JULY 27, 2007
The state court in one Southern California county uses a company in Mexico to do the data entry of traffic tickets, regularly sending the confidential personal information of U.S. citizens south of the border.
Since last year Orange County’s Superior Court – one of 58 superior courts in the state–contracts with a firm that uses workers in Nogales Mexico for Department of Motor Vehicle data processing. This means that private information such as drivers’ license numbers, car tag numbers, birth dates and addresses are scanned and sent to Mexico.
This alarming information was made public this week on a local radio show by a county law enforcement officer who has concerns about identity theft and the potential for terrorism. Outraged residents bombarded the county’s Board of Supervisors with angry calls protesting the system but the courts are state agencies and not in the county’s jurisdiction.
One Orange County supervisor assured, however, that he and his colleagues on the board would never support outsourcing personal information outside the country because it must be kept as closely guarded as possible.
Court officials defend the practice, saying that the data is transferred by electronic encryption using state-of-the-art security.
A court press release explains that the Mexican staff is dedicated to keeping the public’s information secure and safe and that all employees are certified by the Sonoran State Police. Additionally, the press release assures that the Nogales facility has round the clock security and video cameras.
Considering the rampant and well-documented corruption and drug trafficking among Mexican police officers and commanders, the court’s assurances should be of little comfort to those who have received a traffic ticket in this California county.
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