PITTSBURGH — Pennsylvania has removed millions of public records from a state court system website, and while a statewide newspaper group says that’s a troubling policy shift, an online privacy expert says it’s reasonable.
State officials say they are treating the electronic copies like paper ones, which are destroyed after a certain period of time. The Patriot-News of Harrisburg first reported that the records which were removed involve minor crimes, traffic offenses, landlord-tenant disputes and small lawsuits. Records of serious crimes are still kept for decades.
Edward Spreha, a Harrisburg-based defense attorney who frequently deals with traffic cases, said the change will make it harder to find the criminal and civil court records of his clients, potential clients and witnesses. He said searches that once took moments could potentially take weeks.