Friday, October 31, 2008
Joe The Plumber Privacy Invasion More Extensive Than When First Reported
Now we learn that the privacy breach was worse than originally believed. Columbus Dispatch:
A state agency has revealed that its checks of computer systems for potential information on "Joe the Plumber" were more extensive than it first acknowledged.
Helen Jones-Kelley, director of the Ohio Department of Job and Family Services, disclosed today that computer inquiries on Samuel Joseph Wurzelbacher were not restricted to a child-support system.
The agency also checked Wurzelbacher in its computer systems to determine whether he was receiving welfare assistance or owed unemployment compensation taxes, she wrote.
Jones-Kelley made the revelations in a letter to Ohio Senate President Bill M. Harris, R-Ashland, who demanded answers on why state officials checked out Wurzelbacher.
Harris called the multiple records checks "questionable" and said he awaits more answers. "It's kind of like Big Brother is looking in your pocket," he said.
If state employees run checks on every person listed in newspaper stories as buying a business, "it must take a lot of people a lot of time to run these checks," he said. "Where do you draw the line?"
The Dispatch has uncovered four uses of state computer systems to access personal information on Wurzelbacher, including the child-support check authorized by Jones-Kelley.
She said on Monday that her department frequently runs checks for any unpaid child support obligations "when someone is thrust quickly into the public spotlight."
Republican legislators have challenged Jones-Kelley's reason for checking on Wurzelbacher as "frightening" and flimsy.
Jones-Kelly also has denied any connections between the computer checks on Wurzelbacher and her support for Obama. She donated the maximum $2,500 this year to the Obama campaign.
Ohio Inspector General Thomas P. Charles is investigating whether the child-support check on Wurzelbacher was legal.
You know, I really depend on you and many of the other regular commenters to remind me of things like this when I forget or have limited time to post and tie all these things together. So thank you Arc, I appreciate it. It does not go unnoticed or unappreciated.
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