WASHINGTON - Are you registered to vote in the United States? If so, you along with 191 million other Americans had your voter registration records available online to the public up until Monday night.
No one laid claim to the easily searchable database, and while it sat online fully exposing your information, you probably had no idea about it.
The exposed information included your full name, home address, mailing address, phone number, date of birth, gender, party affiliation, voting logs in the primary/general elections back to 2000, voter ID and voter prediction scores.
To be clear, a lot of voter information is public record. But it is protected by state laws, with each state having different rules of accessibility. You often have to pay for the data and also provide your information before accessing the data.
With this database just open and searchable, none of those laws or rules were followed.
To better understand why this security breach might concern you, I spoke with Chuck Grimmett, a tech expert and analyst at eResources.
“When you have to pay for access to this information, you have to sign an agreement saying you’re not going to use it in a certain way, you’re not going to distribute it in a certain way, and there are records on exactly who has purchased the information and who is using it,” said Grimmett. “Now, if it’s available just to the general public, there’s no sort of chain of custody who has handled this information.”
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