The Buffalo News reports on yet another case where an insider is found to have abused or misused access to a government database to violate the privacy of an individual. Former Hamburg Police Detective Laurie Staley-Stone was sentenced to four months in jail after she “pleaded guilty to a misdemeanor crime of illegally using information from a police computer.” Prosecutors said that Staley-Stone gave confidential police data to a member of a motorcycle gang.
U.S. Attorney Kathleen M. Mehltretter told the Buffalo News, “Law enforcement agencies have access to numerous databases, with all kinds of information about individuals. They can use this information, but for police purposes only. Not to help friends or other people they know.”
The Buffalo News also noted a previous local case where an insider was convicted of illegal use of government data.
Kelly Bossinger, a former U. S. Customs & Border Protection officer, was sentenced in November 2007 to a halfway house for five months, and five months of home confinement. She was convicted of illegally using a police computer to find information about a family member who had been the subject of a drug investigation.
Two other Customs officers who helped her pleaded guilty to misdemeanors in that case, and another officer retired when he learned he was under investigation.
Here are some recent cases where insiders have been accused of misusing their authority to gather and disseminate information from government databases:
— “At least 12 Metro employees have been found since 2005 to be improperly accessing and disseminating criminal history information for reasons unrelated to police work,” reports the Las Vegas Sun.
— “Humboldt’s police chief has been suspended over allegations that he improperly used driver’s license and criminal history information available only to law enforcement officials,” reports the Des Moines Register.
— In Australia, a former detective sergeant pleaded guilty to repeatedly using a police computer “to get the details of women he had seen in public,” reports ABC News.
I recently discussed the insider abuse problem in light of news that President Obama’s nominee to head the Transportation Security Administration had been censured for misusing government data for personal reasons.