Gov. Mike Parson is sick and tired of all these sophisticated, no-good hackers and he’s not going to take it any more. It’s too bad the Missouri Republican has no idea what he’s talking about.
During a Thursday press conference, the confused elected official lashed out at a journalist who reported a vulnerability in an official Department of Elementary and Secondary Education website. The reporter, notably, waited until officials fixed the error before publishing the story. The flaw? The website apparently included teachers’ Social Security numbers in the HTML.
“Though no private information was clearly visible nor searchable on any of the web pages, the newspaper found that teachers’ Social Security numbers were contained in the HTML source code of the pages involved,” reported the St. Louis Post Dispatch.
Parson, who apparently has never heard of “view source,” obliquely threatened the Post reporter with prosecution.
“The state is committing to bring to justice anyone who hacked our system and anyone who aided or encouraged them to do so — in accordance with what Missouri law allows AND requires,” wrote Parson.
Again, to be clear, there was no hacking involved here — a fact seemingly lost on Parson, but not on the scores of cybersecurity experts, reporters, and privacy advocates who actually understand the issue at hand.
“We stand by our reporting and our reporter who did everything right,” Ian Caso, the St. Louis Post Dispatch‘s president and publisher, told Mashable in a statement. “It’s regrettable the governor has chosen to deflect blame onto the journalists who uncovered the website’s problem and brought it to the Department of Elementary and Secondary Education’s attention.”
We reached out to the office of the governor in an attempt to understand how it could have bungled this so badly. We received no immediate response.
However, his rambling at Thursday’s press conference, as reported by NBC News, speaks for itself.
“This individual is not a victim,” Parson reportedly said. “They were acting against a state agency to compromise teachers’ personal information in an attempt to embarrass the state and sell headlines for their news outlet. We will not let this crime against Missouri teachers go unpunished, and we refuse to let them be a pawn in the news outlet’s political vendetta.”
Parson, in other words, has no idea what he’s talking about.