But according to Haywood, the Texas Secretary of State is required to make the documents available under state public information laws. "Obviously our office is committed to trying to protect personal information in accordance with the law," he said. "But we also have a responsibility to post public information that has been submitted to our office. So we're balancing those responsibilities."
Ironically, Texas has recently gone after pawn shops and check-cashing operations in the state for throwing out sensitive data in public dumpsters.
The state should take a good look at its own data retention practices, Peisner said. "It's extremely hypocritical. They're talking about information that might not have been properly destroyed or shredded that was in a garbage bag... when there are thousands and possibly hundreds of thousands of citizens whose information is easily available on the Web, where you don't have to go into a garbage dump and get your hands dirty."