This was, in fact, a “freely available” website, with no “permission” needed to access it.
• “This individual [was] acting against a state agency to compromise teachers’ personal information in an attempt to embarrass the state and sell headlines for their news outlet.”
Renaud made clear in his story that he stumbled upon the Social Security numbers while looking for a way to aggregate public teacher certification data. There was no ill intent.
Which brings us to a significant and inexcusable omission: Parson knew that the warning from Renaud was the only reason the administration even learned it was putting teachers at risk. Yet Parson made no mention of that in his press conference.
Parson vowed that “we will not let this crime against Missouri teachers go unpunished.” Parson knows perfectly well there wasn’t any “crime” here.
Only Parson knows why he decided to misrepresent this episode to the public. But it’s worth noting that a PAC that supports him was using those misrepresentations in a fundraising appeal last week.
To review: More than 100,000 teachers were at risk from a security flaw in a state website. A journalist discovered that risk, alerted the state, and even gave the state time to fix the problem before publishing the story. Now Parson is focused not on figuring out who screwed this up, but on persecuting the journalist who revealed the screwup.