US State Dept. worker sentenced for passport snooping

The agency employee is sentenced to 12 months of probation and community service

An employee of the U.S. Department of State was sentenced Wednesday to 12 months of probation for illegally accessing more than 125 electronic passport application files, the U.S. Department of Justice said.

Kevin M. Young, 42, of Temple Hills, Maryland, was also ordered by Judge Alan Kay, of the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia, to perform 100 hours of community service. Young pleaded guilty on Aug. 17 to one count of unauthorized computer access.

Young has worked full time for the State Department since February 1987, and he has been a contact representative for the Passport Special Issuance Agency for the past eight years, the DOJ said.

Young had access to official State Department computer databases, including the Passport Information Electronic Records System (PIERS), which contains all imaged passport applications dating back to 1994. The passport applications on PIERS contain applicants' names, dates of birth, current addresses, parent information and other personal data.

PIERS access by State Department employees is limited to official government duties.

Between March 11, 2003, and Dec. 21, 2005, Young logged onto the PIERS database and viewed the passport applications of more than 125 celebrities, actors, comedians, professional athletes, musicians, models, a politician and other individuals identified in the press, the DOJ said. In his guilty plea, Young said he had no official government reason to view these passport applications, and his reason for doing so was "idle curiosity," the DOJ said.

Young is the eighth current or former State Department employee or contractor to plead guilty since September 2008 to charges related to passport snooping. Most of the other defendants have received sentences of probation, community service, or fines.

A group of State Department employees and contractors were targeted for prosecution after March 2008 news reports of employees there accessing the electronic passport files of three presidential candidates, Senators John McCain, Barack Obama, now U.S. president, and Hillary Clinton, now secretary of state.

The inspector general's office at the State Department later found that there had been widespread breaches of PIERS.

The inspector general's office looked at the passport files of 150 politicians, entertainers and athletes, and found that 127 of those passports had been accessed at least once between September 2002 and March 2008.

Those passport files were accessed 4,148 times during that time frame, and one person's passport was searched 356 times by 77 users.

Join the Good Gear Guide newsletter!

Error: Please check your email address.

Tags USA governmentsecurityinsider threatspassport snoopingdoj

Our Back to Business guide highlights the best products for you to boost your productivity at home, on the road, at the office, or in the classroom.

Keep up with the latest tech news, reviews and previews by subscribing to the Good Gear Guide newsletter.

Grant Gross

IDG News Service
Show Comments

Essentials

Microsoft L5V-00027 Sculpt Ergonomic Keyboard Desktop

Learn more >

Lexar® JumpDrive® S57 USB 3.0 flash drive

Learn more >

Mobile

Lexar® JumpDrive® S45 USB 3.0 flash drive 

Learn more >

Exec

Lexar® Professional 1800x microSDHC™/microSDXC™ UHS-II cards 

Learn more >

HD Pan/Tilt Wi-Fi Camera with Night Vision NC450

Learn more >

Lexar® JumpDrive® C20c USB Type-C flash drive 

Learn more >

Audio-Technica ATH-ANC70 Noise Cancelling Headphones

Learn more >

Budget

Back To Business Guide

Click for more ›

Most Popular Reviews

Latest News Articles

Resources

PCW Evaluation Team

Azadeh Williams

HP OfficeJet Pro 8730

A smarter way to print for busy small business owners, combining speedy printing with scanning and copying, making it easier to produce high quality documents and images at a touch of a button.

Andrew Grant

HP OfficeJet Pro 8730

I've had a multifunction printer in the office going on 10 years now. It was a neat bit of kit back in the day -- print, copy, scan, fax -- when printing over WiFi felt a bit like magic. It’s seen better days though and an upgrade’s well overdue. This HP OfficeJet Pro 8730 looks like it ticks all the same boxes: print, copy, scan, and fax. (Really? Does anyone fax anything any more? I guess it's good to know the facility’s there, just in case.) Printing over WiFi is more-or- less standard these days.

Ed Dawson

HP OfficeJet Pro 8730

As a freelance writer who is always on the go, I like my technology to be both efficient and effective so I can do my job well. The HP OfficeJet Pro 8730 Inkjet Printer ticks all the boxes in terms of form factor, performance and user interface.

Michael Hargreaves

Windows 10 for Business / Dell XPS 13

I’d happily recommend this touchscreen laptop and Windows 10 as a great way to get serious work done at a desk or on the road.

Aysha Strobbe

Windows 10 / HP Spectre x360

Ultimately, I think the Windows 10 environment is excellent for me as it caters for so many different uses. The inclusion of the Xbox app is also great for when you need some downtime too!

Mark Escubio

Windows 10 / Lenovo Yoga 910

For me, the Xbox Play Anywhere is a great new feature as it allows you to play your current Xbox games with higher resolutions and better graphics without forking out extra cash for another copy. Although available titles are still scarce, but I’m sure it will grow in time.

Featured Content

Latest Jobs

Don’t have an account? Sign up here

Don't have an account? Sign up now

Forgot password?