Public records are available to the public and are not considered confidential by law.
Public records can be found at the local, state, or federal level and are open to the public. Federal public records are available through the Freedom of Information Act. The types of public records available for viewing include court dockets, census records and data, criminal records, professional and business licenses, sex offender databases, voter registration, birth certificates, marriage and divorce records, real estate appraisal records, and residential addresses.
The Electronic Freedom of Information Act
The Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) allows the public to access Federal Records (but there are nine exemptions, if the category falls into national security categories). The Electronic Freedom of Information Act was signed into law in 2006 and requires that all agencies make certain records available electronically. Additionally, the law stipulates that agencies must provide electronic reading rooms, and the law increases the required response time for FOIA requests from 10 days to 20 days, due to the large amount of information available and the limited amount of resources to help people access the information.