcommittees of the Joint Commission on Technology and Science (JCOTS)—whew what a mouthful!

Anyway the entities mentioned above say that they have been studying public access to Social Security Numbers contained in public records.  The groups have studied two bills submitted in the General Assembly that would exempt certain records with personal information from FOIA requests.  The groups say they have met many times, surveyed VA law relative to the use of SSNs in public records, and they have decided that there is a need to address the sheer amount of personal information collected by the government on individual citizens. 

The joint subcommittees reached an agreement that government agencies are collecting too much personal information, and that instead of considering ways to exempt disclosure of such information, it is better to limit collection of the information in the first place.  So, the joint committees are considering legislation to limit collection by state and local government entities of SSNs and other agency issued identification numbers–whatever those are.  The legislation would prohibit any agency from requiring an individual to furnish or disclose he SSN or agency issued identification number unless such is authorized by law.

I am not sure what all this means in terms of public access to public records.  I hope the joint subcommittees think of ways that uniquely identifies a person who is the subject of some public record–like an arrest or civil or criminal court filing.  There are too many “Jane and John Jones” names in public records.  There should be a way to uniquely identify persons with the same or similar names.  It could be important.  Let’s say that a person is being hired as a chief financial officer of a company and let’s say that the company wants a background investigation on the person before they are hire.  And let’s say that the persons name is Gagnon Scarpelli and in the public records there are 150 persons named Gagnon Scarpelli and that 25 have been convicted of embezzlement or fraudulent practices.  Certainly, the company would want to know if the “Gagono Scarpelli” they want to hire into an important financial position is trustworthy.  Some unique identifier must be available to distinguish one “Gagnon” from another “Gagnon.” 

The joint subcommittees are going to consider this matter in later meetings scheduled for December 3 and 10, 2007.  Interested people from the private security and investigation industry should attend the meetings to see what happens to the considered legislation.

See you there.

Now, an announcement–The next PIAVA meeting is scheduled for Wednesday, November 14.  Notices of the meeting were sent out previously and will be sent out again next week.  Mark you calender.  E-mail me for further information at president@piava.org.

Meanwhile, keep asking questions.

Bill Lowrance

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