While the nation has been fretting over what a hostile actor could do, given access to the voter information of a large chunk of the United States population, a Republican contractor has saved us the worry and just given it to them.
Political data gathered on more than 198 million US citizens was exposed this month after a marketing firm contracted by the Republican National Committee stored internal documents on a publicly accessible Amazon server.
The data leak contains a wealth of personal information on roughly 61 percent of the US population. Along with home addresses, birthdates, 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—over 1,000 gigabytes of information—is the aggregation of voter information from a variety of GOP sources and efforts. The data is meant to be used for marketing, and would be most valuable to anyone wanting to target individual Republican voters, whether that be to market to them, to deliver more specifically tailored fraudulent messages based on voters’ locations and key issues, or just for harassment purposes.
The files have now been pulled from public view, but they were available to any passing data-scrapers for 12 days.