It is a common practice amongst civil servants to check up on the financial status of friends, family, and acquaintances... Other records accessed out of 'curiosity' included those of a politician, pop star, and a 'notorious criminal.' The department was unaware of the breach until detectives..told them the criminal had sensitive information in his possession and he had received it from his civil servant sibling."If you wonder why the 'Data Protection Section of the Department of Family and Social Affairs' didn't flag these ongoing abuses of personal data -- that happens to be the department that employed the mole." Link (Thanks, Betsy!)
I write books. My latest is a YA science fiction novel called Homeland (it's the sequel to Little Brother). More books: Rapture of the Nerds (a novel, with Charlie Stross); With a Little Help (short stories); and The Great Big Beautiful Tomorrow (novella and nonfic). I speak all over the place and I tweet and tumble, too.