Black’s Law Dictionary, Sixth Edition, defines seal,
As regards sealing of records, means to close by any kind of fastening that must be broken before access can be obtained.
The point of a seal in the courts, is that people including court personnel are physically sealed shut so that they cannot be viewed. True, some court personnel will have to see them at times, but in the days of the taped envelope, at least that was kept to a minimum. A pink bar, or a category of electronic data, that the entire courthouse can see, is not a “seal.” (It may be possible with certain types of encryption or other electronic process to make a digital record difficult to access, by the average user, but the thing that court personnel need to understand is, that there is no encryption that a hacker cannot hack. That’s what they do. Hackers hack. Do you think they do not? It is no less than foolhardy to put sensitive data in a digital environment.)
The Judge/referee in my case sealed certain records. (He did not seal al the records, but I’ll come back to that in Part 4.) So that judge’s order to seal has been violated by the digital scanning/storage mechanism that someone selected.
I still have no response from anyone in the MN Judicial Branch as to who or what made the decision to destroy original court orders and to have them scanned and put into a digital environment. The public has a right to know.
I am also concerned about the security for this storage system. Could someone please explain to me what effort were made to: a) study security and vulnerabilities; and b) put in place practices, physical and electronic safeguards to prevent hacking? This is important, so please tell your Public.
I looked at two cases at Ramsey County (two file numbers). My concerns about my cases, multiplied by the number of cases in which there is a seal or confidentiality issue (are juvenile records online now? Has this been implemented statewide?) equates to is a policy or custom afoot. Some know what that means. Others should. No matter what, you can be sure that this will be pursued.