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Removing Birthdate From Iowa Court Records Could Have Unintended Consequences

Many federal, state and local public agencies and courts are actively considering whether to remove or redact identifiers from public records and documents. The Iowa State Court Administration is considering redacting (masking) the date of birth (DOB) from court records. As well intended as this move may be to protect Iowa’s citizens from identity theft, it could carry with it some unintended consequences impacting those seeking employment or housing. Redacting important identifying information from court records greatly impacts the ability of background screeners to obtain the critical information needed to make accurate and timely hiring and leasing decisions. Having an individual’s full DOB is a critical identifier in public record data as it helps ensure the correct data is matched to an individual. Without this, background screening reports cannot be as complete and thus cannot help promote safety in our communities.

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