Snoop from your home PC with Web databases

The best Web sites around provide unique databases, and some let you do a little snooping.

The Sacramento Bee caused a furor when it launched a database that lets you find out state salaries of high-ranking officials — but also your next door neighbor.

We have some good online databases in our own backyard too., our  award-winning county government’s Web site, provides a wealth of information.

One of my favorites allows you to search for deeds, liens, fictitious business names and other recorded documents in our county from the comfort of your home PC — informative in a recession. It’s here.

For example, type “Thomas J. Hastert” under “search recorded documents,” and you can research some of the same information that investigators did when they were looking into Hastert’s business dealings.

When it comes to fictious business names, you can type “Holbrooke LLC” to order information on the limited partnership that owns the Holbrooke, now major news with a threatened closure.

If you want more information, you can order any of the documents from the clerk-recorder’s office.

This is a valuable free online database for all citizens.

Author: jeffpelline

Jeff Pelline is a veteran editor and award-winning journalist - in print and online. He is publisher of Sierra FoodWineArt magazine and its website Jeff covered business and technology for The San Francisco Chronicle for 12 years, and he was a founding editor and Editor of CNET News for eight years, among other positions. Jeff has a bachelor's degree from UC Berkeley and a master's from Northwestern University. His hobbies include sailing, swimming, and trout fishing in the Sierra.

4 thoughts on “Snoop from your home PC with Web databases”

  1. Jeff,

    They’ll be out with pitchforks and torches in nothing flat, now that you’ve let the cat out of the bag. I thought there was an unwritten rule about keeping sources like this under cover, except for need to know. Journalist and real estate sales people know the turf well, and understand the need to keep the baddies from even being aware.

    Unless it is absolutely necessary, never give out your real birthdate online, as it’s one of the three legs of identity theft. One year off, one month off, one day off. The other two? Soc Sec and dr. Lic.

  2. I hope there’s not any conspiracy to keep public information, available on a free government database, under wraps.

  3. If the information is made a little too readily available, then baddies might make use of it. E.g., use accessor records to determine who has several residences. Use co conspirator to check to see that victim is at Tahoe residence. Hit GV residence.

  4. Unless of course GV residence is occupied by someone else with a sawed off shot gun or a Pit bull.

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