The Republican Party – Protectors and defenders of online security – Righteously keeping America safe from the flippant email habits of people like Hillary Clinton. Except….oops. Political data on nearly 200 million US citizens was exposed this month after Republican National Committee hired a marketing firm to stored sensitive documents on a publicly accessible Amazon server.
Gizmodo reported the massive leak of personal details of American voters by the GOP data firm, showing that the leaks contains a “wealth of personal information on roughly 61 percent of the US population. Along with home addresses, birth dates, 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.”
The data was amassed from a variety of sources—from the banned subreddit r/fatpeoplehate to American Crossroads, the super PAC co-founded by former White House strategist Karl Rove.
Deep Root Analytics, a conservative data firm that identifies audiences for political ads, confirmed ownership of the data to Gizmodo on Friday.
Cyber risk analyst Chris Vickery, who works for UpGuard, discovered Deep Root’s data online just a few days ago. Vickery found more a terabyte of information was stored on the cloud server without so much as password protection, which allowed the data to be accessed by anyone who found the URL.
According to Federal Election Commission reports, The RNC paid Deep Root $983,000 last year, but its server contained records from a variety of other conservative sources paid millions more, including The Data Trust (also known as GOP Data Trust), the Republican party’s primary voter file provider. Data Trust received over $6.7 million from the RNC during the 2016 cycle, according to Open Secrets, and its president, Johnny DeStefano, now serves as Trump’s director of presidential personnel.
The Gizmodo report shows, “The Koch brothers’ political group Americans for Prosperity, which had a data-swapping agreement with Data Trust during the 2016 election cycle, contributed heavily to the exposed files, as did the market research firm TargetPoint, whose co-founder previously served as director of Mitt Romney’s strategy team. (Funding from the Koch brothers also propelled a data company known as i360, which began exchanging voter files with Data Trust in 2014.) Furthermore, the files provided by Rove’s American Crossroads contain strategic voter data used to target, among others, disaffected Democrats and undecideds in Nevada, New Hampshire, Ohio, and other key battleground states.”
Deep Root also housed hundreds of files from The Kantar Group, which is a leading media and market research company with offices in New York, Beijing, Moscow, and many other cities across the globe.
It’s particularly curious that the data firm is connected to to offices in Russia.
The Kantar files each contain video links to related political ads stored on Kantar’s servers:
The file contained details about political ads, estimated cost, audience demographics, reach, and more.
There were files found on the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee, Planned Parenthood, and the American Civil Liberties Union, as well as files on every 2016 Republican and Democratic presidential candidate
But…but…her emails, right?
The massive hypocrisy has probably yet to be seen, but I’m sure in the next few days, if they mention this at all, Republican lawmakers or our imbecile-in-chief will be quick to defend this as no big deal compared to the leaks of Democrats. They want all the praise and glory, but none of the blame and responsibility.