Magazine article Insight on the News

Big Brother Plays the Dating Game

Magazine article Insight on the News

Big Brother Plays the Dating Game

Article excerpt

So it seems that the fears of the civil libertarians regarding misuse of personal and confidential information by those in authority may be well-founded. In a story that bears looking into, border to border and level upon level, the Detroit Free Press discovered that police in Michigan have used confidential data to stalk women, threaten motorists and settle scores.

"In many cases," according to the article, "abusers turned a valuable crime-fighting tool into a personal search engine for home addresses, for driving records and for criminal files of love interests, colleagues, bosses or rivals." The database in question is the Law Enforcement Information Network (LEIN). Included is information from the FBI's National Crime Information Center, as well as various state records. Some of the information certainly is public record, but some apparently involves judgments and suspicions, such as a notation as to whether the person being checked out is considered "dangerous."

Reporters working on the story were told by cops that other officers had asked them to check out a target using LEIN so as not to leave a trail themselves. Some of those instances involved digging out information on "attractive people" seen on the road. …

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