Almost 200 million registered U.S. Voters had their personal information leaked online by accident due to improperly configured security setting
The personal information was compiled by Republican data firm Deep Root Analytics and two other contractors, and included data such as birth dates, voter registration details, names, addresses, and social media posts.
Chris Vickery, UpGuard cyber risk analyst, discovered the open database of 198 million voters on June 12, and it was secured on June 14. Almost 1.1 terabytes of data was available to download, without any kind of password protection.
“This the DNA of voter analysis. This is exactly what they use to determine how someone is likely to vote on a specific issue.” Vickery said in a statement
Deep Root said that the data was exposed on 1st of June, when the firm updated the security settings. They also mentioned that it “builds voter models to help enhance advertiser understanding of TV viewership.”
As a conclusion of this unfortunate event, the Republican National Committee said that it has decided to stop further work with Deep Root.
“While Deep Root has confirmed the information accessed did not contain any proprietary RNC information, the RNC takes the security of voter information very seriously and we require vendors to do the same,” it said
Deep Root’s database puts accent on the years-long effort by companies to stockpile data on American voters. It includes information from the presidential campaigns from 2008, 2012, and 2016. However, the data from 2016 is not as comprehensive as the preceding years.
The leaked data taken from Reddit could be used for training computers to recognize language sentiment or to watch specific subreddits in order to see how people were feeling about different political topics.
Some of the exposed information, such as voter registration, is public record; however, states have different ways of letting people access it and several rules on how it can be used.