OOPS: The GOP Just Exposed Every Voter’s Private Info In Colossal Data Dump
The data breach sheds light on trump’s Strategy
A data firm working with the Republican National Committee accidentally exposed personal information for nearly 200 million voters through an unsecured ‘Cloud’ storage server. The firm, Deep Root Analytics, confirmed the data breach to Gizmodo.com. The breach was discovered by cyber risk analyst Chris Vickery and took 2 days to download. The 1.1 Terrabytes of files included voter information from Reddit.com’s recently banned Alt-Right subreddit r/fatpeoplehate as well as a host of other Republican Super-PACS and conservative groups. The information included income info, home addresses, voting habits, views on racism and policy and more. It paints a pretty provocative picture of the political temperature of the United States; ammunition the Trump Campaign was surely using to target the base.
The company issued a statement on its website today, attempting to downplay the significance of the data breach by assuring visitors that the information collected from Vickery was information that was all publicly available anyway.
“The data accessed was not built for or used by any specific client. It is our proprietary analysis to help inform local television ad buying.The data that was accessed was, to the best of our knowledge proprietary information as well as voter data that is publicly available and readily provided by state government offices. Since this event has come to our attention, we have updated the access settings and put protocols in place to prevent further access. We take full responsibility for this situation. Deep Root Analytics maintains industry standard security protocols. We built our systems in keeping with these protocols and had last evaluated and updated our security settings on June 1, 2017.”
Most troubling was the fact that data like that was available on the Cloud to anyone who simply knew the proper URL. In all fairness, the data is publicly available across a broad spectrum of voter registration, Super-PAC and public databases and all campaigns use such data. For it to be available so readily, however-so complete, in a cyber clearinghouse, sheds light on the science, the strategy and the stakes behind national politics. It also brings into question security issues that might befall a firm so deeply entrenched in the business of data strategy and targeting. As one Democratic strategist told Gizmodo.com the value attached to the data is more than just money.
“Data like that would be a combination of polling data, real world data from door-knocking and phone-calling and other canvassing activities, coupled with modeling using the data we already have to extrapolate what the voters we don’t know about would think,. The campaigns that do it right combine all the available data together to make the most robust model for every single voter in the target universe.”
Deep Root has said an internal investigation is under way and the initial findings point to no malicious access by third party end users. SInce the breach, Deep Roots founder Alex Lundry who has worked with Mitt Romney’s 2012 campaign and was a data jockey for Trump’s campaign, says their security protocols have been updated and no hacking was suspected.
Photo by Morris MacMatzen/Getty Images
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