Brickbat: No Good Deed …


The Missouri State Highway Patrol is investigating a reporter who uncovered a flaw on the website for the state's Department of Elementary and Secondary Education that exposed the Social Security numbers of state teachers. The St. Louis Post-Dispatch alerted the state and allowed the problem to be fixed before publishing a story about the issue. But Gov. Mike Parson said the reporter committed a crime and should be punished.

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33 responses to “Brickbat: No Good Deed …

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  1. This is a great idea - scrap all the privacy laws and just male it illegal to look at stuff you're not supposed to look at. Reminds me of how when they were first trying to regulate the internet they wrote the law such that it would be illegal to use a screen name, use anybody else's account, or look over anybody's shoulder while they were on the internet because they had no idea what the internet was or how it worked. As far as they were concerned, you just downloaded the internet and then it worked like a fax machine.

    1. There already are laws that prohibit looking at things you’re not supposed to look at: CSA images.

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  2. Quick, quick, what's the guy's political party, that's all that matters!

    1. "R" Party. ... Therefor, he could fuck a road-killed, rotted-for-5-business-days, maggot-laden duck, in broad daylight, in front of the TV cameras, and STILL be a Saint!!!

  3. Those who can't do useful things, teach instead. Those who have no brains or benevolence (or common sense, even), become Governors and cops!

    1. Or create gibberish filled websites. For example.

      1. ... Stumbled into this a while back. Now HERE is a REAL gibberish filled website!

    2. That’s not how I heard the saying. I thought it was, “Those who can, do. Those who can’t, teach. Those who should have been a blowjob dribbling down mama’s chin become politicians, activists, and pundits.” Maybe I heard it wrong?

      1. That's GREAT! I will have to try and rememberize it that way,thanks!

  4. Missouri... The "Show Me You're an Asshole" State!

  5. Well, someone has to be punished for this leak, and it sure can't be Mike Parson or his people!

  6. If he hacked a password or subverted the site's security in anyway he committed a crime. If not, he didn't.

    1. He hit 'View Source' on a state-run website that was originally designed to run on IE6.

      1. Yeah, it was an astonishingly poor design.

        Mike Parsons *really* should have asked the opinion of a professional before going public about this. He looks like an absolute moron.

      2. Microsoft should also be called to task for allowing such an easy "multi-stage process" to be used to "decode the...source code."

      3. Close enough. Throw the book at him.

        One of the rules you have in the military is 'don't embarrass your seniors'.

        Same thing here. Dude made the state look bad. The state's gonna beat the shit out of him as a warning to the next guy.

  7. Eliminating public schools addresses this issue, amongst other ones.

    1. No, the only true solution is to eliminate troublemakers.

    2. Obviously this is a problem with section 230.

  8. > Parson nonetheless claimed a crime had been committed and vowed to not let it go "unpunished."

    It's true, actually. Software design that terrible is truly criminal, and the people responsible should be punished.

    1. I did a contract job once for a firm that specified FTP file storage for both data and software updates. I tried to explain that FTP was the direct opposite of secure and tried to get them to at least consider SFTP. But they would have none of it.

      So do I walk off the job, or do what I was told to do and get paid? For some jobs I would walk. If it were an air traffic control system I would have walked. But I stayed, put my concerns in writing, and complied. The error was not in the software I wrote, but in the operation of the company. Any half assed IT puke could set up a secure file site. I did manage to get them to concede that the password should not be hardcoded into the software. Jeepers.

      Epilogue: They were out of business in six months.

  9. Web designers, because software designers need someone to look down on

    1. Mobile developers because even web developers need someone to mock.

  10. Since when has criticizing government been a crime?

    Oh, wait.

  11. The story is routine. I heard of similar incidents as far back as the 90s. Firm has a security flaw, person who discovers it notifies the firm, later gets in trouble with the law for not keeping it secret. It's a big problem. Security flaws should NOT be kept secret.

    Most famous case of someone who first alerted Adobe, and then the world at a DefCon conference, that Adobe PDF security was a trivial Caesar cipher. He wound up in jail over it.

    Security through obscurity is bullshit, but it's how government and most corporations still work. They think if nobody knows about their flaws then they're safe from hackers.

    1. A couple of years ago, before the pandemic hit, we had a local municipality here in Missouri that had just enabled a new platform for digital building plan review and comment. BUT - it would only run on Internet Explorer.

      Launched in late 2019. Internet Explorer only.

      I asked the plan review guy about it, and apparently whichever development company they hired or purchased this software from charged extra by how many web browsers it was compatible with, so they decided to just pick one, and they picked IE.

      They were hacked in January of 2020, held for ransom, and it took them several months to get the city website back online. We ended up needing to submit for permits in paper format anyway. The digital plan review feature never returned.

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