Anne Marie Rasmusson to settle data breach lawsuit with state

Anne Marie Rasmusson to settle data breach lawsuit with state
The state has agreed to a binding settlement, but final papers still need to be filed before the case is dismissed.

Attorneys for Anne Marie Rasmusson say they've struck a deal with the state in their client's data breach lawsuit that would put new safeguards in place to catch abusers of Minnesota's Driver and Vehicle Services database.

For regular followers of Blotter, Rasmusson's should be a familiar name by now. Almost a year ago, she filed a federal lawsuit against agencies, individual officers, and governing bodies involved in an audit of the driver's license database. The audit, which spanned the years 2007 to 2011, found that Rasmusson's driver's record had been breached 425 times by 104 officers in 18 different agencies. Her license was accessed another 174 times in 2006, according to state data obtained by City Pages. Rasmusson has already won more than $1 million in settlements from agencies across the state.

SEE ALSO: Cover: Is this woman too hot to have a driver's license?

Sonia Miller-Van Oort, Rasmusson's attorney, says they've reached a binding agreement with the Department of Public Safety, but final documents still need to be filed before the case is dismissed. The court will determine whether the state pays Rasmusson's legal fees, but the settlement is primarily based on implementing new ways to catch misuse of the database, says Miller-Van Oort.

"The main thrust of Ms. Rasmusson's concerns and claims from the very beginning were out of concern with this practice," she says. "She really had a desire to change the system and change the safeguards that were in place for the rest of the population. So this was a huge part of the case for her and for us."

According to Miller-Van Oort, the changes include:

  • A monthly audit to identify the 25 most-searched names and make sure they're being accessed for legitimate reasons.
  • A monthly audit to identify the top 50 search users among law enforcement personnel.
  • A modification to the database sign-on screen that will require law enforcement to identify the reason for the search.
  • Ongoing training for law enforcement on the requirements of the Driver Privacy Protection Act.

    The Department of Public Safety will also consult with other states and law enforcement agencies to find additional ways to improve best practices for users of the database, says Miller-Van Oort.

    The case just about brings Rasmusson's case to a close, says Miller-Van Oort, though they are still trying to find resolutions with a few more agencies.

    Department of Public Safety spokesman Bruce Gordon declined to comment on the ongoing litigation.

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