Connecticut Takes Some Protection Order Info off the Web

Via PI Buzz I hear that the Connecticut court is removing some protection / restraining order information from its website.

Effective Monday, Dec. 3, 2007, and in accordance with federal law, information identifying a party protected by a restraining order will no longer be available through the civil/family look-up section of the Judicial Branch’s website. This federal prohibition does not extend to disclosable information in a file at a court clerk’s office.

Under a 2006 amendment to the Violence Against Women Reauthorization Act of 2005, no state, Indian tribe of territory “shall make available publicly on the Internet any information regarding the registration or filing of a protection order, restraining order, or injunction in either the issuing or enforcing State, tribal, or territorial jurisdiction, if such publication would be likely to publicly reveal the identity or location of the party protected under such order.”

EPIC and several domestic violence advocates in DC filed comments against a proposal by the DC courts to place information like this online. We highlighted this VAWA prohibition. In those comments we pointed that DC law requires an intrafamily relationship before a protection order is issued. That means that information like the restrained party’s name might identify the protected party. We also pointed out that information about addresses that the restrained party cannot approach has a likelihood of disclosing protected party location. We also pointed to other privacy problems with other court records, including divorces and civil cases.

It looks like the Connecticut court will still keep a lot of things on line. For more on the risks of that, see our comments (pdf).

Posted: November 23, 2007 in: