Thanks a ton, Jeb.
In his steady march toward the 2016 presidential campaign trail, Jeb Bush yesterday released hundreds of thousands of the "millions" of emails sent to him when he was governor of Florida. "In the spirit of transparency, I am posting the emails of my governorship here. Some are funny; some are serious; some I wrote in frustration. But they're all here so you can read them and make up your own mind," the site says.
Unfortunately, his staff neglected to redact correspondents' names, email addresses, street addresses, phone numbers and even Social Security numbers – so the Outlook files are basically a handy resource for spammers. Predictably, the tech world lost their shit before the politicos – or citizenry – seemed to notice:
Gizmodo: "Jeb Bush basically just doxxed thousands of Floridians"
Ars Technica: "Although what Jeb Bush did may not be illegal, it shows a flagrant disrespect for the people who may have sent him information thinking it was in confidence."
The Verge: "Florida Man strikes again." [Ed. note: Sigh.]
As noted by the Bush camp and many who have reported on the matter, Florida's Sunshine Law is extremely broad. (I guess that's why many elected leaders attempt an end run via SMS.) If you've ever received an email from a member of state or city government, you've probably seen the official disclaimer:
Please note: Florida has a very broad public records law. Most written communications to or from state officials regarding state business are public records available to the public and media upon request. Your e-mail communications may therefore be subject to public disclosure.
Still, even a person who was careless enough to send his SSN in an email might wish that it hadn't been published in a sortable database right next to his name and address. Comments on Jeb's Facebook announcement of the site are about 50-50 positive-negative, but make no note of the privacy leak (well, the hundred or so I read of the 154 so far). Surely that's just a matter of time? Read them yourself, or (gulp) just check to see if any angry emails you may have sent are posted, at JebBushEmails.com.