Key legislators say they hope county recorders figure out how to remove personal financial data from land records that had been posted on-line. The website www.iowalandrecords.org was launched in January of 2005 by the Iowa County Recorders Association, providing real estate agents and bankers on-line access to millions of mortgage-related documents.
House Republican Leader Christopher Rants of Sioux City says citizens are clamoring for laws that will help prevent identity theft. "This is exactly what we were concerned about that you have an entity, a quasi-governmental entity with the recorders, that took that information. They compiled it with taxpayer dollars. Another entity is now running the website and it’s out. I understand that in some places there were some people who were dependent on using that (website). It’s down now. There’s a chance is could be put back up, but they have to protect people’s private information."
Lawmakers have to be more vigilant on issues involving potential identity theft, according to Rants. "Frankly, we’ve done a very bad job and when we’ve had opportunities to correct it, we’ve failed to do so," Rants says. "We have a long ways to go to improve it." Senate Democratic Leader Mike Gronstal of Council Bluffs agrees.
"Strong laws to stop this, we need that. Strong punishment for those who don’t do due dilligence to stop this from happening," Gronstal says. "We’ve just got to go that way." Gronstal says it was "absolutely outrageous" that recorders didn’t realize their error. Governor Culver was among those who had their Social Security number posted on the recorders’ website. The website was shut down earlier this month. It appears back up today, but access is limited to "registered users" who can provide a password.