Jeb Bush's email transparency experiment goes horribly wrong (update)

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Richard Lawler
February 10th, 2015
Jeb Bush's email transparency experiment goes horribly wrong (update)

Today Jeb Bush posted archives containing thousands of emails from his time as governor of Florida for public viewing. That's great as a push for transparency from a potential presidential candidate, however as The Daily Dot and The Verge have found, the release leaked private info from thousands of people who never knew their messages would be released in this manner. The information contained includes email address, home address, phone numbers, social security numbers, job information, medical info and more. At least some of the governor's responses mention that messages are a part of the public record and may be released, but it's still troubling to have the information out there.

The Jeb Emails archive is a part of an ebook the politician is releasing "as a guide to my eight years as a governor", and in its PDF form much of the identifying info, other than names, has been stripped. The raw data is where the problems are, available for browsing by date, or as downloadable Outlook files. There's no search feature on the website so pawing through the information is a slow business, but it may be time to remember any drunken emails you sent to in the pre-Snapchat days of 1999 - 2007.

We tried to contact Bush or his PAC, but have not received a response yet. Fortunately, the governor's new CTO has plenty of experience sanitizing data, and should be available to help out on this possibly-too-transparent transparency.

Update: The website has removed the Outlook PST files that were available for most of the day, however the calendar link is still available. According to a note "We were informed that some personal information was available in the raw data so we removed these files....You may still read these emails on the email calendar link, where we have redacted personal information we have been able to locate."

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