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    Chicago Sun-Times: Ex-emergency dispatch agency director given 6 months jail for illegal background checks

    The Chicago Sun-Times reports on yet another instance of an insider abusing his access to sensitive personal data.

    Steven R. Cordes wanted to help his girlfriend keep tabs on who her teenage daughter was dating and hanging out with.

    So Cordes — director of a Kane County emergency dispatch agency — searched confidential police databases and did criminal background checks on a boyfriend and other friends.

    But the searches were unauthorized — and illegal. On Thursday the 44-year-old Lake in the Hills man on Thursday was sentenced to six months in jail and placed on 30 months probation after he pleaded guilty to official misconduct.

    Neither the general public nor celebrities are immune from this digital snooping. Recently, Georgia cops were accused of running a background check on President Obama and, in December, Illinois employees were suspended for improperly accessing Obama’s driving records.

    In May, the Massachusetts state auditor found police misused criminal records systems to pry into the personal data of Patriots’ quarterback Tom Brady, actor Matt Damon, Boston Celtics player Paul Pierce and others. In March, Sprint warned several thousand customers that a former employee accessed accounts and sold their data. Last year, the Inspector General of the State Department released a report that found federal employees repeatedly snooped into the passport files of entertainers, athletes and other high-profile Americans. Such stories are numerous.

    Security programs need to ensure against deliberate abuse by insiders who are given access privileges. There need to be audit trails so that each time a sensitive file is accessed, the individual who reviewed the file and her reason for doing so can be identified and logged. Also, there need to be strong sanctions in place to deter individuals from misusing their access powers.

    One Response to “Chicago Sun-Times: Ex-emergency dispatch agency director given 6 months jail for illegal background checks”

    1. background-checks Says:

      Although this information is somewhat public, the methods used to access the information are not always clean. My mom is a background investigator for the US Government and she needs special clearance to get into a lot of the files, which makes me think that not all of this information is meant to be released to the public.

      I completely condone background checks on people you are hiring such as employees, baby sitters, or even a gardener or housekeeper…however, when you are looking into someone’s past with the sole purpose of digging up dirt, that’s not a good thing.

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