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

Toys for Boys

Family Friendly

Stocking Stuffer

SmartLens - Clip on Phone Camera Lens Set of 3

Learn more >

Christmas Gift Guide

Click for more ›

Brand Post

Most Popular Reviews

Latest Articles

Resources

PCW Evaluation Team

Aysha Strobbe

Microsoft Office 365/HP Spectre x360

Microsoft Office continues to make a student’s life that little bit easier by offering reliable, easy to use, time-saving functionality, while continuing to develop new features that further enhance what is already a formidable collection of applications

Michael Hargreaves

Microsoft Office 365/Dell XPS 15 2-in-1

I’d recommend a Dell XPS 15 2-in-1 and the new Windows 10 to anyone who needs to get serious work done (before you kick back on your couch with your favourite Netflix show.)

Maryellen Rose George

Brother PT-P750W

It’s useful for office tasks as well as pragmatic labelling of equipment and storage – just don’t get too excited and label everything in sight!

Cathy Giles

Brother MFC-L8900CDW

The Brother MFC-L8900CDW is an absolute stand out. I struggle to fault it.

Luke Hill

MSI GT75 TITAN

I need power and lots of it. As a Front End Web developer anything less just won’t cut it which is why the MSI GT75 is an outstanding laptop for me. It’s a sleek and futuristic looking, high quality, beast that has a touch of sci-fi flare about it.

Emily Tyson

MSI GE63 Raider

If you’re looking to invest in your next work horse laptop for work or home use, you can’t go wrong with the MSI GE63.

Featured Content

Don’t have an account? Sign up here

Don't have an account? Sign up now

Forgot password?