OCTOBER 2019

There isn’t a great official data source available for cyberattacks on government in the U.S. But the data that is available — compiled from news reports by a few intrepid security researchers — shows a pretty clear picture: There’s been a dramatic spike in ransomware attacks on state and local government this year.

Also, that’s nothing new. Government has been experiencing a steady increase in all kinds of cyberattacks for some time now, and the preferred method of attack keeps evolving.

“We try to do a rolling number of total public safety and local government attacks that we’ve found in the past 24 months, and so we’ve watched that continually grow in the past three years,” said Aubrey Larson, a marketing manager at the cybersecurity firm SecuLore Solutions. “We’re now up to 394 … when I first started that number was like 100 in the past 24 months.” READ COMPLETE ARTICLE.

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It's been a full month of new PRIA Local meetings across the country. A new Chapter in Utah met on September 19 in Salt Lake City. Another new Chapter entitled the 906 PRIA Local Chapter (they're up in the Upper Peninsula of Michigan where the area code is 906) will be having their inaugural meeting on October 15 in Marquette, MI. The Pure Michigan Chapter is having their inaugural meetings in two different locations - same agenda and topics - on October 8 in Lansing and on October 10 in Traverse City.

C heck the PRIA Local Map to help find a Chapter meeting in your area or contact Carolyn Ableman , PRIA Local Coordinator, to find out more or to start your own Chapter. You can always find other Chapter agendas and minutes to inspire you with relevant topics and speakers.

Please note that PRIA's new website is still under construction so if you see some old sample documents that still say PREP, please contact Carolyn to get the updated versions ready to use.

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excerpted from American Surveyor 9/13/19

A new milestone has been reached in the number of recording jurisdictions that are electronically recording documents. As of August 31, 2019, 2023 recording jurisdictions were eRecording enabled and another state joined the eRecording ranks when Westerly Co., Rhode Island, began accepting electronic documents. Now more than 85 percent of the population in the United States resides in a recording jurisdiction that offers electronic recording.

Larry Burtness, Customer Operations Manager at Figure Technologies, and President of the Property Records Industry Association (PRIA), was delighted with this landmark accomplishment. Burtness stated, “PRIA promotes and monitors the adoption of eRecording throughout the United States, while developing best practices, white papers and educational tools for recorders and business. We continue to experience a month-over-month increase in the number of recording jurisdictions enabling eRecording in an effort to streamline their office workflows and boost both efficiencies and turnaround times for their submitters.”

Electronic recording (eRecording) is the automated process in a property records office of receipt, examination, fee calculation and payment, endorsing of recording information and return of recorded electronic documents to the submitter. eRecording improves the quality of data, reduces turn-around times and provides significant cost savings for those who utilize it, when compared to a manual process.

“Just since January 1, 2019, the number of jurisdictions committing to the eRecording process increased by over 90,” said President of eRecording Partners Network and PRIA Vice President, Jerry Lewallen. “As the PRIA eRecording standards continue to mature, the number of jurisdictions leveraging this technology continues to expand.”

According to PRIA’s tracking system, it took from the late 1990s until August 2006 to reach the 200 eRecording counties mark. Since 2006, an additional 1,800 jurisdictions have stepped up to enable the electronic recordation of documents. READ COMPLETE ARTICLE .

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excerpted from ThePressDemocrat 10/4/19

An attempt by the IRS to pay lower fees on records processed by California counties has been met with resistance in Wine Country, as Sonoma and Napa counties have defended their costs while warning the federal government’s move could lead to a halt in such work and funding gaps at the county level.

The Internal Revenue Service last week sent letters to every California county declaring it would no longer pay the full price of recording liens or lien releases in the counties. The agency claimed that a portion of the fees charged by California recorders represent unconstitutional taxes levied on the federal government, according to the letter. Sonoma and Napa officials flatly deny the IRS reasoning, and have each responded with letters of their own this week saying as much.

“We believe there is no concern with Sonoma County prevailing, but the worry is the impact to the taxpayers if the IRS decides not to pay,” said Deva Proto, Sonoma County’s clerk-recorder-assessor and elections chief. Napa County Clerk and Recorder John Tuteur told the IRS the county would not process the federal government’s documents until it agreed to pay the fees. READ COMPLETE ARTICLE.

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excerpted from MoultrieNews 10/3/19

The Charleston County Register of Deeds adopted new filing fees in cooperation with South Carolina State Law. On May 16, Gov. Henry McMaster signed Bill 3243 and the law became effective Aug. 1, 2019. The action amends Section 8-21-310 relating to filing and recording fees. As of the Aug. 1, all 46 counties have uniform recording fees. Before August, each county had the ability to set their own fee limits.

“The new fees not only will affect this office, but it also puts all 46 counties in South Carolina on the same playing field,” said Michael Miller, Register of Deeds. “The next step is to get the General Assembly and Gov. McMaster to create a way to generate funds to preserve all historic documents throughout the state. Charleston County’s Register of Deeds Office has the oldest documents in the state, so we need the assistance more than others.” READ COMPLETE ARTICLE.

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excerpted from Lexology 10/1/19

On September 19, 2019, the U.S. House of Representatives by voice vote approved H.R. 2613, a bipartisan bill entitled the “Advancing Innovation to Assist Law Enforcement Act.” The bill instructs the director of FinCEN to study and prepare a report to Congress on emerging technologies, including blockchain, in an effort to combat money laundering and other forms of illicit finance.

Though somewhat modest in scope, the bill is among the first to be approved by one of the chambers of Congress on the topic of blockchain. READ COMPLETE ARTICLE.

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MISMO, the mortgage industry’s standards organization, has released the finalized standards for Remote Online Notarization (RON) which let organizations and lenders notarize documents online.

The RON standards allow the residential mortgage industry to use audio-visual communication devices to notarize documents. Various organizations and industry participants have reviewed the standards, according to MISMO.

"MISMO's RON standards allow for a fast and convenient closing experience for digital mortgage closings, while ensuring consistent implementation of RON laws across all 50 states," said Rick Hill, executive vice president of MISMO and vice president of technology at the Mortgage Bankers Association. READ COMPLETE ARTICLE.

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excerpted from ALTA Advocacy Update by ALTA CEO/COO Diane Tomb, October 7, 2019

"On October 2, we kicked off our meetings with the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB). We met with the CFPB's team in charge of the upcoming TILA-RESPA Integrated Disclosure (TRID) five-year lookback study. Under Section 1022(d) of the Dodd-Frank Act, the CPFB conducts an assessment of all major rules five years after they go into effect to determine how a regulation is measuring up in real life to the goals outlined when the rule was drafted. For TRID, this means gauging how well the rule, "help(s) the borrower understand the transaction by utilizing readily understandable language to simplify the technical nature of the disclosures." The assessments generally do not include proposals for regulation changes.

Our goal was to help the CFPB obtain data that shows how to improve the TRID forms so they don't need updating for 30 years. For the title insurance industry, this, of course, means fixing the title insurance premium disclosure.

After the CFPB meeting, the focus switched completely to closing scams. We met with the U.S. Treasury Department, the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (FDIC), back to the CFPB and their financial education team, the National Association of Realtors and the American Bankers Association.

All of our meetings were productive but our best meeting was at the White House with National Economic Council (NEC) staff. Our main message in all of these mortgage closing scam meetings was that to raise awareness of this issue to the consumer more coordination between the private and public sector is necessary. Our message really struck a chord with the NEC because coordination is in the council's DNA. They have the executive power to convene any and all federal agencies and the political power to convene trade groups."

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