A few minutes after I posted the story about the USDA publishing Social Security numbers on their Web site, I received a call from Marc Kesselman, USDA’s General Counsel. He “appealed to my senses” and said that by publishing the story, we were compromising confidential and sensitive information that could be misused.
He did not explicitly say that he wanted Sunlight to take down the post, but the implication was clear.After a quick meeting with my colleagues at Sunlight, we decided that we were not withdrawing the post. By then, the New York Times had also published their story on the same subject. Also, here’s a press release from USDA saying they are offering free credit monitoring for one year to people whose private identification information was exposed”