Lawsuit and Charges Filed in Connection with DNR Data Breach

By KBJR News 1

Lawsuit and Charges Filed in Connection with DNR Data Breach

February 7, 2013 Updated Feb 7, 2013 at 3:35 PM CDT

St. Paul, MN (NNCNOW.com) --- A lawsuit has been filed in U.S. District Court as well as charges in Ramsey County in connection with a DNR employee who allegedly accessed driver's license records unlawfully.

Four women have filed a class action lawsuit with the U.S. District Court against John A. Hunt, the DNR employee who allegedly accessed the records without authorization, as well as against employees at the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources and the Minnesota Department of Public Safety.

The women listed in the lawsuit, who were victims in the data breach, say that Hunt's actions caused severe emotional stress and physical harm. They are seeking at least $10 million in damages.

On the same day the lawsuit was filed, charges were filed with the Ramsey County District Court against John Hunt.

Hunt has been charged with six counts including, Misconduct of Public Officer, two counts of Unauthorized Computer Access, Use of Encryption to Conceal Commission of a Crime, and two counts of Unlawful Use of Private Data.

The Duluth City Attorney's Office is prosecuting the case on behalf of the St. Paul City Attorney's Office.

Hunt is accused of accessing driver's license records of more than 5,000 people over 19,000 times between 2008 and 2012. A majority of the victims were females who hold positions as Federal and State political officials, members of the Legislature, appellate and district court judges, county and city attorneys, state patrol and city police officers, female news reporters, current and past female employees and family members from the DNR.

There is no indication the viewed data was sold, disclosed to others, or used for criminal purposes. No social security numbers or other DNR-related license or registration data was involved.

The DNR sent letters to those individuals making them aware their records had been inappropriately accessed.

Hunt was discharged on January 11th from the DNR in connection with the investigation that he was viewing the driver's license data during off-duty hours and without a job-related reason to do so.

Hunt was the DNR Enforcement Division's data practices "designee." He was responsible for managing the division's responsibilities for complying with the Minnesota Government Data Practices Act, which included staff training and assisting staff with data practices issues and requests.

Posted to the web by Krista Burns