Gov't Workers Peeked at Celeb Passport Data

Report suggests 127 million Americans' information unsafe
By Matt Cantor,  Newser Staff
Posted Jul 4, 2008 7:45 AM CDT
Gov't Workers Peeked at Celeb Passport Data
People wait in line outside the U.S. Passport Office in downtown Washington for processing, Wednesday, June 20, 2007.    (AP Photo/Pablo Martinez Monsivais)

Government employees have been taking unauthorized peeks at electronic passport records of celebrities, says a State Department report that suggests the travel data of 127 million Americans is at risk. One high-profile person's records were opened 356 times by more than six dozen people, the Washington Post reports. Five contractors have been fired and dozens are being probed.

The report documents a widespread lack of controls on the personal data: of a list of 150 famous Americans, 127 had had their information accessed over 4,100 times in the past 5 1/2 years. The audit was prompted by the discovery in March that workers at the department had snooped in passport files of Barack Obama, John McCain and Hillary Clinton. (Read more celebrity stories.)

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