700 Personal Searches: No Such Thing As Privacy For Handlers Of Police Database
April 15, 2013 by Ben Bullard
Minnesota police are the latest to inadvertently demonstrate that the majority of Americans who live some part of their lives within the information grid are so absurdly susceptible to privacy breaches, abuse and warrantless government scrutiny that it would all be funny if the implications werenâ€™t so alarming.
Attorney Brooke Bass, who at one time represented Minnesotaâ€™s largest police union, Law Enforcement Labor Services, had become so interesting to various personnel in an array of more than 100 State and local law enforcement agencies that sheâ€™s become the subject of 700 (known) in-house searches for her on-file personal information, material ranging from where she lives to a physical description of her appearance.
According to a report in the St. Paul Pioneer Press, Bass is considering legal action against the State, as well as municipalities where employees accessed her information.
It would be unfair to share an easily found photograph of Bass; although, for some, it might suggest a motive behind the interest in a woman who wielded such influence as an advocate for the mostly male law enforcement vocation.
But whether itâ€™s her looks, her position or some other unknown aggravating factor, her legal representation is adamant that government employees — law enforcement personnel who hold the keys to vast amounts of private citizensâ€™ personal information — have absolutely no business data-stalking an unwitting target.
Bassâ€™ attorney, Kenn Fukuda, contends that nothing justifies Bassâ€™ elevation among law enforcement types as a person of such interest, especially without her knowledge.
â€śWe don’t think there should be any reason why over 100 entities are looking her up,â€ť Fukuda told the Pioneer Press.
Bassâ€™ case is the largest single (known) instance of data-stalking in the Stateâ€™s ongoing driverâ€™s license database publicity nightmare. But the attention itâ€™s gotten has only served to bring other citizens out of the woodwork who want to know whether theyâ€™re being watched from the inside — and whoâ€™s doing the watching. The League of Minnesota Cities Insurance Trust, that Stateâ€™s municipal political lobbying group and one-stop liability shop, has taken 110 claims in 82 jurisdictions and will undoubtedly see far more, as lawyers begin culling the public for potentially lucrative lawsuits against the State.