An unsecure Amazon server that was storing personal data on 198 million voters was exposed, which easily qualifies as one of the biggest data security incidents of our time, and the biggest ever voter information leak.
The server in question is owned by Deep Root Analytics, a Republican data analytics firm. The server contains sensitive personal information on 198 million voters with varying political affiliations. Specifically, the following types of data were exposed:
– Home addresses
– Dates of birth
– Political party associations
– Phone numbers
Apart from that, the server also contained information such as voter religions, ethnicities, and other preferences, the purpose of which is to allow for better targeted political advertising campaigns.
This effectively reveals a great deal about how the Republicans approach their political campaigns: by utilising big data. This is likely due to the success of the Barack Obama campaign in 2008, which is believed to be the first data-driven campaign.
The exposed server also contained gigabytes of data from TargetPoint, a conservative market research company, the aim of which is to help candidates better understand the policy preferences of voters and how likely they are to support a certain candidate, belief, or policy.
The leak was discovered by Chris Vickery, a cyber risk analyst from UpGuard.
Alex Lundry, co-founder of Deep Root, states that they have taken the necessary measures to prevent further access. Even though the investigation is still in progress, he does not believe their systems have been hacked.