Senate chair troubled by alleged data misuse

Sen. Warren Limmer, R-Maple Grove, is raising concerns about the possible misuse of the state’s Driver and Vehicle Services database.

The Minnesota Department of Public Safety has asked 18 law enforcement agencies to investigate after an audit found that a person’s record had been accessed more than 400 times over the past four years by about 100 law enforcement employees. Limmer, who chairs the Senate Judiciary and Public Safety Committee, wrote a letter today to DPS Commissioner Mona Dohman seeking additional information about the investigation.

“As you may know, protecting Minnesotans’ data privacy is a longtime concern of our state legislature, and it is extremely important that law enforcement only access citizens’ information during the course of investigations and other authorized duties,” Limmer wrote. “I hope it is not the case in this situation, but it would be troubling to discover abuse of authority given to officers looking at a person’s information without cause.”

Limmer also wrote that he wants to determine if existing state law is “adequate in providing law enforcement with the professional continuity it needs in handling this issue.”

Limmer and Dohman are scheduled to meet Friday to discuss the issue further.

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