This is staggering. It’s aggregate data from voter rolls, various conservative think-tanks, and scrapes of Reddit that covers 61% of the American population.

Political data gathered on more than 198 million US citizens was exposed this month after a marketing firm contracted by the Republican National Committee stored internal documents on a publicly accessible Amazon server.

More than a terabyte was stored on the cloud server without the protection of a password and could be accessed by anyone who found the URL.

Deep Root’s data sheds light onto the increasingly sophisticated data operation that has fed recent Republican campaigns and lays bare the intricate network of political organizations, PACs, and analysis firms that trade in bulk voter data. In an email to Gizmodo, Deep Root said that its voter models are used to enhance the understanding of TV viewership for political ad buyers. “The data accessed was not built for or used by any specific client,” Lundry said. “It is our proprietary analysis to help inform local television ad buying.”

http://gizmodo.com/gop-data-firm-accidentally-leaks-personal-details-of-ne-1796211612

26 thoughts on “This is staggering. It’s aggregate data from voter rolls, various conservative think-tanks, and scrapes of Reddit…

  1. Even though voter rolls are public record and are easy to access … their exposure can still be harmful. It feels to me like there’s some weird framing effects going on in this article.]]>

  2. Well, hearing about the leaking of private information has a certain sinister quality to it. But a lot of the “private” information seems like it was just public information coded in a proprietary way. So it seems weird that I’m having a different emotional reaction to “public -> private -> public” than I do to “public”, to me that indicates it’s hitting some cognitive biases. The line I quoted… I’m not sure I agree with it, but if I did it seems like the appropriate target of concern would be the voter record-keeping laws, not some political marketing company’s lax data security.

  3. private -> public” than I do to “public”, to me that indicates it’s hitting some cognitive biases. The line I quoted… I’m not sure I agree with it, but if I did it seems like the appropriate target of concern would be the voter record-keeping laws, not some political marketing company’s lax data security.]]>

  4. Dan Maruschak Not all of the info leaked is public. Much of the data began with voter rolls, but then other data was added in from various sources. Maybe not SSNs or anything, but a LOT of targeted info.

  5. Mark Delsing Can you give me an example of a piece of data that one of the 61% should be alarmed about potentially becoming public? I’m not saying you’re wrong, I’m just saying that this article tripped some of my heuristics for a story that may be trying to have an emotional impact above its consequential weight-class.

  6. Dan Maruschak “Along with home addresses, birthdates, and phone numbers, the records include advanced sentiment analyses used by political groups to predict where individual voters fall on hot-button issues such as gun ownership, stem cell research, and the right to abortion, as well as suspected religious affiliation and ethnicity.”

  7. Mark Delsing home addresses … and phone numbers Isn’t this information the kind of thing that has been in phone books for decades?

    advanced sentiment analyses Is this the part that’s alarming?

  8. home addresses … and phone numbers Isn’t this information the kind of thing that has been in phone books for decades? advanced sentiment analyses Is this the part that’s alarming?]]>

  9. Dan Maruschak You’re not concerned that it’s that info liked to voting and political data? Or that the combo of such isn’t something any of these people agreed to have released by some computer-illiterate marketing wonk as a free download?

    Again, it’s not lie we’re talking SSNs or credit card at a, but it’s still concerning.

  10. Mark Delsing something any of these people agreed to have released

    But a political consultant’s algorithm’s guess about what I think isn’t my information the way my SSN or credit card stuff is. I certainly get that it feels creepy, but I’m not sure if there are any real principles getting violated that justify that sense of creepiness.

  11. something any of these people agreed to have released But a political consultant’s algorithm’s guess about what I think isn’t my information the way my SSN or credit card stuff is. I certainly get that it feels creepy, but I’m not sure if there are any real principles getting violated that justify that sense of creepiness.]]>