ALTA Whitepaper Addresses Redaction of Info in Public Land Records

September 10, 2019

ALTA’s Real Property Records Committee has finalized a white paper titled “Privacy, Redaction, and Public Land Records,” which provides guidance on the redaction of information in the public land records.

The paper acknowledges there a need to shield protected classes with recognized privacy concerns, but this need must not impede normal business activities. Redacting specific parts of a document or expunging/removing an entire recorded document can prevent access to information and documents that are necessary for providing constructive notice, protecting land rights and preventing fraud, according to the paper.

“Redaction can create unintended consequences including severely restricting or even prohibiting people from buying and selling real estate,” the paper states. “Even worse, redaction can create a false sense of security for the people who are intended to be protected and can increase the risk of fraud.”

In addition to making recommendations for effective solutions to protect privacy in the public land records, the paper is addresses these redaction topics:

  • Where privacy is a recognized concern and redaction of public land records works
  • Where privacy is a recognized concern, but redaction of public land records is not an effective solution
  • The potential impact of redaction of public land records on businesses
  • The potential impact of redaction of public land records on local government
  • Additional unintended consequences of redaction of public land records


Contact ALTA at 202-296-3671 or communications@alta.org.

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