Making the Bad Part of Human Nature Easy

One of the arguments against massive government databases is that the rank and file government bureaucrats will have the opportunity for personal mischief. Aside from the slippery slope argument that the presence of these databases will make it easier for future tyrants. But don’t underplay how much simple human curiosity will lead to systemic abuse:

A landlord snooped on tenants to find out information about their finances. A woman repeatedly accessed her ex-boyfriend’s account after a difficult breakup. Another obtained her child’s father’s address so she could serve him court papers.

All worked for Wisconsin’s largest utility, where employees routinely accessed confidential information about acquaintances, local celebrities and others from its massive customer database.

Documents obtained by The Associated Press in an employment case involving Milwaukee-based WE Energies shine a light on a common practice in the utilities, telecommunications and accounting industries, privacy experts say.

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