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Esme’s Blog: Who’s Watching State Databases?

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(credit: CBS) Esme Murphy
Esme Murphy, a reporter and Sunday morning anchor for WCCO-TV, h...
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The news that DNR manager John Hunt made 19,000 queries of private driver’s license information is not only creepy, it raises serious concerns about how well the state is keeping our private information private.

It also raises the issue of how Hunt had time to access this information. At least 8,000 queries where while he was on-duty. Did he have that much free time at his job working for the state of Minnesota?

The fact that 11,000 of his queries were when he was off-duty raises the issue of what personal computer(s) he was using to access that information. The state says Hunt did not sell or disclose the information, but how does the state know that someone else did not access the information on outside computers Hunt used?

It is shocking that the accessing of private information by an off-duty employee did not immediately trigger some kind of alert. Consider the data state and local governments have on all of us and our families.

Between tax information, law suits, birth records, marriage and divorce records, our private lives are now recorded and stored held in multiple state data bases. Safeguards need to put in place, with greater oversight of those who have the kind of access that Hunt had.

If he did this for so long, on such a large scale without being detected, how many other breaches have there been? The state needs to act immediately to prevent this type of cyber-stalking that is a serious threat to all of us.

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