Tougher penalties for data hackers

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ST. PAUL, Minn. (AP) — Minnesota lawmakers are on the verge of cracking down on public employees who abuse their access to citizen data.

A measure being negotiated in a House-Senate conference committee would do more to expose and punish data snoopers who improperly use government databases.

The bill would also specify that only certain government employees would be able to see people’s private information — those who need it to do their jobs.

State officials would have to notify the person whose data has been compromised and allow that person to request a copy of the investigative report.

One high-profile case that helped lead to the legislation was that of an ex-government employee accused of about 19,000 unauthorized lookups of driver’s license data over several years.

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