Cop punished for accessing photos of cheerleaders | #itsecurity | #infosec

  • By Wang Chun-chung and Liu Tzu-hsuan / Staff reporter, with staff writer

An officer at Huaping (華平) police station of the Tainan Police Department’s 4th Precinct has been given two minor demerits for accessing the personal information of 25 baseball cheerleaders.

The officer surnamed Liu (劉) accessed the household registration system with a computer at the station three times between April and last month to check photographs of the cheerleaders on their national identification cards, the precinct said on Sunday following an investigation.

Liu was suspended from accessing the system for three months and the chief of the police station, surnamed Shih (施), was given a warning for insufficient oversight, it said.

Photo: Chen Chih-chu, Taipei Times

The case came to light when a person on Saturday in a post on Facebook claimed that a police officer in Tainan had accessed the photographs of baseball cheerleaders, but had seemed not have been punished, questioning whether the incident had been covered up.

The precinct on Sunday said that during an investigation it found several unusual entries in Liu’s computer search history.

Liu, who is in his 20s and worked at the station for nearly six months, told investigators that he looked up photographs of the cheerleaders of the CTBC Brothers and Rakuten Monkeys during working hours out of curiosity, it said.

He said that he did not forward or sell the photographs to others and showed regret for his behavior, the precinct said.

The precinct said that it had found no evidence of him leaking confidential information.

Police often access people’s personal information such as ownership of vehicles and contact information. To prevent officers from abusing the authority, the National Police Agency has implemented an information security audit.

A chief inspector, who wished to remain anonymous, said that when computers were first introduced to the police force, many of his colleagues would look up celebrities and gossip about them, which showed a lack of awareness of information security and the protection of personal information.

For instance, when then-Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) legislator Wu Yu-sheng (吳育昇) was caught having an extramarital affair in 2009, more than 60 officers nationwide were found to have accessed the personal information of his mistress, drawing fierce criticism, the chief inspector said.

The National Police Agency in 2008 and 2009 introduced regulations on information security and police computers, with ethics and supervision units carrying out information security audits.

The Tainan City Police Department on Sunday said that its information security team checks all units of the department at least once a month and reviews search histories.

All officers have their own account and password to access the system, so “everything searched leaves traces,” a police chief said.

Additional reporting by Wang Kuan-jen

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