by Mike Masnick
Tue, Feb 26th 2008 11:29pm
Last month, we wrote that whenever a government entity puts together a large database of private, confidential data, it will get abused. In all honesty, we never should have limited that to just the "government." News reports are coming out about a case in Wisconsin where apparently employees at the state's largest energy company regularly snooped through private records to find out all sorts of information on all different kinds of people. Among the information accessed by employees: "credit and banking information, payment histories, address and phone numbers, and Social Security numbers." And, for what purposes? "Examples included a woman that often perused information on an ex-boyfriend, a woman who searched for the address of her child's father, and a part-time landlord who investigated prospective tenants. Another worker leaked information on a mayoral candidate's habit of paying heating bills late, possibly affecting the election." Once again, at this point, you probably should just assume that you have no privacy whatsoever -- but you should be wary any time someone tells you that the database they've put together is somehow secure and safe from privacy violations.
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