Charges against Minnesota DNR worker in license data breach - KMSP-TV

Charges filed against Minnesota DNR worker in license data breach

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  • Charges filed against Minnesota DNR worker in license data breachMore>>

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    Thursday, January 31 2013 10:45 PM EST2013-02-01 03:45:17 GMT
    Christa Groshek usually spends her time defending people who have been accused of identity theft, but she admits she was a little surprised to find out she'd been snooped on amid the DNR data breach.
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  • Minnesota DNR: Employee inappropriately accessed driver's license data

    Minnesota DNR: Employee inappropriately accessed driver's license data

    Wednesday, January 16 2013 8:20 AM EST2013-01-16 13:20:05 GMT
    The Minnesota Department of Natural Resources is taking corrective actions after learning a DNR employee inappropriately accessed driving license and motor vehicle records without authorization.
    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.
ST. PAUL, Minn. (KMSP) -

Charges were filed Thursday against former Minnesota DNR employee John Hunt for illegally viewing thousands of driver's license records.

The Minnesota Bureau of Criminal Apprehension said Hunt committed a federal crime during off-duty hours. Hunt is accused of illegally viewing the records of 5,000 people roughly 12,000 times between January 2008 and October 2012.

Investigators said the majority of files Hunt accessed belong to women in the public eye: local celebrities, television news personalities, politicians and professional athletes.

According to the charges, Hunt stored the driver's license photos of more than 170 women in an encrypted file on his work computer. The file was labeled "Mug Shot."

What makes this case particularly egregious is that Hunt was also a data practices designee, responsible for making sure new employees were familiar with the laws and rules concerning access to driver's license records.

Hunt had access to the driver's license database for the purpose of performing background checks on DNR job applicants.

Hunt is charged with six counts of unauthorized computer and data access, as well as public employee misconduct. The six charges are:

- Misconduct of public officer or employee, gross misdemeanor
- Unauthorized computer access (not public data), gross misdemeanor
- Unauthorized computer access, gross misdemeanor
- Use of encryption to conceal commission of a crime, gross misdemeanor
- Unlawful use of private data (license photograph), misdemeanor
- Unlawful use of private data (address on license), misdemeanor

If found guilty, Hunt could be forced to pay $2,500 for each record he illegally viewed.

The Duluth city attorney's office is prosecuting the case to avoid a conflict of interest.

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