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Birth date bill would cripple watchdog ability

by The Oklahoman Editorial Board Modified: February 24, 2010 at 4:11 am •  Published: February 24, 2010
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uot;Did someone say identity theft? That’s easy — I’m against it!”

If only it were true that access to dates of birth swings the door wide open for those wishing to steal an identity. In fact, experts in the field will tell you that these sorts of criminals feast not on public records or birth dates, but on such things as stolen mail and lost or stolen wallets.

Why should the public care about this issue? Because birth dates allow reporters to determine whether an elected official has paid his taxes, or whether a school teacher has been to court for a violent offense or a sex-related offense. Unless a name is unique, a date of birth is vital to the process of sorting these things out and keeping the public informed.

If this bill were to become law, it would cripple the media’s ability to fulfill its critical role as watchdog for the public — the men and women who pay the salaries of these city, state and federal employees. The state Senate clearly has no qualms about that. Perhaps the state House will.

by The Oklahoman Editorial Board
The Oklahoman Editorial Board consists of Gary Pierson, President and CEO of The Oklahoma Publishing Company; Christopher P. Reen, president and publisher of The Oklahoman; Kelly Dyer Fry, editor and vice president of news; Christy Gaylord...
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