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700 Personal Searches: No Such Thing As Privacy For Handlers Of Police Database

April 15, 2013 by  

700 Personal Searches: No Such Thing As Privacy For Handlers Of Police Database
PHOTOS.COM

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 weren’t so alarming.

Attorney Brooke Bass, who at one time represented Minnesota’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 she’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 it’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 citizens’ personal information — have absolutely no business data-stalking an unwitting target.

Bass’ attorney, Kenn Fukuda, contends that nothing justifies Bass’ elevation among law enforcement types as a person of such interest, especially without her knowledge.

“We don’t think there should be any reason why over 100 entities are looking her up,” Fukuda told the Pioneer Press.

Bass’ case is the largest single (known) instance of data-stalking in the State’s ongoing driver’s license database publicity nightmare. But the attention it’s gotten has only served to bring other citizens out of the woodwork who want to know whether they’re being watched from the inside — and who’s doing the watching. The League of Minnesota Cities Insurance Trust, that State’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.

Ben Bullard

Reconciling the concept of individual sovereignty with conscientious participation in the modern American political process is a continuing preoccupation for staff writer Ben Bullard. A former community newspaper writer, Bullard has closely observed the manner in which well-meaning small-town politicians and policy makers often accept, unthinkingly, their increasingly marginal role in shaping the quality of their own lives, as well as those of the people whom they serve. He argues that American public policy is plagued by inscrutable and corrupt motives on a national scale, a fundamental problem which individuals, families and communities must strive to solve. This, he argues, can be achieved only as Americans rediscover the principal role each citizen plays in enriching the welfare of our Republic.

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