Access-Related Snooping Breach Examples

By Brian Cleary  |  Posted 2009-08-27 Print this article Print

Access-related snooping breach examples

Some recent examples of access-related snooping breaches include:

Political candidates' passport records

In the spring of 2008, the passport records of presidential candidates Barack Obama, John McCain and Hillary Clinton were all illegally accessed by State Department workers. In fact, since that first disclosure, three employees of the State Department have pled guilty in court to illegally accessing the records data of politicians and celebrities.

The latest court case was settled on January 28, 2009. As part of his guilty plea, Gerald Lueders acknowledged that between July 2005 and February 2008, he had logged into the State Department's Passport Information Electronic Records System (PIERS) and viewed the passport applications of more than 50 politicians, actors, musicians, athletes, members of the media and other individuals.

Joe the Plumber

In October 2008, government computers in Ohio were used to illegally access personal information about Samuel Joseph Wurzelbacher, otherwise known as "Joe the Plumber." During their October 15, 2008 debate, presidential candidates Barack Obama and John McCain referred to "Joe the Plumber" constantly. In the days following the debate, information on Wurzelbacher's driver's license or his sport utility vehicle was retrieved illegally from the Ohio Bureau of Motor Vehicles database three times.

UCLA Medical Center 

In March 2008, it was revealed that a total of 126 employees had been fired from UCLA Medical Center (according to the Los Angeles Times). Workers inappropriately accessed the records of Britney Spears and Farrah Fawcett, and one employee sold this information to a national tabloid-in violation of the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA).

Shands Jacksonville Medical Center 

In October 2008, 20 employees of Shands Jacksonville Medical Center-including nurses, admissions workers and patient relations staff-were fired for inappropriately accessing Jacksonville Jaguar Richard Collier's medical record. Collier had been hospitalized for more than a month following a shooting in Riverside.

Brian Cleary is Vice President of Products and Marketing at Aveksa. Brian is responsible for all of Aveksa's marketing activities including product marketing and management, marketing strategy and development. Brian brings more than 15 years of success in directing technology marketing initiatives for both emerging technology companies and top-tier enterprise software vendors to his position. Most recently, Brian served as vice president of marketing for OpenPages. He also served as senior vice president of marketing at Computer Associates (CA). Prior to CA, Brian directed the corporate marketing efforts at Netegrity (acquired by CA in 2004). Brian was also a member of the senior management team at both Allaire Corporation and Macromedia. Brian is an author and frequent speaker at industry events on the topic of governance, risk and compliance management. He can be reached at

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