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Chief justice defends secrecy action

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Associated Press

Oklahoma Supreme Court Justice James Winchester says protecting individuals from identity theft is the main reason for the adoption of rules cutting off Internet access to court records.

Winchester says the court is concerned about publicizing someone's Social Security numbers, bank account numbers and other personal information.

The court's decision is being criticized by spokesmen for journalism organizations. Winchester says the rules are not permanent and more information may be put on the Internet when the court's computerized system is fine tuned.

The chief justice could not cited a specific instance where someone's identity was stolen through use of the court's information system in Oklahoma.

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