Almost 200 million USA voters exposed by leaky Amazon database

Political data breaches aren't just for the DNC anymore: A GOP data firm has accidentally leaked personal information on nearly all of the 200 million registered voters it had access to.

"The data exposure provides insight into the inner workings of the Republican National Committee's $100 million data operation for the 2016 presidential election, an undertaking of monumental scope and painstaking detail launched in the wake of Mitt Romney's loss in 2012", writes UpGuard's Dan O'Sullivan. The data contained a treasure trove of personally identifiable information (PII) on voters including birthdays, phone numbers, and home addresses.

The data, which came from a variety of sources, was collated by a data analytics firm called Deep Root Analytics.

It said the files offer insights into the strategy used by Trump's campaign to target voters based on "data points" fed into an algorithmic formula.

"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", Lundry said.

What should be the most alarming to everyone is the fact that such sensitive information was improperly handled on such a large scale.

Deep Root founder told Gizmodo: 'We take full responsibility for this situation.

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It is not fully clear if anyone made off with the exposed data during the 12 days it sat out in the open, but Deep Root doesn't seem to think so.

The company said it had updated its system-access settings and "put protocols in place to prevent further access".

The above infographic, created by the firm that discovered the leak, represents every voter in the country.

Data security firm UpGuard is bringing our attention to a very severe data exposure today. An extensive database of information about 198 million Americans collected by a contractor hired by Republican groups was obtained by a security researcher, who found it on an Amazon server, with not even a single password protecting it.

The data was drawn from a variety of services, from official surveys, to private voter data, to their activity on social media, including controversial subreddits.

There are fears that leaked data can easily be used for nefarious purposes, from identity fraud to harassment of people under protection orders, or to intimidate people who hold an opposing political view. UpGuard says some entries rates voters on the likelihood of what policy, political candidate, and belief they will most or least likely support. Vickery discovered and reported the server but it's unclear if he was the first to get to the data or if someone else may have had access first.

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