Saturday, 25 October 2008

Say it ain't so: Joe target of database snoops

Via my Facebook updates feed, the Columbus Dispatch reports that records of “Joe the Plumber” have been looked up in various Ohio databases, potentially in violation of various privacy laws. As I noted over at OTB during the Obama/Clinton/McCain passport snooping controversy, the snooping in this case was almost certainly the result of what was called “imprudent curiosity” in those incidents rather than a concerted effort to dig up dirt on everyone’s favorite small-business owner. That isn’t to excuse the snooping, mind you.

Update: Michelle identifies a broader issue at work here.


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[Permalink] 1. Jennifer wrote @ Sun, 26 Oct 2008, 7:49 pm CDT:

Well, my problem is that the media have run with this and used this private information as a way to smear a private citizen. The guy was at home with his kids and the Obama campaign sought him out for a photo op. Obama made the infamous “spread the wealth around” comment and then Joe the Plumber gets roasted by everyone. Geez, I think this will create a chilling effect among the public. Who wants to have their life under such intense scrutiny just because they asked a (perfectly legitimate) question?


Yep; Steven Taylor made much the same point back when the whole thing was confined to silly matters like “Joe” actually being the guy’s middle name (like people going by something other than their given name is some bizarre thing that never happens).

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