Wednesday, March 2, 2011

Dowagiac giving Out Personal Payment History For The Price Of One Dollar

I have no idea why the city of Dowagiac just added an online payment search to its website.

Yes, you can go online and type in the name of any utility customer in the city and get their account details, electric usage and payment history, for the price of $1.

What public service is the city providing by allowing anyone to look into your payment history and account information online for a dollar?

What liability is the city going to have, for example, when someone's ex-husband is looking for his ex-wife, and he can go online and pay a dollar to obtain her address? What if a person had a personal protection order issued, only to have their safety jeopardized because of the city's policy of releasing a victim's residential information? What is the city's response going to be if someone gets injured as a result of making this information public? What liability will they have?

This is clearly an invasion of privacy so the city can make $1 each time somebody spies on a neighbor.

I can understand landlords wanting this information for their rentals, but they obtain this with the permission of the renter.

I am asking citizens to write their opinions regarding what public service the city is offering by allowing anyone in the world to pay a dollar to see residents' account information and payment history. Why does the entire city need to know how many late notices a resident has received?

Please come forward and run for office this year. We all need to put a stop to ill-conceived, destructive city practices like this.

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