By Daniel Wiessner
ALBANY, N.Y., Nov 26 (Reuters) - A new proposal by New York
state court administrators would require litigants to redact
confidential personal information, including Social Security
numbers, from most civil court filings.
The proposal, which was announced last week by the Office of
Court Administration, would prevent identity theft by keeping
sensitive information from winding up on the court's electronic
filing system, according to a Nov. 20 memo from OCA Counsel John
"Court papers increasingly are accessed on the internet
(and) personal identifying information is of growing interest to
identity thieves," McConnell wrote.
The proposal would require any "confidential personal
information" -- a Social Security number, date of birth,
mother's maiden name, driver's license number, employee
identification number, credit card or financial account number
or computer password -- to be redacted before filing.
It would exclude filings in matrimonial actions and
surrogate court proceedings, and gives judges latitude in
individual cases to modify the requirements upon a finding of
The proposal provides no penalties for failing to redact
confidential information but says that "a party waives the
protection of this rule ... by filing without redaction and not
The OCA last week also proposed repealing a rule that
allows litigants to electronically file documents containing
confidential information using a designation of "secure status,"
which makes them unavailable for viewing online.
In the Nov. 20 memo, McConnell said the existing rule may
give litigants a false sense of security because secured status
documents are available for public viewing at courthouse
Earlier this year, Chief Administrative Judge A. Gail
Prudenti amended section 202.5-b of the Uniform Civil Rules to
bar secure filing of a number of documents, including
affirmations of service and bills of costs.
During the public comment period for that proposal,
McConnell said, the New York City Bar Association and other
"commentators" urged Prudenti to completely eliminate the secure
status rule, the Nov. 20 memo said.
The OCA is accepting public comments on the proposals until
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