Struggling with tech basics, GOP governor targets journalists

Missouri Gov. Mike Parson's administration is accusing a reporter of being a 'hacker' — because the governor is confused about what 'hacking' is.

10/16/2021 7:30:00 AM

.MaddowBlog: Missouri Gov. Mike Parson's administration is accusing a reporter of being a 'hacker' — because the governor is confused about what 'hacking' is.

Missouri Gov. Mike Parson's administration is accusing a reporter of being a 'hacker' — because the governor is confused about what 'hacking' is.

yesterday about Missouri's Republican governor.Missouri Gov. Mike Parson on Thursday called for a criminal investigation into a journalist who discovered a vulnerability on a state website that left the Social Security numbers of thousands of public school teachers exposed.

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One of the extraordinary things about this story is that the journalist in question did everything perfectly. The St. Louis Post-Dispatch's Josh Renaud uncovered a vulnerability in a state education website, which revealed teachers' names and their Social Security numbers. Uncovering the vulnerability did not require particularly sophisticated tech skills: All anyone had to do was right-click on the site, choose to look at the HTML source code, and see the private information.

How the reporter and his editors handled the story could be taught in a Journalism 101 course: Renaud contacted a few teachers to verify that the Social Security numbers were authentic and then wrotea story— which the newspaper held for publication until after the website administrators ensured that the private information was no longer publicly visible.

In other words, Renaud and the Post-Dispatch did the right thing the right way. They exposed a data risk, which was fixed as a result of good journalism. Common sense suggests the governor should be thanking the reporter and the newspaper for helping address a problem.

Parson, however, apparently doesn't quite see it that way. In fact, the GOP governor publishedan oddly accusatory tweetyesterday:"Through a multi-step process, an individual took the records of at least three educators, decoded the HTML source code, and viewed the [Social Security Numbers] of those specific educators. We notified the Cole County prosecutor and the Highway Patrol's Digital Forensic Unit will investigate."

This is just bizarre. There was no"multi-step process" — again, all it took was two simple clicks over the course of a few seconds — and the reporter didn't"take" anything. He also didn't have to"decode" anything beyond simply reading the private information the state website inadvertently exposed.

And yet, the Parson administration nevertheless issued a statement yesterday referring to Renaud yesterday as a"hacker."I'm not overly concerned about the reporter actually facing some kind of criminal charges. Hopefully, Missouri law enforcement will understand the tech basics well enough to recognize the governor's weird complaints as laughable.

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But the fact that a sitting governor is equating good journalism with a tech crime is nevertheless unsettling. Read more: MSNBC »

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MaddowBlog MaddowBlog If this fool is lucky, the Teacher's Union won't sue the state of Missouri for exposing their member's personal data for God knows how long! It probably is on the black market despite the integrity shown by the reporter. MaddowBlog Hope he gets sued for defamation and slander. MaddowBlog In olden times, reporters could be “hacks” (this guy looks like he should remember this), but not “hackers.” AnotherIgnerntRepublican

MaddowBlog The Gov is not confused. Parson is a misogynist, a racist and a bully: the prototypical GOP governor msnbc maddow STOP PANDERING TO GOP BULLIES MaddowBlog How did Missouri elect such a hack MaddowBlog He may have thought “hacker” is the new word for “hack writer”. MaddowBlog For all those who are new to this working from home Bitcoin trading options Here's a little tip: Get a trusted Bitcoin expert and stick to her earn_with_Jens1 Invest and play at similar times each day. Because : In times of chaos, your investment is your anchor to success

MaddowBlog MaddowBlog Does it surprise anyone that the Missouri governor is a Republican? MaddowBlog I live in Missouri— I can attest GovParsonMO is confused about a hecka lot of things- like mainly his job.

Missouri gov slams paper for uncovering data security flawJEFFERSON CITY, Mo. (AP) — Republican Gov. Mike Parson on Thursday condemned one of Missouri's largest newspapers for exposing a flaw in a state database that allowed public access to thousands of teachers' Social Security numbers, even though the paper held off from reporting about the flaw until after the state could fix it. Slam him down just once. thou shalt not see the code. 'The Department of Elementary and Secondary Education removed the pages from its website on Tuesday after being told about the issue by the Post-Dispatch, which said it gave the state time to fix the problem before it published its story.' The newspaper deserves a medal! 🏅

MaddowBlog MaddowBlog Maddow blog is hack reporting. MaddowBlog Um...that's Mr. Flinstone. Do you see it? I see it. No wonder! MaddowBlog Sounds like Maxine Waters

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Missouri governor threatens legal action against journalist who found flaw that exposed Social Security numbersMissouri Gov. Mike Parson on Thursday called for an investigation of a journalist for finding, helping fix and reporting about a vulnerability in a government website that exposed the Social Security numbers of teachers in the state. 😍😍 GOP dumfuqitude. 'What's a interwebz?' Governor Parson

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