Friday, December 27, 2013

More Googling, Less Oogling

Breaking news out of Minneapolis, lonely, technologically unimaginative police officers cost taxpayers tens of thousands of dollars:

A Minneapolis assistant city attorney who works alongside police officers has reached a $32,500 settlement with the city after learning that more than 100 officers had snooped into her driver’s license file.

The City Council approved the settlement last week after Paula Kruchowski’s attorney wrote in a notice of claim ¬letter — which typically precedes a lawsuit — that she had been “oogled [sic] by scores of men.”

This apparently all stems from the federal Driver’s Privacy Protection Act which allows for penalties of $2,500 per unauthorized use of state driver’s license data, of which gratuitous “oogling” of the driver’s license picture apparently constitutes. For whatever reason, the desperate, voyeuristic police officers committing the violations can pass the bill along to the taxpayers.

The Kruchowski oogling (which sounds like the title of the next Robert Ludlum thriller) is but a mere pixel in the obscene mosaic that is the raid on the public treasury that this law, and our public servants’ behavior, is causing.  The queen of being illegally seen, so far, is former police officer Anne Rasmusson, who weaseled earned over $1 million from the municipal treasuries of Minneapolis, St. Paul and surrounding suburbs due to her brothers in blue and their insatiable desire to view her driver license photo.  And this may be dwarfed by the class action suits, including hundreds of other oogled plaintiffs, now pending:

“It’s potentially hundreds of millions of dollars [in government liabilities],” [Governor Mark Dayton] said. He added that it will ultimately be up to a jury or judge to decide the extent of the damages, “but given the number of … individuals whose information and privacy has been violated, it’s pretty significant.”

And that’s from Mark Dayton, an expert in wasting hundreds of millions of taxpayer dollars.

The stinger in all of this is that we’re paying all of this money so these government officials can look at pictures of attractive women.  It’s almost as if these people missed the fact that there are other information outlets available that already provide this service (and according to reports, more), with virtually no associated legal exposure to the taxpayers.  Have you people heard of the Internet? Forget the Internet, have you heard of Guttenberg and movable type?

So exactly what are we taxpayer’s getting for our money?  While I cannot access driver’s license photos, utilizing these other mysterious means of photo acquisition, here’s a publicly available picture of the $32,000 woman, Paula Kruchowski:

Really, 32 large for that, officers of the Minneapolis PD?  Hope you enjoyed it.
How about the Million Dollar woman, Ann Rasmusson?

Boom!  You’re not going to see that on a driver’s license.  Unless you need a special license to drive a jet ski in the Tropicana’s new water show tribute to Cagney and Lacey.  Actually, it looks like Ms. Rassmusson got her license portrait taken while wearing her uniform and a million dollar smile.  We can only imagine the smile she’s wearing now, post settlement.

Needless to say, this cannot continue.  Or can it?  Breaking news from just last week:

On Tuesday, however, a federal lawsuit was filed by another female officer against about 50 municipalities, ¬ including Minneapolis.

The suit in U.S. District Court in Minneapolis by attorneys for Amy Krekelberg, a Minneapolis police officer, alleges that officers with more than 40 municipalities illegally viewed her private driver’s license data nearly 1,000 times since 2003.

A potential fine of $2.5 million, all for the pleasure of seeing a variation of this.

I know beauty is subjective, but in my opinion the collective value of gawking at all twelve of those people isn’t worth $2.5 million.

If our public servants are incapable of controlling themselves, then it is our duty as citizens to assist.  To the desperate out there who absolutely, positively have to see a headshot of some fellow officer or attorney or meter maid or steno pool typist, I offer the services of Fraters Libertas.  We’ll do the Google legwork, and have it shipped to you within 30 minutes of receipt of any valid requests.  And we’ll only charge 10% of the normal fine you would be assessed for pursuing these images via your traditional means.  That’s a 90% savings to the taxpayers.  No need to thank us, we asked not what our country can do for us, but what we can do for the country, and this is what we came up with.