Police from communities across Massachusetts have repeatedly tapped into the state’s criminal records system improperly to access information on celebrities and “high-profile citizens,” says a scathing audit that branded the system as obsolete and flawed, reports the Boston Globe. Law enforcement personnel looked up personal information on Patriots star Tom Brady 968 times – seeking anything from his driver’s license photo and home address, to whether he had purchased a gun – and auditors discovered “repeated searches and queries” on dozens of other celebrities.
The Criminal Offender Record Information system, with its massive databases of criminal records, driving histories, car ownership, and Social Security numbers, is intended to provide police and prosecutors with complete portraits of individuals who have been arrested. Reports are available to other users such as landlords and some employers conducting background checks on prospective tenants and job seekers. Access is supposed to be restricted to authorized law enforcement users, who are specially trained.