U.S. passport office workers snoop into the files of the famousJuly 4th, 2008 - 10:48 pm ICT by ANI
Washington, July 4 (ANI): An internal State Department investigation has found that employees have accessed the passport information files of dozens of well-known Americans an “excessive” number of times and that the department lacks policies to prevent and detect unauthorized snooping.
In a sample of 150 names of politicians, entertainers, athletes and other high-profile citizens, the probe discovered that the files of 127 had been accessed at least once between September 2002 and March 2008, with a total of 4,148 hits, the Washington Times quotes a report by the department’s inspector general, as saying.
“Although an 85 percent hit rate appears to be excessive, the department currently lacks criteria to determine whether this is actually an inordinately high rate,” the report said.
Still, it is unlikely that all of those hits were authorized, Florence Fultz, managing director of Passport Services at the State Department, told reporters.
She added that her office is trying to determine which of the attempts to access the computerized files in question were improper.
So far five employees have been fired for this misdemeanor.
The inspector general’s report, which was completed weeks ago but was not released until late afternoon before the long July Fourth weekend, “found many control weaknesses.”
Those include “a general lack of policies, procedures, guidance and training relating to the prevention and detection of unauthorized access to passport and applicant information.”
As of April, the passport system “contained records on about 192 million passports,” the report said. As of May, there were 20,500 users of the Passport Information Electronic Retrieval System or PIERS. They included both government employees and contractors.
Half of those users have since been “eliminated,” said Michael Kirby, principal deputy assistant secretary of state for consular affairs. Accounts that had been inactive for 90 days were closed, he said. (ANI)
- Canadian federal department computers hit by suspected Chinese cyber attack - Feb 17, 2011
- Bihar to computerise jails - Jun 28, 2012
- China Mobile to offer cloud storage service - Aug 22, 2012
- Seven held in Andhra for hacking passport software (Lead) - Jun 04, 2010
- Police checks delay new passports in Karnataka - Sep 14, 2011
- 17 Indians held with fake passports in Nepal - Mar 31, 2012
- Nearly 1,000 British cops have criminal records - Jan 03, 2012
- US cables were dumped as obscure before WikiLeaks got them - Dec 31, 2010
- Hackers target Mexican government websites - Sep 17, 2011
- 70,000 foreign office files declassified - Jun 05, 2012
- Unprecedented cyber attack on Canada linked to China - Feb 17, 2011
- Excessive Internet browsing affects mental health - Sep 26, 2010
- NASA loses command codes to control space station - Mar 02, 2012
- Source of Radia tapes' leak unknown, court told (Lead) - Aug 23, 2012
- Procedural lapses behind Wikileaks Army private breaching classified military network - Feb 02, 2011
Tags: consular affairs, control weaknesses, deputy assistant secretary, electronic retrieval system, excessive number, fultz, government employees, information files, late afternoon, michael kirby, misdemeanor, office workers, passport information, passport services, passport system, piers, principal deputy assistant secretary, u s passport, u s passport office, washington times