Data used by Trump campaign on 198mn Americans found exposed online

Republican data analytics firm exposes voting records on 198 million Americans

Republican data analytics firm exposes voting records on 198 million Americans

The data was stored on an Amazon server that had not been properly secured, and also contained personal information collated by at least two additional companies, in addition to the information collected by Deep Root. But if it was, it would represent perhaps the largest political data mishap in American history.

A marketing firm hired by the Republican National Committee stored personal information gathered on more than 198 million US voters on a publicly accessible server.

Chris Vickery, a risk analyst at cybersecurity firm UpGuard Inc., discovered the insecure data on an Amazon Web Services S3 bucket, which was reportedly accessible to anyone with an Internet connection. In fact, the data came from the RNC and other sources and was assembled by Deep Roots.

In what is believed to be the largest known leak of its kind, a data firm made the personal details of almost 200 million voters publicly accessible.

"Beyond the nearly limitless criminal applications of the exposed data for purposes of identity theft, fraud, and resale on the black market, the heft of the data and analytical power of the modeling could be applied to even more ambitious efforts - corporate marketing, spam, advanced political targeting", the researchers wrote.

The exposed records include files provided by Data Trust, a data warehouse created by the GOP to serve as its exclusive data provider of voter records. A folder containing 2016 data only included files for OH and Florida, two crucial battleground states. In addition to names and dates of birth for each person, other information that was exposed included home address, phone numbers, and voter registration details. The data included citizens' contact information, addresses, birthdays, and analyses used to predict how they felt about controversial political topics like gun control and abortion.

Senior executives at Data Trust would not speak on the record prior to publication.

In a statement in response to the UpGuard report, Deep Root contends that the data on the server "was not built for or used by any specific client".

Lundry co-founded Deep Root in 2013, after working as the director of data science on Mitt Romney's failed 2012 USA presidential campaign.

An email to TargetPoint prior to publication went unanswered.

Deep Root Analytics is a media analytic firm which helps advertisers target their products to consumers most effectively.

"We take full responsibility for this situation", Deep Root said, adding that it was conducting an investigation with outside experts.

Deep Root Analytics says its doesn't believe any malicious third party obtained the information, but it has hired a digital forensics team to investigate.

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

Zack Whittaker can be reached securely on Signal and WhatsApp at 646-755-8849, and his PGP fingerprint for email is: 4D0E 92F2 E36A EC51 DAAE 5D97 CB8C 15FA EB6C EEA5.

This isn't the first batch of voter data found by Vickery.

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