Google and four state governments have teamed up to make public documents more easily retrievable when citizens conduct online searches, according to an article by the Associated Press.
"Google plans to announce Monday that it has already partnered with four states - Arizona, California, Utah and Virginia - to remove technical barriers that had prevented its search engine, as well as those of Microsoft Corp. and Yahoo Inc., from accessing tens of thousands of public records dealing with education, real estate, health care and the environment," the newswire reports.
The way state government computer networks are programmed has made it difficult for users to find public documents stored in state databases, but Google, working with state technology officers, have built "virtual road maps" to the databases where the documents are stored, the AP reports.
But privacy experts are worried that better access to public documents runs the risk of exposing private information, such as Social Security numbers. Many public documents in state databases contain Americans' Social Security numbers and other personal information.