The Michigan State Court Administrative Office (SCAO) recently released an updated version of their FAQ (Frequently Asked Questions) concerning “Personal Identifying Information in Court Filings.” This FAQ covered the basic rules, orders, as well as standards related to how the Courts protect Personal Identifying Information (PII).
The Michigan Court Rule (MCR) 1.109(D)(9)(a) states that personal identifying information is not to be included in public documents or in any attachment filed with the court unless it is done in a way that complies with the Courts’ rules.
The FAQs include what information the Courts consider to be personally-identifying information. This consists of a person’s date of birth, state-issued personal identification card number or driver’s license number, national identification number or Social Security number, financial account number, or passport number.
The Michigan Supreme Court has amended a previous amendment concerning redacting birth dates from court records. These birthdates are used by background screening companies as identifiers during the background screening process. Therefore, the previous amendment that would have banned the display of birthdates on court records would have made background checks difficult because, without a birth date, it would have been difficult to be sure a court record belonged to the person being screened.
The Fair Credit Reporting Act requires background screening firms to match personal identifiers such as a birthdate to the person whose background is being checked in order to make sure the background check is accurate. If the personal identifiers cannot be matched, a background check cannot be completed. This caused the Professional Background Screening Association to become concerned. However, the latest amendment deals with this concern. This amendment became effective on April 1, 2022.
MCR 1.109 protects personally identifiable information, such as birth dates in court records, and this information cannot be accessed unless it is permitted by court rule or by law. But, an individual is allowed to give written consent permitting an agency or another individual to access their birthdate information in court records.
As of April 1, 2022, the SCAO Consent Verification Registration will allow authorized individuals to give consent that will allow another agency or individual to access personal identifiers, including birthdates in court records. Any person or agency that wants to be an “authorized individual” must register at https://www.courts.michigan.gov/CVRApp.
The list of people that are already registered as authorized individuals is available to the public on the Michigan State Court Administrative Office website. It will give the agency’s or individual’s full name, their employer or hiring entity, email address, as well as their proof of professional liability insurance and the expiration dates of their assurance.
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