Low-ranking government apparatchiks are wasting taxpayer dollars and violating our trust by exploiting their access to massive government databases to look up private information on their neighbors and ex-spouses, and “doc gawk” on celebrities like Lindsay Lohan, Matt Damon, James Taylor, and Tom Brady.
With access to a broad array of information, from the Passport Information Electronic Records System (PIERS), to the anti-terrorism intelligence database Treasury Enforcement Communications System (TECS), to the addresses and phone numbers in the state driver’s license database, the information out there on citizens is vast and the temptation for abuse is great.
Indeed, the need for government employees to be aware of proper practices surrounding personal information is big enough that TSA created a caped and masked mascot called “Privacy Man” to help get the word out. Here is a picture of him.
Safeguard your privacy. Only give out the minimum required information when filling out forms or answering questions, and don’t be afraid to challenge when you think the asker is overstepping their bounds in what they say they need to know. Also, avoid being interesting so people are less tempted to pry into your life.
Bureaucrats can’t resist celebrity snooping in government databases [Center for Investigative Reporting]