Gov't Workers Peeked at Celeb Passport Data

Report suggests 127 million Americans' information unsafe
By Matt Cantor,  Newser User
Posted Jul 4, 2008 7:45 AM CDT
People wait in line outside the U.S. Passport Office in downtown Washington for processing, Wednesday, June 20, 2007.    (AP Photo/Pablo Martinez Monsivais)
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(Newser) – 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.