Seated on a couch between her two basset hounds, Anne Marie Rasmusson hardly looks like the sort of siren who would cause men to dash their careers at her feet. A former cop, she hides her 5-foot-2-inch figure under a bulky sweatshirt and keeps her blond hair clipped short.
Nonetheless, she is undeniably pretty. She has arresting green eyes, a sincere smile, and a face much younger than her 37 years.
Rasmusson gets up to find her purse, and pulls out her pocketbook. She slips out her driver’s license, and looks at the photo that made her the target of leering police officers, and now the plaintiff in an impending federal lawsuit.
“There is nothing that I would say about this driver’s license photo or any of my previous ones that in any way would deserve the attention that they’ve gotten,” she says. “I can’t begin to understand what people were thinking.”
The numbers were astounding: One hundred and four officers in 18 different agencies from around the state had accessed her driver’s license record 425 times in what could be one of the largest private data breaches by law enforcement in history.
The Department of Public Safety sent letters to all 18 agencies demanding an Internal Affairs investigation of the 104 officers. If the cops are found to be in violation of federal privacy law, they could be fired.
Rasmusson’s lawsuit, which will be filed in the coming weeks, alleges that not only was her privacy compromised, but that her story is merely a symptom of a larger culture of data abuse by police. Her attorneys charge that while police are trained to use the driver’s license database for official purposes only, in reality it’s more like a Facebook for cops.
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