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 newsletter!

Or

Sign up to gain exclusive access to email subscriptions, event invitations, competitions, giveaways, and much more.

Membership is free, and your security and privacy remain protected. View our privacy policy before signing up.

Error: Please check your email address.

Tags insider threatsUSA governmentdojpassport snooping

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

Cool Tech

Bang and Olufsen Beosound Stage - Dolby Atmos Soundbar

Learn more >

Toys for Boys

Nakamichi Delta 100 3-Way Hi Fi Speaker System

Learn more >

Sony WF-1000XM3 Wireless Noise Cancelling Headphones

Learn more >

ASUS ROG, ACRONYM partner for Special Edition Zephyrus G14

Learn more >

Family Friendly

Mario Kart Live: Home Circuit for Nintendo Switch

Learn more >

Philips Sonicare Diamond Clean 9000 Toothbrush

Learn more >

Stocking Stuffer

SunnyBunny Snowflakes 20 LED Solar Powered Fairy String

Learn more >

Teac 7 inch Swivel Screen Portable DVD Player

Learn more >

Christmas Gift Guide

Click for more ›

Most Popular Reviews

Latest Articles

Resources

PCW Evaluation Team

Tom Pope

Dynabook Portégé X30L-G

Ultimately this laptop has achieved everything I would hope for in a laptop for work, while fitting that into a form factor and weight that is remarkable.

Tom Sellers

MSI P65

This smart laptop was enjoyable to use and great to work on – creating content was super simple.

Lolita Wang

MSI GT76

It really doesn’t get more “gaming laptop” than this.

Jack Jeffries

MSI GS75

As the Maserati or BMW of laptops, it would fit perfectly in the hands of a professional needing firepower under the hood, sophistication and class on the surface, and gaming prowess (sports mode if you will) in between.

Taylor Carr

MSI PS63

The MSI PS63 is an amazing laptop and I would definitely consider buying one in the future.

Christopher Low

Brother RJ-4230B

This small mobile printer is exactly what I need for invoicing and other jobs such as sending fellow tradesman details or step-by-step instructions that I can easily print off from my phone or the Web.

Featured Content

Don’t have an account? Sign up here

Don't have an account? Sign up now

Forgot password?