So how does the public school that educated the pilot over 40 years earlier repay our hero? It honored him not with a plaque, but with the publication of his academic records. According to Fox News, the pilot’s school records appeared online a day after the crash and rescue, including a childhood photo, testing history, and IQ. The release of this information was no doubt unexpected and perhaps unwanted. Given the pilot’s age (he is in his late 50s), one might have imagined that his school records would remain obscured, hidden in some warehouse or long ago discarded. But such obscurity was not meant to be and some privacy claims may be undermined by his newfound fame.
The case of the obscure person gaining fame then infamy isn’t unusual. A few months ago, the Ohio Inspector General released a report (pdf) finding that state employees improperly accessed and distributed confidential state records related to Samuel Joseph Wurzelbacher, who gained fame during the election as “Joe the Plumber.” Reporters learned that Wurzelbacher owed back taxes to the state and did not have a plumber’s license. And Joe the Plumber is just one example.