voter privacy

Tag Archive

National: Trump Election Commission: A White House Team Will Handle Voter Data | BuzzFeed

Since President Trump’s Election Integrity Commission was last in court, the commission has announced plans to dramatically alter how it plans to collect state voter information in an attempt to avoid a potential legal ruling that could require it to conduct a privacy assessment before collecting the data. The plan, more or less, is to have a few people on the White House staff conduct all of the work of the commission in order to help maintain a legal argument that the “sole function” of the commission is to advise the president. The commission is chaired by Vice President Mike Pence. On Monday, Charles Christopher Herndon, the director of White House Information Technology, laid out how limited that would be in a declaration submitted in the case brought by the Electronic Privacy Information Center. “The Executive Committee for Information Technology will have no role in this data collection process. The U.S. Digital Service (which is within the Office of Management and Budget) will also have no role, nor will any federal agency,” Herndon wrote. “The only people who will assist are a limited number of my technical staff from the White House Office of Administration.” Read More

National: White House releases sensitive personal information of voters worried about their sensitive personal information | The Washington Post

The White House on Thursday made public a trove of emails it received from voters offering comment on its Election Integrity Commission. The commission drew widespread criticism when it emerged into public view by asking for personal information, including addresses, partial social security numbers and party affiliation, on every voter in the country. It further outraged voters by planning to post that information publicly. Voters directed that outrage toward the Trump White House and the voter commission, often using profanity-laced language in the 112 pages of emails released this week. “You will open up the entire voting population to a massive amount of fraud if this data is in any way released,” one voter wrote. “Many people will get their identity stolen, which will harm the economy,” wrote another. Read More

Florida: Voters unregistering from fear of Trump voter-data panel? | Palm Beach Post

Local elections officials are trying to talk voters out of unregistering, as privacy concerns continue to mount in response to a special commission created by President Donald Trump. Fears about data breaches and identity theft — or flat-out aversion to what many perceive as a Big Brother-ish information gathering activity — continued even as a representative of the commission on Monday told state officials not to provide the voter data previously requested. Florida Secretary of State Ken Detzner was among the state officials who received the missive from Andrew Kossack, the designated federal officer for the Presidential Advisory Commission on Election Integrity. Read More

Connecticut: Trump Panel Push For Voting Data Could Lead To More Connecticut Voter Privacy Protections | Hartford Courant

The push by President Donald Trump’s anti-voter-fraud commission to get huge amounts of voter data from across the nation could have unintended consequences in Connecticut: more state protections for registered voters’ personal information. Connecticut lawmakers and election officials say they will renew efforts to restrict public release of at least some of the personal information on voters that is now on file with the state. Many Connecticut voters are unaware that their dates of birth, home addresses, party affiliation, recent history of going to the polls and sometimes even telephone numbers are public information and easily available on the Internet. “It’s basically a ready-made, identification-theft kit,” said Dan Barrett, legal director of the Connecticut branch of the American Civil Liberties Union. Many states do have broad restrictions on how voter data can be released or used, but Connecticut only protects the addresses of law enforcement personnel and some types of crime victims. Read More

National: Trump’s Election Commission Plans to Abandon Insecure Voter Data Collection Methods | Gizmodo

Since the president’s Advisory Commission on Election Integrity requested voter rolls from state election officials—allegedly for the purpose of investigating Trump’s unproven claims about widespread voter fraud—45 states and the District of Columbia have either partially or wholly declined to share their data, and security experts have raised concerns about whether the commission has the technical capabilities to keep the data secure. A federal judge raised questions last week about the security of voter data transferred to the commission. Sources tell Gizmodo that the White House is backing down from its initial requests for state election officials to send the data through a file transfer website created by the Army and not intended for civilian use. The commission plans to propose another option for states to submit data, the sources said. …  Kris Kobach, the vice chairman of the commission, initially provided two ways for officials to send in their voter data: The first is an email address that, as Gizmodo reported, does not support basic encryption protocols. Voter data sent to the address would be transmitted over an unencrypted connection, leaving it vulnerable to interception or manipulation. Read More

Delaware: Election officials to restrict access to voter records | Delaware First Media

By the end of the week, most Delawareans will no longer be able to ask for a copy of the state’s voter registration database. That news comes in the wake of an effort by the Trump Administration to root out what they view as widespread voter fraud across the country. “I don’t feel like we should give that information,” said state Election Commissioner Elaine Manlove, referring to a panel led by Vice President Mike Pence (R). Last week, her office said it wouldn’t comply with a request from the group, which would’ve involved handing over voters’ dates of birth, the last four digits of their social security numbers and more. Read More

National: What the federal government can get from voter files | CNN

President Donald Trump’s election integrity commission won’t have access to all of the information it would like because of state laws that map out what is and what is not publicly available — triggering a national conversation on the privacy of voters’ information. At the heart of the issue is a letter sent last week by Kansas Secretary of State Kris Kobach in his capacity as vice chairman of the Presidential Advisory Commission on Election Integrity to all 50 states and the District of Columbia. In that letter, Kobach asked for all “publicly available” data, but the long list of pieces of information sought, including the last the four digits of Social Security numbers, included several elements that very few states, if any, say they can legally comply with. Read More

Editorials: Kentucky voters could become victims of cyber crime | Lisa Berry-Tayman and Eric Hodge/Courier-Journal

The Presidential Advisory Commission on Election Integrity has asked that the Commonwealth turn over its voter records to the federal government. The legality of such a request is questionable, however, and the Commission’s actions could put Kentucky’s voters at significant risk of identity theft and election fraud. It’s a dangerous cyber world where hacking tools and consumer information are sold openly on the Internet. In 2016, data breaches exposed more than 4.2 billion pieces of information about individuals. The Russian hacking of the presidential election was followed by global ransomware attacks that hijacked thousands of networked systems and foreshadowed new, more destructive attacks. Most recently, a consultancy engaged by the Republican National Committee accidentally exposed the personal voter information of nearly 200 million Americans. Read More

Nebraska: Senators urge Gale to decline Trump’s voter information request | Lincoln Journal Star

Six state senators on Wednesday urged Secretary of State John Gale to decline to turn over personal data about registered Nebraska voters to the Trump administration. Nebraska needs to “protect the integrity of our elections and the security of our lawfully registered citizens,” they wrote Gale. “Public access to identifying information and partial Social Security numbers can lead to identity theft,” they said. “Protecting the personal and financial security of Nebraskans is important.” Read More

National: Trump voter-fraud panel’s data request a gold mine for hackers, experts warn | Politico

Cybersecurity specialists are warning that President Donald Trump’s voter-fraud commission may unintentionally expose voter data to even more hacking and digital manipulation. Their concerns stem from a letter the commission sent to every state this week, asking for full voter rolls and vowing to make the information “available to the public.” The requested information includes full names, addresses, birth dates, political party and, most notably, the last four digits of Social Security numbers. The commission is also seeking data such as voter history, felony convictions and military service records. Digital security experts say the commission’s request would centralize and lay bare a valuable cache of information that cyber criminals could use for identity theft scams — or that foreign spies could leverage for disinformation schemes. “It is beyond stupid,” said Nicholas Weaver, a computer science professor at the University of California at Berkeley. Read More