A new California system, Vital Records Image Redaction and Statewide Access (VRIRSA) started in April 2009 requiring redaction of Social Security numbers, any signatures or sensitive health information from informational copies of birth and death records. The system was mandated by legislation enacted in 2002 which authorized informational certificates and established a committee to make recommendations on protecting individual privacy, inhibiting identity theft, and preventing fraud involving birth and death certificates while providing needed access to birth and death record information to those seeking it for legitimate purposes. Those recommendations led to the new, automated system that redacts certain data from birth and death records. At this time marriage records are not included, but if AB 130 passes it is conceivable that marriage records willbe included in the system.
The new system requires anyone requesting an informational copy from the state/local /county registrar, that the registrar request the redacted copy from the state California Department of Public Health, which is the responsible agency for the system. The certificate is then automatically redacted for the specific data (Social Security number, any signatures, or sensitive health information) contained in the certificate and sent to the local/county registrar for printing and submitting to the requester.
The purpose of VRIRSA is a single state-wide system for accessing redacted records. At present, the VRIRSA system fulfills public requests for informational copies of birth certificates from 1985 to present, and for death certificates from 1996 forward. As additional birth and death records are converted to computerized images over the next several years, more informational copy requests will be handled by VRIRSA. The state is in the process of digitizing all back records and will announce the release of the records as soon as they are available in VRIRSA. The records are being processed in yearly batches and will be released on flow basis.
From theFAQs listed on the site, it says manual redaction is not required for records that predate the range of records currently in VRIRSA. However, informational copies must still contain the legend "INFORMATIONAL, NOT AVALID DOCUMENT TO ESTABLISH IDENTITY."
If you are interested in reading more on VRIRSA, go to:
Jan Meisels Allen
Director, IAJGS and
Chairperson, Public Records Access Monitoring Committee