The personal details of more than 198 million United States citizens were accidentally exposed last week by a firm contracted by the Republican National Committee to gather data on voters, BBC reported on Monday. The information – home addresses, birth dates and phone numbers, as well as people’s views on subjects such as gun control, abortion and religious tolerance – was publicly accessible on an Amazon server to anyone with the link and included details.
The 1.1 TB data leak exposed sensitive information of nearly 62% of the entire US population. Deep Root Analytics – the data firm hired by the Republican campaign – had confirmed the leak to Gizmodo on Friday after a cyber risk analyst at UpGuard security firm, Chris Vickery, had discovered the data stock last week. The files were available on the Amazon cloud server without any form of password protection.
“We take full responsibility for this situation,” Founder of Deep Root Analytics Alex Lundry told Gizmodo. “Based on the information we have gathered thus far, we do not believe that our systems have been hacked...We have updated the access settings and put protocols in place to prevent further access.”
The information appears to have been collected from multiple sources, including social media threads and committees formed to raise funds for the Republican Party. The RNC had paid Deep Root $983,000 last year (around Rs 6.34 crore), according to Federal Election Commission data.