Aug 222009
 August 22, 2009  Posted by  Breaches, Court, Govt, Surveillance

Last week’s drama in Maricopa County, Arizona over access to and control over the criminal justice database continued this week in court and in the media.

Tuesday, Chief Deputy Dave Hendershott of the Maricopa County Sheriff’s Office agreed to share computer passwords to the criminal justice computer system with other county agencies that used the system — but with limitations. According to a report in The Arizona Republic, the agreement stipulated that its use by two civilian users would be monitored by an auditing program. Now lest that sound like the two civilians might be suspect, Ray Stern of The Phoenix New Times notes

Yet the two IT guys who are getting the password — which they’ve had for years, until the sheriff’s takeover of the system last week — have never been accused of planning anything nefarious with it.

Indeed, one might argue that any access to a sensitive database should always have an access log and audit trail, so what’s the big deal here? Is it just that the sheriff’s office is trying to comply with their understanding of federal and state law, or are they worried that individuals who may be the subject of some investigation might access files about them?

On Wednesday, The Phoenix Business Journal reported that the sheriff’s office is investigating a number of county personnel and actions and that County Manager David Smith is included in some of the investigations. Smith, not surprisingly, claims that the investigation is politically motivated.

District Judge Joseph Heilman has scheduled a pre-trial conference for Sept. 18 at 1:30 p.m. on the dispute over access to and control of a criminal-justice-information computer system, according to The Arizona Republic .

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