« Use Your Cell Phone to Dictate an Email Message with Jott | Main | Madison Stuff Exchange »

Adoption Information Mistakenly Available on CCAP

When looking for his own parking citation in CCAP, a UW-Whitewater faculty member was surprised to find a piece of his son's confidential adoption record, reports JS Online. [CCAP, officially known as the Wisconsin Circuit Court Access (WCCA) database, contains the records of Wisconsin county courts.]

"I was stunned," said [David] Munro, who teaches issues related to computer security and ethics... "I knew some sealed records, including ours, had been partially revealed. I had no idea what the scope was."

After a little research on the database, Munro realized that the information was just enough for people to discover they had been adopted or to possibly lead to the identification of birth parents.

State officials confirmed that they were unaware of the problem until Munro contacted them late last year. Pieces of adoption records involving about 200 families were publicly exposed on the state system for about four months, authorities said...

Robert Knoll, Register in Probate for Milwaukee County, said the records were a microfilm index of old adoption records uploaded into the CCAP system for storage and should have been coded differently. None of the families whose adoption records were partially exposed was contacted because CCAP fixed the problem and because only the index information was revealed, he said.

Counties are responsible for coding cases properly so the CCAP system can decipher whether the cases should be displayed on public access or not, Bousquet said. There is no way of knowing how many "hits" were made on the adoption index records during the time they were exposed, she added.