Update: The Freedom Foundation’s Track Record of Endangering Public Employees
August 4, 2016
Earlier this week, we talked about the Freedom Foundation’s request for personal information of public employees, including school teachers, firefighters, nurses and law enforcement personnel and posited that the State of Washington could be sued if they released that information to the Freedom Foundation and it then was stolen or made public.
New information and a look at the Freedom Foundation’s track record further indicates that the State of Washington could be endangering its employees by releasing this personal information to the Freedom Foundation.
In mid-July, InfoSecurity Magazine reported on a study by the Ponemon Institute that announced that 60% of U.S. companies “believe some of their data is now in the hands of a competitor because of a breach…. Careless employees were blamed as the number one cause of such incidents, although poor security practice was identified in other areas.” [InfoSecurity Magazine, 7/22/16]
Careless employees you say? Like the kind who (likely unintentionally) published the names, employers and salary information of tens of thousands of Washington teachers on their website? That’s right, the names, employers and salary information of tens of thousands of Washington teachers are publicly available on the Freedom Foundation website. (We aren’t linking to these files to prevent further publication of this information.)
One might forgive some carelessness if it didn’t seem to be part of a pattern. But part of a pattern it is: Their canvas director, the person in charge of keeping this information safe, is a convicted violent felon, and just recently, their Oregon Director arranged for an activist to videotape a protest organized by working families who was arrested at a subsequent event for aiming his handgun loaded with a high capacity magazine at a crowd of peaceful protesters and for carrying four additional high capacity magazines.
Putting it all together: The State of Washington is considering giving out “the most dangerous piece of information you can give out” to an organization that has a history of publishing personal information about union members on its website, an organization who has put a convicted violent felon in charge of that information, an organization whose state director invited an armed activist to film a protest organized by working families. [ABC News, 2/23/11]
How could the State of Washington not be liable when something inevitably goes wrong?