Breach, Compliance Management, Data Security, Privacy

Records of 191 million voters discovered in a public database

Security researcher Chris Vickery discovered a public database containing the voter records and personal information of 191 million registered voters.

The database information, as reported on the blog, included the full name, date of birth, address, phone number, party affiliation, and voting history. The blog post noted that “Based on preliminary investigation by Vickery and of some data field labels that looked like they might be unique or proprietary, reached out to Nation Builder, the online service of 3dna, Corp., to inquire if the database was one of their  databases or if it might be one of their clients' databases."

On Monday, NationBuilder CEO Jim Gilliam responded in a statement, “While the database is not ours, it is possible that some of the information it contains may have come from data we make available for free to campaigns.”

Nation Builder is a software as a service company that, according to its website, provides “voter database, fundraising, communications, and free voter file” to political campaigns worldwide.

State laws governing political campaigns are more lenient with personal data than laws that focus on the private sector, and this has led to lenient practices and poor security involving voter information.

“We strongly believe in making voter information more accessible to political campaigns and advocacy groups, so we provide cleaned versions of that publicly accessible information to them for free,” wrote NationBuilder's Jim Gilliam.

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