Compliance Management, Network Security, Privacy

Election commission halts data collection

Resolution of a pending lawsuit prompted the controversial Presidential Advisory Commission on Election Integrity Monday to put a halt to the collection of a trove of voter data from states, most of which had already refused to comply with the commission's request.

The Electronic Privacy Information Center (EPIC), had filed for a temporary restraining order (TRO) in a federal court in the District of Columbia, seeking to bar the commission from gathering a broad swath of data – including the full first and last names of all registrants, middle names or initials if available, addresses, dates of birth, political party and information regarding felonies – from states. That action drew a response from the Justice Department, which said since only public information had been requested, “EPIC could never show that a constitutional right to informational privacy – even if it were to exist – has been violated.”

But the commission took to the court Monday, saying it will wait until a judge addresses the EPIC request and noting that it “sent the states a follow-up communication requesting [they] not submit any data until this Court rules on plaintiff's TRO motion. Until the judge rules on the TRO, we request that you hold on submitting any data.”

To date, only Arkansas had complied with the broad-ranging data request and in court documents the commission said it had deleted the information provided by that state.

The filing also said the commission would find "an alternative means for transmitting the requested data" to the Department of Defense Safe File Exchange site so as “not to impact the ability of other customers.”

“Director of White House Information Technology is repurposing an existing system that regularly accepts personally identifiable information through a secure, encrypted computer application within the White House Information Technology enterprise,” the court documents said.

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