Here's the Computerworld run-down. And here's the Attorney General's letter (worth reading) and the proposed bill to change the law Texas HB 2061 so as all the county clerks don't get thrown in jail.
The AG letter says it in fourteen different ways NO, YOU CANNOT RELEASE SSNs, quoting an imperial raftload of laws, state and federal, why, and why you should even be asking the question. The clerks need to grab a big ol Sharpie and start their redactin'. Shut down your infonet tube, and stop selling your goods to some skanky information brokers from the desolate wasteland known as "Not Texas." Good on the OAG. Shame on collective elected doofi that are trying to find them an out.
I can only take solace in knowing the traditional efficiency and effectiveness of Our Lege.
This fiasco is an example of why privacy principles rather than mere compliance is important to an organization. Even if the Ft. Bend clerks were ignorant of the law, they reflected a disregard for the citizens they are charged to serve.