Governor Wants to Prosecute Journalist Who Clicked ‘View Source’ on Government Site

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I wanted to make a separate thread about this because there's all kinds of stupidity to unpack here.


Basically, someone wrote an incredibly shitty and insecure web app that exposed SSNs of employees right in the web page's source which anyone could view by right clicking on the page and selecting "View Source". A journalist discovered this and reported it to the sate government. Now the governor wants to prosecute the journalist for "hacking". WTF?

This article also makes a really good point that now no one will want to report issues like this for fear of being prosecuted. What an idiot governor.

 

SuperMatt

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More on this. They were apparently planning on thanking the journalist. Then stupid happened.
Missouri’s leaders are among the worst in America. This situation, the wrongfully imprisoned people they refuse to compensate (and fight to keep Locke up), pardoning the gun-toting lawyers, and on and on…
 

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JayMysteri0

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Missouri Gov. Mike Parson’s wacky but chilling public persecution of a journalist he accused of “hacking” a state education website has thankfully been put to an end. Despite all the ruckus, apparently Parson still does not know what hacking actually means.

Cole County prosecutor Locke Thompson has decided not to pursue criminal charges against Josh Renaud, a journalist for the St. Louis Post-Dispatch who discovered a gaping cybersecurity hole in the Missouri Department of Elementary and Secondary Education website and published a story on it last October. The cybersecurity flaw left the social security numbers of more than 100,000 school teachers, administrators, and counselors exposed to the public.

In a statement published on Friday, Thompson thanked the governor for passing along his concerns and said his office had a zero-tolerance policy for the “unauthorized taking and using of the personal information of any person.”

“There is an argument to be made that there was a violation of law. However, upon a review of the case file, the issues at the heart of the investigation have been resolved through non-legal means,” Thompson said. “As such, it is not in the best interest of Cole County citizens to utilize the significant resources and taxpayer dollars that would be necessary to pursue misdemeanor criminal charges in this case. The investigation is now closed, and the Cole County Prosecutor’s Office will have no further comment on the matter.”
 

MEJHarrison

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“As such, it is not in the best interest of Cole County citizens to utilize the significant resources and taxpayer dollars that would be necessary to pursue misdemeanor criminal charges in this case."

So they're publicly saying the journalist DID do something wrong, but it's not worth the effort to do anything about it? At least that's how I read it. I think they ought to be counter-sued for defamation or slander or whatever the legal thing is here. Viewing the source of a page is in no way a criminal activity. Not a big thing, not a little thing, not even just a tiny bit criminal. It's a function built into every single browser I've ever crossed paths with (and as a web developer, that's a lot of different browsers).

Thankfully he's a journalist. So if he's unhappy with the outcome, he already has a great place to air those grievances.
 
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