When a famous person checks into a hospital or enrolls in college, it can be tempting for employees at those organizations to take just a little peek into the star’s private records. But nine employees of a Department of Education contractor in Iowa learned the hard way that “just a peek” is actually a big invasion of privacy after they looked at President Obama’s student loan records, the AP reported Wednesday.

The U.S. Attorneys’ Office indicted the employees Wednesday on federal charges that they exceeded their right to access private computer records while employed by the contractor between July 2007 and March 2009. The contractor’s name did not appear in any of the indictments.

If the workers are found guilty, they could be sentenced to as long as one year in prison and fined up to $100,000.

For more on “peeping,” a trending realm for data breaches, read “Breach Patrol” in the May 2009 issue of InsideCounsel.