The Minnesota Department of Natural Resources (DNR) is taking corrective actions after the agency discovered that a DNR employee inappropriately accessed driving license and motor vehicle records without authorization to do so.
The DNR immediately asked the Minnesota Bureau of Criminal Apprehension (BCA) to conduct an investigation into the unauthorized access of the data. At this time, no criminal charges have been filed.
The database is maintained by Minnesota Department of Public Safety Driver and Vehicle Services (DVS). The DVS records that were viewed include information such as full name, date of birth, driver’s license number, address, driver’s license status and driver’s license photo.
The investigation did not indicate that the viewed data was sold, disclosed to others or used for criminal purposes. However, the DNR is sending notification letters to approximately 5,000 affected individuals to make them aware of the unauthorized access. The agency is also recommending that those individuals monitor their credit reports.
The agency has also reported the unauthorized data access to the three main credit reporting agencies, as required by state law.
The employee involved in the unauthorized data access is no longer employed by the DNR.
“The DNR takes seriously its responsibility to protect private data,” said DNR Commissioner Tom Landwehr. “The DNR will not tolerate unauthorized access of private data. The agency is implementing additional employee training and looking into ways to monitor access to the data to ensure it doesn’t happen again.”
Additionally, the Minnesota Department of Public Safety (DPS) and the DNR are working to ensure that unauthorized access of DVS data doesn’t occur in the future. DPS is encouraging government agencies to review the terms and obligations of DVS data use to ensure private data is protected.
The DNR has set up an e-mail and phone to address questions and concerns for those who receive the letters. The e-mail is firstname.lastname@example.org. The phone number is 651-259-5309.