Kansas ethics database taken offline over privacy questions

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TOPEKA, Kan. (AP) -

Kansas has taken an ethics database offline over questions about how it allowed access to forms for hundreds of state officials listing part of their Social Security numbers.

Secretary of State Kris Kobach said he took the database down Thursday because of privacy concerns. Users could pull up annual financial disclosure forms that included the last four digits of officials' Social Security numbers.

News reports said Kobach acted after the tech website Gizmodo posted a story about it. Gizmodo called not redacting the information "beyond reckless."

Kobach said he believes partial Social Security numbers should not be accessible but state law requires him to make the disclosure forms available to the public. The data has been accessible online since 2005 and paper copies of disclosure forms remain available for inspection

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