US courts will be able to access criminal case files over the internet, after the US Judicial Conference approved the plan for one appellate court and 10 trial courts.
Access to such records is already available over the Public Access to Court Electronic Records (Pacer) system, but the internet-based application has proved cheaper and easier to use.
However, privacy advocates are concerned that electronic databases could be left open for people wanting to gather dirt on friends or employees.
Some of this information is already available, but the internet access will make it easier for out-of-state people to see.
The Judicial Conference also decided to make most civil case documents available over Pacer.
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