Eighty-eight Minnesota law enforcement personnel misused their access to driver’s license records in the last fiscal year, state auditors said yesterday. A report quoted by the Minneapolis Star Tribune said officers need better training in allowed uses of the protected data, and local and state agencies should do more to monitor use. Beyond 88 incidents of misuse documented in state records, auditors found even more suspicious activity buried in audit trails.
More than half of the 11,000 law enforcement users of the Driver and Vehicle Services website queried themselves or people with the same last name or disproportionately searched for people of one sex. “We have a real problem. And we have to face it. And we have to address it,” Legislative Auditor Jim Nobles said. “Because this is really eroding people’s confidence [in the] willingness and ability of state government and local government to protect private data.” The findings are likely to shape legislation that would increase transparency and penalties surrounding data breaches. Local governments have paid out more than $1 million in settlements to former police officer Anne Marie Rasmusson after she alleged in a lawsuit that her data was repeatedly breached.