This is starting to just get sad. Prior to receiving notice from Gizmodo this morning, Kris Kobach’s office was leaking sensitive information belonging to thousands of state employees, including himself and nearly every member of the Kansas state legislature. Along with a bevy of personal information contained in documents that, according to a statement on the website, was intended to be public, the Kansas Secretary of State’s website left exposed the last four digits of Social Security numbers (SSN4) belonging to numerous current and former candidates for office, as well as thousands—potentially tens of thousands—of high-ranking state employees at virtually ever Kansas government agency.
The combination of a person’s name and SSN4 creates what’s commonly called “personally identifiable information,” the unauthorized disclosure of which is unlawful under numerous state and federal laws. Putting these statements of substantial interest online without redacting the SSN4 information is beyond reckless; it’s stupid.
While scanning the documents on the public website, Gizmodo found SSN4 information for employees at the Kansas Departments of State, Transportation, Education, Labor, Health and Environment, and Aging and Disability Services; staff members at Kansas State University, Wichita State University, Pittsburg State University, and the University of Kansas; serving members of the Coordinating Council on Early Childhood Development, the Human Rights Commission, the Board of Veterinary Examiners, and the Behavioral Sciences Regulatory Board; as well as district attorneys, correctional officers, and other law enforcement officials—just to name a few.