Hundreds of cops misuse databases yearly, says report


#1

Originally published at: http://boingboing.net/2016/09/30/hundreds-of-cops-misuse-databa.html


#2

You people should be cheering. Police are only abusing databases, they aren’t shooting them.


#3

Well I was thinking the same thing. This could be ameliorated by installing keylogging software, but can you imagine the stink the FOP would make? Even the least effort to hold police accountable is proof you hate freedom and want the terrorists to win. Rapers too. If I had to choose my battles I’d pick tamper-proof body cams.


#4

I don’t doubt this at all. When I used to be a nurse, everyone I worked with inappropriately used the database to look up folks they knew and whatnot. They tracked ID’s, so they would just get a work buddy to look it up for them. We had HCFA regulations, but that didn’t scare anyone.


#5

So if we have, say, a million police officers in the US and a thousand of them are misusing the database, then that’s less than one tenth of a percent of our cops are doing this. Not bad. I’m glad it isn’t a big problem.


#6

From the article:

The number of violations was surely far higher since records provided were spotty at best, and many cases go unnoticed.

[…]

The AP tally, based on records requested from 50 states and about three dozen of the nation’s largest police departments, is unquestionably an undercount.

Some departments produced no records at all. Some states refused to disclose the information, said they don’t comprehensively track misuse or produced records too incomplete or unclear to be counted. Florida reported hundreds of misuse cases of its driver database, but didn’t say how often officers were disciplined.

And some cases go undetected, officials say, because there aren’t clear red flags to automatically distinguish questionable searches from legitimate ones.


#7

THIS is why we aren’t comfortable being tracked. This is human nature. Cops do it, some clerk at the NSA is doing it, WalMart, Google, Apple, Hospitals, the IRS, everywhere you have human beings touching my surveillance data someone might be looking where they shouldn’t or even selling it.

“If you have nothing to hide, you have nothing to fear”, my ass.


#8

I doubt it’s so few! For several years I did general IT for a bunch of law enforcement offices in Florida, and as part of my job I was licensed to set up terminals where driving and criminal histories could be run. When I’d set them up I explained the rules for abusing it - at the time it was a fine of $10,000 per infraction and you’d most likely lose your job. I’d say half the people with a terminal abused the hell out of them - secretaries, assistant state attorneys, cops, detectives, etc. They would run their daughter’s new boyfriend, run their neighbors, prospective tenants, the gal they met at the bar, the guy who cut them off in traffic.


#9

When you are dealing with cops it is helpful to remind yourself that these individuals were purposefully selected from a group of applicants for (not solely, but in part) their ability to think like criminals. It should not be a surprise to anyone, then, when a cop acts like a criminal.


#10

It’s funny how finicky police computers are. They can find any personal info but if you ask our PD how many traffic tickets they write they say it’s a major research project that will cost you $1000.


#11

“what’s the point of having power if you can’t abuse it?”

I think i liked their original branding of “to serve and protect” better. remember those days?


#12

“Hundreds of cops disciplined” implies “tens of thousands of cops guilty”.


#13

I agree. Key loggers wouldn’t be required to audit searches. Require unique IDs to do searches, store each search done by each ID, and randomly select a few people’s IDs to audit for compliance every month (or quarter).

It would work a lot better than key loggers. No local device or software to destroy or sabotage, actually tied to a real person, and consequences for sharing credentials / reenacting “LoveInt”.


#14

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