Not Much Security For Social Security Numbers

My daughter Katiebrought this to my attention. The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit upheld a blogger’s right to post unredacted social security numbers on her blog. B.J. Ostergren, the blogger in question, got them from Virginia land records, and she posted them to show how lax the state government had been in handling land records containing the SSNs. Apparently Virginia passed a law to prevent her from doing that. The Fourth Circuit found that she had a First Amendment right to post the information. I can see where the Fourth Circuit is coming from. There is a shoot the messenger quality to the Virginia statute. But I have to ask what Ostergren really thought she was accomplishing. It’s like she was saying “I am going to protest Virginia’s putting its citizens at risk for identity theft by . . . putting those citizens at risk for identity theft.” She could have posted the records and redacted all but the last 4 digits and still made her point.