U.S. courts may put more case records online

U.S. courts may put more case records online

A committee of federal judges this week recommended posting most federal court case files online, with some restrictions.

Social Security cases should be excluded, the judges said, because they often involve disability claims with medical records. Personal identifiers such as Social Security numbers, birthdates, financial account numbers and minors' names should be removed or modified, they said.

The judges did not recommend placing any criminal case files online, citing safety and law enforcement risks.

Dial-up access is already available for some case data through the Public Access to Court Electronic Records system, which carries a 7-cent-per-page fee; each court maintains its individual PACER database. Online files would also be available for free at public terminals at courthouses.

The full Judicial Conference will consider the report at its Sept. 11 meeting. The proposal can be viewed at www.uscourts.gov/Press_Releases/att81501.pdf.

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