Just because an employer hasn’t changed a former employee’s log-in information doesn’t mean it’s OK for the ex-employee to access the company’s computer system, according to a complaint in U.S. District Court.
The prosecution contends that’s especially so when it is health information with legal privacy protections that is being accessed.
A Clifton Park man was arrested recently on a federal count of computer intrusion.
Brian Staring, 53, is accused of accessing his former employer’s system using free Internet access at the Clifton Park library and at two Albany bars in late August and early September 2010, according to a federal affidavit.
At one of the bars, a manager told investigators he heard Staring, a regular at the bar, say he was accessing his former employee’s network and downloading data.
“Oh, look,” Staring allegedly told the manager, “These idiots haven’t even turned my access off after they fired me.”
While the company may not have turned off his access, it did notice his activity, according to the affidavit, and that started the federal investigation.
Staring is accused of getting into the computer system of Burlington Labs in Burlington, Vt., a drug testing laboratory.
The investigation began when the president of Burlington Labs contacted the FBI to report that Staring’s user name had been used to access the system several times between Aug. 31 and Sept. 13, 2010. Staring left the company Aug. 24, 2010.
Staring’s name was used to download copies of protected health information, according to the affidavit.
Subpoenas showed the access was from the Internet networks at the library and at the two bars.
Investigators then interviewed the bar manager and got a search warrant for Staring’s home. There, Staring admitted to accessing the network after his employment ended and confirmed he did so using the networks at the library and bars, according to the affidavit.
The protected health information could be found on one of his laptops, he allegedly told investigators.
“At the conclusion of the interview, Staring wrote and signed a statement admitting to the computer intrusion activity and acknowledging that his actions were wrong,” the affidavit reads.
The affidavit was prepared and signed by FBI Special Agent Daniel Alfin.
A representative of Burlington Labs could not be reached for comment for this story Monday. Staring’s attorney, listed as George Baird, did not return calls for comment.
Staring was arraigned in U.S. District Court in Albany on Feb. 24 and released.
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Categories: Schenectady County