TBA Suffers Data Breach – Member Uses Member Database to eMail Members about Beekeeping!

In a surprising email from TBA, Chris Moore, President, informed members that on June 22 they received an unauthorized email from someone called The Texan Beekeeper. This grievous attack on TBA came out of nowhere apparently.

But wait. What terrible news was in the email? I received the email, so I looked through it again. It opened with a brief introduction and invitation/announcement that Lone Star Beekeepers is open for business. That’s not the best message for beekeepers if you’re TBA, but it seems harmless enough to invite someone to consider something. It was polite and factual. There was a brief write up about heat stress and remedies for it. Something about “watch out for snakes” too. There was a list of local/regional clubs that currently operate as recognized 501c3s. And the Texan Beekeeper was kind enough to point folks our way at SaveTexasBeekeepers.org as well as towards a couple of other online resources. Then there was an update on the TBA 131 Committee, Ashley Ralph, Chair. That was followed by a short explanation of mite counting with sticky boards.

What is so terrible about this email? You’ll have to ask Chris if you’re confused. Email him here.

But what is this nonsense in Chris’ email? “TBA did not authorize this email….” The email did not say otherwise. The Texan Beekeeper clearly did not pretend to speak for TBA or mislead readers to think that the email had much to do with TBA at all. “TBA recognizes this breach of member information and regrets any inconvenience caused to TBA members.” Breach? What breach? Most TBA members voluntarily list themselves in the TBA member directory, available for members only (password protected area only). I know I just clicked that box last week when I renewed my membership. I am always eager to hear from my fellow beekeepers! Perhaps TBA members who didn’t authorize their listing were breached? Chris isn’t clear about this question.

If you’re like most beekeepers, you get a few emails like The Texan Beekeeper each week. Some are great. Some are worthless. Some are trying to sell you something. They’re just emails. I couldn’t tell you where 10% come from. Who cares? In the arena of ideas, we at SaveTexasBeekeepers suggest that the more, the merrier!

Chris specifically accuses The Texan Beekeeper of breaching TBA data, but then only mentions member emails as compromised. Were other data compromised? Credit card numbers? Addresses? Members’ local club affiliations? Those would obviously be more serious problems.

Perhaps this breach is related to other breaches that TBA has quietly suffered in the past? The Coastal Bend Beekeepers Association (my group) initially took advantage of TBA’s web hosting in 2016 only to suffer multiple incidences of hacking of our site, the latest resulting in our page being turned into a Japanese mattress sales site. We have since moved the page to somewhere we hope will be safer. So TBA’s concern for online security is valid, though perhaps misplaced.

Here at SaveTexasBeekeepers we publish reliable beekeeping news that is attributed to specific writers (Principle Writers of the blog, or guest writers by invitation). The practice of writing “anonymously” though, has a long and famous history. Ben Franklin was famous for his pen names. Here are just a few of them:

  • Richard Saunders (aka Poor Richard, a name so recognized and influential a Navy ship was so named).
  • Mrs. Silence Doogood
  • Caelia Shortface and Martha Careful
  • Busy Body
  • Polly Baker

There were many other names that Franklin invented and used as a force for extreme good during his time. Polly Baker, for example, was used to advocate against the poor treatment of women. Often, these pen names are open secrets. What does it matter? Certainly, anonymous writers may also disrupt too, but writing anonymously places the emphasis on the only thing that matters, the writing, the ideas. So the question becomes, what ideas are so fear-inspiring to TBA?

Author: Dennis Gray

Small honey producer and pollination provider headquartered in the Coastal Bend of Texas. We provide service from Uvalde to the RGV and across the Texas coast to Sabine County. We sell honey and rent pollination bees. Our premium products include Ross Rounds and Guajillo and Cotton honey. We also provide hive rentals for the purpose of ag valuation for property owners.

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