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Finally: A newspaper condemns Ohio’s snoopers

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By Michelle Malkin  •  October 29, 2008 09:58 AM


Photoshop: David Lunde

On Sunday, I asked: Will the privacy champions come to Joe the Plumber’s defense? (link)

Still haven’t heard any outrage from the ACLU and the civil liberties champions at the New York Times over the government employee plundering of Joe The Plumber’s records. Have you?

The Columbus Dispatch has done good work uncovering the scandal. We now have a media-assisting Toledo Police clerk and the Obama-supporting head of the Ohio Department of Job and Family Services identified as snoopers. In addition, authorities are probing searches of Joe’s records conducted by the Cuyahoga County DSS and an outside contractor with access to the Attorney General’s test account. (link)
In addition, driver’s-license and vehicle-registration data about Wurzelbacher were obtained from the Bureau of Motor Vehicles

This is unconscionable. Finally, a newspaper editorial board is saying so — and it’s the Columbus Dispatch. Good on them:

Gov. Ted Strickland should order his agency directors not to snoop on private citizens who land in the campaign spotlight. Such scrutiny could have a chilling effect on the willingness of people to stand up and be counted prior to elections.

It also undermines the confidence of all Ohioans that their state government is serious about protecting sensitive information…Ohio Inspector General Thomas P. Charles is investigating whether the data-checking was improper or illegal. Through public-records requests, The Dispatch has determined that there were at least four checks for records on Wurzelbacher. That sounds like an effort to dig up dirt.

Driver’s-license and vehicle-registration data about Wurzelbacher were obtained from the Bureau of Motor Vehicles. Also, the State Highway Patrol is investigating unauthorized access to data about Wurzelbacher in the attorney general’s office from a test account that the office shared with contractors who developed a computer network for the Ohio Association of Chiefs of Police.

Unauthorized and unjustified dredging of restricted government databases to find possibly embarrassing information on Americans simply for participating in democracy is unacceptable.

At the very least, Jones-Kelley should be reproved, and anyone who conducted an illegal search of Wurzelbacher’s records should be prosecuted.

I remind you again of what Obama mouthpiece Bill Burton said after the State Department passport breaches came to light: “Our government’s duty is to protect the private information of the American people, not use it for political purposes.”

How now, Billy boy?

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