Report: Michael Jackson's death certificate improperly accessed
At least six unauthorized employees viewed record more than 300 times in two weeks, says L.A. Times
Computerworld - At least six staff members at the Los Angeles County Coroner's Department improperly viewed Michael Jackson's death certificate hundreds of times in the two weeks immediately following the pop star's death on June 25, the Los Angeles Times reported Wednesday.
Investigations by the coroner's office have also uncovered vulnerabilities in two computer systems in which Jackson's death investigation reports are stored, the Times said quoting Craig Harvey, the city's chief coroner investigator. The unspecified vulnerabilities could have allowed employees to gain unauthorized access to the investigation reports even though the reports were "locked," the Times story said. It was not immediately clear, however, whether the reports had been accessed without authorization.
The illegal access of Jackson's death certificate from the Electronic Death Registration System (EDRS) appears to have occurred despite a warning by officials that such access was improper. In some cases, employees printed the death certificate before it had become a public record, the Times said. Though the records can be accessed by anyone with a state-issued password, including employees at funeral homes, hospitals and registrar's offices, employees at the coroner's office are only supposed to look at it in fulfilling their official duties, according to the story. The illegal access came to light when officials were following up on a tip, which turned out to be false, that a funeral home employee created a fake death certificate for Jackson on the EDRS, the Times said.
Meanwhile, the death investigation reports were locked and should have been accessible only to those with a rank of captain or higher. Because of the high-profile nature of the investigation, access to Jackson's death investigation reports had been restricted to a few administrators with the hard copy stored under lock and key. No report has been made to law enforcement because no laws were broken, only internal rules, according to Harvey as quoted by the Times.
The incident is similar to numerous others involving illegal access to confidential records by employees. Less than three weeks ago, a former employee at the U.S. Department of State was sentenced to one year probation for improperly accessing passport records belonging to more than 50 high-profile individuals. Gerald Lueders was the third State Department employee to be sentenced in the case, which involved the breach of passport records belonging to then-Sens. Barack Obama, Hillary Clinton, John McCain and others.
In another incident earlier this year, Kaiser Permanente hospital in Los Angeles said it had fired 15 employees for snooping on the personal medical records of Nadya Suleman, the woman who gave birth to octuplets in January.
In April 2008, the medical center at the University of California, Los Angeles, disclosed that more than 160 doctors and other employees had accessed the medical records of celebrities such as Tom Cruise, Farah Fawcett and Britney Spears.
Read more about Security in Computerworld's Security Topic Center.
- Best iPhone, iPad Business Apps for 2014
- 14 Tech Conventions You Should Attend in 2014
- 10 Desktop Apps to Power Your Windows PC
- How to Add New Job Skills Without Going Back to School
- Slideshow: 7 security mistakes people make with their mobile device
- iOS vs. Android: Which is more secure?
- 11 sure signs you've been hacked
- The 12 PCI DSS 3.0 requirements addressed by Peer 1 Hosting This handy quick reference outlines the 12 PCI DSS 3.0 requirements, who needs to be compliant and how Alert Logic solutions address the...
- Defense Throughout the Vulnerability Life Cycle This whitepaper provides insight into how to leverage threat and log management technologies to protect your IT assets throughout their vulnerability life cycle.
- Mobile Policy Checklist Here's what to consider when putting together a mobile policy designed to support a highly productive workforce.
- Securing BYOD Mobile computing is becoming so ubiquitous that people no longer bat an eye seeing someone working two devices simultaneously. Individuals and organizations are...
- Live Webcast On-demand webinar: "Mobility Mayhem: Balancing BYOD with Enterprise Security" Check out this on-demand webinar to hear Sophos senior security expert John Shier deep dive into how BYOD impacts your enterprise security strategy...
- Live Webcast Endpoint Backup & Restore: Protect Everyone, Everywhere Arek Sokol from the bleeding-edge IT team at Genentech/Roche explains how he leverages cross-platform enterprise endpoint backup in the public cloud as part...
- Streamline Software Asset Management, Compose a software Management Symphony Keeping track of your organization's software is easy with effective software management solutions from CDW. View the videos in our software solutions channel
- Druva inSync: Endpoint Data Protection & Governance CLICK HERE to watch this video about protecting corporate data on laptops and mobile devices, sponsored by Druva. All Security White Papers | Webcasts