We’ve talked about the problems that arise when insiders abuse or misuse their access privileges to individuals’ data and violate the individuals’ rights. Such cases have occurred in: Minnesota, where 104 officers from 18 agencies in the state accessed one woman’s “driver’s license record 425 times in what could be one of the largest private data breaches by law enforcement in history”; Tucson, Ariz., where University Medical Center officials fired three employees for violating privacy of patients connected to the shooting rampage of which Jared Loughner is accused; New York City, where a police sergeant pleaded guilty “to illegally entering a federal database and giving information from a terrorist watch list to an acquaintance to use in a child-custody case in Canada”; and the U.S. government, where the State Department found that federal employees repeatedly snooped into the passport files of entertainers, athletes and other high-profile Americans. The cases aren’t confined to the United States; for example, they’ve occurred in Canada, New Zealand and the UK.
Now, there is an allegation of an insider abusing his access privileges in New Jersey. Today reports on a case where a police officer been charged with two felonies for “misusing his police powers for personal reasons.”
The man is believed to have accessed a police database to look up information about a woman he’d driven past while on duty. He then supposedly used those details to look her up on Facebook and send her a friend request.
Jason Laughlin, public information officer for the Camden County Prosecutor’s Office, told TODAY.com that the officer in question is Jeffrey Tyther, a 14-year veteran of the Voorhees Police Department. Tyther was charged with computer theft and violation of the Motor Vehicle Record Law — second- and fourth-degree felonies, respectively — on Monday.
The incident in question occurred on September 9, 2011. On that day, Tyther is believed to have accessed the National Crime Information Center (NCIC) database and looked up the personal information of a woman he’d passed while on duty. The woman was not stopped, let alone issued a ticket or any other citation, according to Laughlin. […]
While Laughlin was not able to list all the details Tyther may have seen when he looked the woman up in the NCIC database, he did confirm that the woman’s name, address, outstanding records and other information would’ve been available, among other things. Laughlin explains that the NCIC database is “specifically limited to law enforcement purposes only,” meaning that it should only be used “to further a criminal investigation.” Not to look up random women.