By Jaikumar Vijayan
July 23, 2009
At least six staff members at the Los Angeles County Coroner's
Department improperly viewed Michael Jackson's death certificate
hundreds of times in the two weeks immediately following the pop star's
death on June 25, the Los Angeles Times reported Wednesday.
Investigations by the coroner's office have also uncovered
vulnerabilities in two computer systems in which Jackson's death
investigation reports are stored, the Times said quoting Craig Harvey,
the city's chief coroner investigator. The unspecified vulnerabilities
could have allowed employees to gain unauthorized access to the
investigation reports even though the reports were "locked," the Times
story said. It was not immediately clear, however, whether the reports
had been accessed without authorization.
The illegal access of Jackson's death certificate from the Electronic
Death Registration System (EDRS) appears to have occurred despite a
warning by officials that such access was improper. In some cases,
employees printed the death certificate before it had become a public
record, the Times said. Though the records can be accessed by anyone
with a state-issued password, including employees at funeral homes,
hospitals and registrar's offices, employees at the coroner's office are
only supposed to look at it in fulfilling their official duties,
according to the story. The illegal access came to light when officials
were following up on a tip, which turned out to be false, that a funeral
home employee created a fake death certificate for Jackson on the EDRS,
the Times said.
Meanwhile, the death investigation reports were locked and should have
been accessible only to those with a rank of captain or higher. Because
of the high-profile nature of the investigation, access to Jackson's
death investigation reports had been restricted to a few administrators
with the hard copy stored under lock and key. No report has been made to
law enforcement because no laws were broken, only internal rules,
according to Harvey as quoted by the Times.
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