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Stupid Virginia Slapped By Judge

What should we do about privacy problems? Attack the person who found the problem!
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When Betty Ostergren, otherwise known as the "Virginia Watchdog" and on of my personal heroes, started posting social security numbers and other private data about state senators, she turned a few heads.

She got the information from the state's own public records websites where the senators were quick to pull some strings to get their information off the sites, but Betty refused to pull it off hers until they fixed the system that left all the other less-connected people vulnerable.

Their response was to draft a law for her specifically (what an honor!) that would make it illegal to disseminate any public records that contained Social Security numbers. Facing tens of thousands of dollars in fines, she was fortunately rescued by the Virginia ACLU who filed a lawsuit on her behalf.

And the good news is that the right decision was reached and the state of Virginia was told to eat crow. The saddest and sickest part of the whole situation is that they violently attacked the person who publicized what they were doing wrong while they made no effort to fix the wrong she exposed.

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Privacy Advocate Teaches State a Lesson – Posts Senators’ Private Data

Golly. I wonder if posting private information online could be a problem
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This lady found Social Security Numbers on a state website. She's threatened to publicly release detailed instructions on how to find them like she did and to expose the SSNs of several important people in the state if they don't fix the problem.

A spokesman for the office responsible said:

The bulk of the "hundreds of thousands" of documents on the Web site are business filings, and only 5 percent or so are believed to include Social Security numbers

Why can't states realize that putting records online makes them available to the world instead of just local people? There's public information and global public information.

That aside, this lady is my hero and I hope she does post the data. I've often wondered how long it would take to solve some of our privacy woes if a few dozen members of congress had all their personal data posted on a website.

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