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Wisconsin court data site to implement "CAPTCHA" protection

Madison, Wisconsin - September 25, 2015

On Sept. 28, the Wisconsin court system will implement a CAPTCHA feature on its Wisconsin Circuit Court Access (WCCA) website to help prevent automated attempts to extract circuit court data from the website.

CAPTCHA is a widely used challenge-response program that enables a website to determine whether a visitor is a human being or an automated "screen scraping" program. The WCCA website receives between three and five million page views per day, and the number of suspected screen scrapers is increasing.

WCCA users will be required to respond to a question the first time they perform a search and will be re-verified after every 10 searches. This feature will be implemented for all WCCA search screens, including: Search (simple, advanced, and judgment); Calendars; Pay fees online; and Reports.

The WCCA website provides convenient access to online public circuit court records. However, a high volume of screen scraping slows down service for other public users and may result in deceitful practices, such as scams promising to remove court records from a website in exchange for payment. Any business or website offering to remove court case information for payment is not connected to WCCA or to any circuit court. Wisconsin circuit courts do not accept payment to remove court case information from the website.

Public case information is posted on the WCCA website under the terms of a Policy on Disclosure of Public Information Over the Internet and a record retention policy set by Supreme Court Rule. More information about WCCA can be found in a Frequently Asked Questions section of the website.

Many CAPTCHA programs ask website visitors to retype the letters, numbers or symbols contained in a distorted image. The WCCA CAPTCHA program will work similarly but will ask visitors to identify certain types of images or objects, such as food.

For companies or individuals who wish to download bulk data, Consolidated Court Automation Programs (CCAP) provides a subscription-based service using an automated program. Detailed information regarding CCAP support for automated downloading is available on the WCCA website here.

Tom Sheehan
Court Information Officer
(608) 261-6640

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