- Irony of Georgia’s sperm-reporting bill flies by anti-abortion advocates Thursday 7:11 PM
- Sex scandals are consuming the K-pop industry Thursday 5:44 PM
- Trump supporters are abandoning Fox News over network’s latest hire Thursday 5:20 PM
- QAnon is attacking a random woman in a disturbing and dangerous way Thursday 4:59 PM
- Google celebrates Bach with AI-powered, music-making doodle Thursday 4:53 PM
- RIP: The best free trial in all of streaming entertainment Thursday 2:19 PM
- Which ‘Florida Man’ are you? Thursday 1:06 PM
- Hundreds of millions of Facebook passwords were accessible to employees Thursday 12:55 PM
- ‘Bitch I’m Bella Thorne’ morphs into TikTok dyslexia meme Thursday 12:17 PM
- Marvel is auctioning props and costumes from Netflix’s ‘Defenders’ franchise Thursday 12:12 PM
- Net neutrality advocates plan online watch party for the ‘Save the Internet’ Act Thursday 12:01 PM
- Tim Cook turns his iPad meme into an AirPod meme Thursday 11:46 AM
- Auschwitz Memorial asks visitors to stop taking playful photos at Holocaust site Thursday 11:33 AM
- The best Korean beauty products for $15 or less Thursday 10:50 AM
- PewDiePie’s reign as the No. 1 YouTuber seems to be over Thursday 10:43 AM
Nearly 200 million U.S. voters exposed by leaky Amazon database
A data analysis contractor hired by the Republican National Committee left the personal information of 198 million registered voters exposed on a publicly accessible Amazon server, a new Gizmodo report reveals.
Researcher and analyst Chris Vickery, who works for security firm UpGuard, discovered the database, owned by Deep Root Analytics, which contains a wealth of data on each individual voter collated from a range of sources, from super PAC research to Reddit communities. All in, 25 terabytes of data was available to read on the open internet, with 1.1 terabytes of that available to download.
“In terms of the disc space used, this is the biggest exposure I’ve found. In terms of the scope and depth, this is the biggest one I’ve found,” Vickery told Gizmodo.
Files included names, addresses, and phone numbers for more than half of all Americans. Deep Roots Analytics assigned each person an “RNC ID” that correlated that voter’s profile to other data on the person’s policy stances and preferences on a range of issues—such as gun ownership, abortion, and religion. One research analyst with UpGuard carried out a search of himself on the available database information, finding that the results were “astoundingly accurate.”
Although Deep Root Analytics did not gather the data, the company confirmed their ownership of it in a statement to Gizmodo on Friday.
“We take full responsibility for this situation,” the firm’s founder, Alex Lundry, said. “Since this event has come to our attention, we have updated the access settings and put protocols in place to prevent further access.”
The incident raises serious questions for the company about data security and, more broadly, about the role of complex data ecosystems utilized in political campaigns for voter targeting.
The RNC spent $983,000 between January 2015 and November 2016 on the Deep Root contract, according to Ad Age, and an extra $4.2 million on similar services delivered by another firm, TargetPoint.
David Gilmour is a reporter who specializes in national politics, internet culture, and technology. He previously covered civil liberties, crime, and politics for Vice.