A Lack of Integrity in Missouri

Thursday, December 9th, 2021

Speaking of bad judgement in the southern US, Missouri’s governor Mike Parson recently had a real one-two punch of stupidity. First, back in October, a newspaper reporter discovered that a state website was leaking data.

St. Louis Post-Dispatch reporter Josh Renaud identified a security flaw that exposed the Social Security numbers of teachers and other school employees in unencrypted form in the HTML source code of a publicly accessible website. Renaud and the Post-Dispatch handled the problem the way responsible security researchers do—by notifying the state of the security flaw and keeping it secret until after it was fixed.

Nevertheless, Parson publicly decried Renaud as a “hacker”, and attempted to refer the matter to prosecutors. This was very stupid, and at the time, pretty much everyone said as much. We now know that even the governor’s office knew how dumb it was, because two days before his slander against Renaud, the governor’s office wrote a statement of thanks.

Not content with this snafu, the administration piled on. In November, they commissioned a study of mask mandates which showed that they worked to reduce COVID-19 infections. Naturally, the anti-mask mandate administration buried the report.

I don’t know how many readers I have in Missouri, but you’ve got a gubernatorial election coming up in 35 months.


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