Earlier this week, The eGovernor (as the public apparently called him at some point) Jeb Bush released hundreds of thousands of emails from his tenure as governor of Florida. It was a move in the name of transparency – Jeb Bush’s transparency. But the Bush team didn’t quite think everything through, and they didn’t double-check everything before making it all public. Most importantly, the team didn’t think about how transparent thousands of Floridans wanted to be – or more aptly put, how un-transparent they wanted to be.
So when the big email dump went live, there was no redaction. Not a single bit. People’s email address, names, and in some case home addresses and telephone numbers were made public, along with the content of whatever email correspondence they had with the governor.
But that wasn’t all. The Bush email dump also exposed around 13,000 social security numbers – most of which were hidden in a spreadsheet on a PowerPoint slide attached to a 2003 email.
In his attempt to promote transparency, Jeb Bush had pretty much doxxed a good chunk of Florida.
Now, it turns out, Jeb Bush and crew have fixed the most egregious error in the email project. According to the Guardian, the team has successfully redacted the tens of thousands of exposed social security numbers – per a Bush spokeswoman.
But that’s it. All of the rest of it still remains – the email addresses, the names, the home addresses, the telephone numbers. None of this has been redacted.
I’m not sure what kind of expectation of privacy these Floridians had when emailing a public figure – especially when it’s the governor. But it doesn’t take a huge leap to see how this could be problematic. Maybe May Whitfield of Boca Raton isn’t too thrilled that everyone can now see how much she didn’t want that Islamic center built in her neighborhood. Also, if you want to tell Mrs. Whitfield just how racist she is, well look – there’s her email!
Redacting the social security numbers is a no-brainer, as revealing those likely violated state privacy laws. But think about the implications of the rest of the now publicly-available information. Shouldn’t Jeb Bush and company redact the names and email addresses of the 300,000+ emails in the archive?