The Slatest

Jeb Bush Just Published a Bunch of Floridians’ Private Information Online

If you sent Jeb Bush an email while he was governor, you might want to change your Social Security number. You can change those, right?

Photo by Andy Jacobsohn/Getty Images

Jeb Bush, former Florida governor and probable 2016 Republican presidential candidate, just released hundreds of thousands of emails sent to him during his eight years as governor. You can look through them yourself in a nifty online database. This gesture toward transparency is not a terrible idea. Unfortunately, Bush and his team failed to redact an immense amount of personal information from these correspondences—including emails, home addresses, and Social Security numbers. The Verge did some digging:

We reviewed many of the emails released by Bush, and found a wide variety of communications — everything from religious parables, to praise of the governor’s support of creationism, to routine bureaucratic correspondence. Some of the emails, though, appear to be highly sensitive or personal. Many … share tales of personal struggle or sorrow.

As you might expect, many of the emails are either unhinged rants from disgruntled citizens or tedious administrative messages. But there’s also a great deal of personal material tucked alongside the boring stuff—correspondences which the emails’ senders surely did not expect to be shared to the world. In fairness, many of Bush’s emails included this disclaimer:

Please note: Florida has a very broad public records law. Most written communications to or from state officials regarding state business are public records available to the public and media upon request. Your e-mail communications may therefore be subject to public disclosure.

Still, it seems a little cruel of Bush to toss so many Floridians’ private emails into the public spotlight—and extremely irresponsible to fail to redact their most sensitive information. The Verge sums up the snafu quite succinctly: “Florida man strikes again.”