I’ve recently posted a few lawsuits out of Minnesota concerning improper access to the state’s driver’s license database. One of them involved a police officer whose colleagues improperly accessed her records on numerous occasions. Now there’s also a case in Florida, where law enforcement personnel improperly accessed a fellow officer’s records – but not just out of idle curiosity, perhaps.
Ed Krayewski reports:
Did you hear the one about the state trooper who pulled over a cop car speeding at more than 120 miles per hour on the Florida Turnpike? (Full video here, excerpts below) The incident happened back in 2011; Donna Watts, a Florida state trooper, pulled over Miami police officer Fausto Lopez, who was off-duty and headed for a second job in his patrol car. His colleagues at the Miami Police Department jumped to his defense, with one union official calling the trooper’s actions “completely unprofessional and very reckless.” Retaliations began soon after. Almost a year later Officer Lopez was finally fired for the incident.
Now, the Sun Sentinel reports that the state trooper has filed a lawsuit related to the retaliation she experienced after the incident.
One of the issues raised in the complaint concerns access to and security of the D.A.V.I.D. database the defendants allegedly accessed. The complaint alleges that the officers viewed Watts’ private and highly-restricted personal information
including her home address, color photograph or image, social security number, date of birth, state of birth, detailed vehicle registration information and description, prior and current home and mailing addresses, emergency contacts and those contacts private and highly-restricted personal information.
So who is responsible for ensuring the security of that database and access to it? According to Watts’ complaint, both the DHSMV and FDLE have responsibility for the D.A.V.I.D system.
When law enforcement personnel abuse access to a database that contains a lot of personal information, it raises serious questions about privacy and the rule of law. When states fail to adequately protect and secure such databases, it poses serious risks of identity theft as well as issues of civil liberties.
I asked what Minnesota is going to do about the repeated breaches involving its database of driver’s license information. We need to ask Florida the same question.
via Loss of Privacy