By Mark O’Neill
Contributing Writer, [GAS]
If you have a US criminal record and you want to keep it hidden, then you will soon be out of luck. Anyone with an Internet connection who knows your full name and birthdate will be able to easily look it up on Criminal Searches – for free.
The site covers all 50 states in the US and it has privacy advocates choking on their Cheerios. No longer do people have to hire expensive private investigators to check into people’s backgrounds – all they need is to type the person’s name into Criminal Searches.
But in a newspaper interview, the site owner admits there are faults with his service. Some law enforcement agencies are digitizing their files faster than others and if you don’t know the person’s birthdate, it’s very easy to confuse one identity with another.
Plus there is concern that people will start to abuse the database. Criminal Searches makes the task of finding if someone has an old criminal record so easy, it’s not hard to imagine that this information could be used for nefarious purposes.
What do you think? Is ‘Criminal Searches’ a worthwhile public service or a potential disaster waiting to happen?