DNR employee inappropriately accessed driver's license data - KMSP-TV

Minnesota DNR: Employee inappropriately accessed driver's license data

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ST. PAUL, Minn. (KMSP) -

The Minnesota Department of Natural Resources is taking corrective actions after learning a DNR employee inappropriately accessed driver's license and motor vehicle records without authorization.

The employee involved in the unauthorized data access is no longer employed by the DNR. The agency immediately turned the case over to the Minnesota Bureau of Criminal Apprehension for an investigation, but no criminal charges have been filed at this time.

Minnesota Department of Public Safety Driver and Vehicle Services records that were viewed include information such as: full name, date of birth, driver's license number, address, driver's license status and driver's license photo.

The investigation did not indicate that the viewed data was sold, disclosed to others, or used for criminal purposes. But, as a precaution, the DNR is sending notification letters to approximately 5,000 affected individuals to make them aware of the unauthorized access. The DNR is also recommending those individuals monitor their credit reports.

The DNR has also reported the unauthorized data access to the three main credit reporting agencies, as required by state law.

"The DNR takes seriously its responsibility to protect private data," said DNR Commissioner Tom Landwehr. "The DNR will not tolerate unauthorized access of private data. The agency is implementing additional employee training and looking into ways to monitor access to the data to ensure it doesn't happen again."

The Minnesota Department of Public Safety and the DNR are working to ensure that unauthorized access of driver's license and vehicle data doesn't occur in the future. DPS is encouraging government agencies to review the terms and obligations of DVS data use to ensure private data is protected.

OTHER UNAUTHORIZED ACCESS CASES

Last October, former Eden Prairie and St. Paul Police Officer former police Anne Marie Rasmusson reached a settlement in a privacy lawsuit over access to her driver's license photo.

She claims more than 140 officers looked at her license data hundreds of times between 2005 and 2012. Rasmusson claimed officers across the state began to develop an "uncomfortable interest" in her starting in 2007, which is when she began training for a body-sculpting competition.

Also, a DVS audit last year found an employee at a Minnesota car dealership, who was authorized to access vehicle data to process car sales, allegedly provided his system login to a friend who worked at a repossession company. That friend used the login to illegally access DVS data. Warning letters were sent to approximately 3,700 people in that case.

IF YOU GET A LETTER

The DNR has set up an email and phone to address questions and concerns for those who receive the letters. The email is infosecurity.dnr@state.mn.us. The phone number is 651-259-5309.

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