If there is any one thing we Americans expect of our leadership, it is to be circumspect with the rights and privacy of the people. Â In what appears to be a completely political move, Jeb Bush, former Governor of Florida and 2016 presidential hopeful, released his email correspondence during his time as governor – some 250,000 communications – with ordinary Floridians. Â The problem? Â He, or his handlers, forgot to redact a few things:
- Personal contact information, including the personal emails of all correspondents
- Social Security Numbers
- Personal opinions that were not meant for public consumption
- Confidentiality and privacy disclaimers
It also seems that the Bush team forgot to contact the regular, ordinary, little people to ask permission to publish their words. Â In each of these cases, that is a combination violation of federal law, invasion of privacy, setting up people for identity theft, and in a word STUPID. Â Really STUPID. Â This is a genuine torpedo hitting the ship of Bush’s political aspirations, especially when the little people lawyer up and start suing.
There is no excuse for such carelessness. Â None. Â If any of the people who were exposed in this cache are victims of identity theft, or sued for any reason that could be laid at the door of the release of this information, it is quite literally Bush’s fault. Â This time, anyway. Â The opening of the emails, as it were, was actually done in order to appear transparent. Â The statement that appears on the Bush jebemails.com website says:
“Emails kept me connected to Floridians and focused on the mission of being their governor,” Bush said in a statement on the site. “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.”
There’s a difference between transparency and respecting one’s fellow Americans, Floridians or not. Â This was a case of not paying attention. Â One would hope that Mr. Bush would not put the same person in charge of the nuclear missile launch codes if he were actually to attain the Oval Office after this.
According to The Hill, as soon as the blunder was discovered, tech blogs went to work deleting the information, but on the internet, anything published is there forever. Â Cached copies of all posts exist somewhere unless the real spooky experts find all copies and scrub them. Â When the majority of posts were published on this story, not all of the personal information had disappeared from the initial release.
There is an update on engadget’s story that says the files have been taken down from the website. Â Indeed the emails are gone, but the calendar remains.
As we head into primary season, this is one of the many issues all Americans – not just Republicans or conservatives – should take into consideration when going through the process of choosing our next president. Â Jeb being a Bush aside, do we really want anybody this careless with personal and sensitive information as our leader?