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Privacy Government Politics

Georgia Gives Personal Data of 6 Million Voters To Georgia GunOwner Magazine (ajc.com) 110

McGruber writes: A class action lawsuit alleges that Georgia Secretary of State Brian Kemp's office released the personal identifying information of Georgia voters to twelve organizations, "including statewide political parties, news media organizations and Georgia GunOwner Magazine".

According to Kemp, his office shares "voter registration data every month with news media and political parties that have requested it as required by Georgia law. Due to a clerical error where information was put in the wrong file, 12 recipients received a disc that contained personal identifying information that should not have been included."

The Atlanta Journal-Constitution independently confirmed the inclusion of the personal data in the October file. The AJC did so by accessing the October data disc, looking up information for an AJC staffer and confirming his Social Security number and driver's license information was included. The AJC has returned its copy of the disc to the state.

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Georgia Gives Personal Data of 6 Million Voters To Georgia GunOwner Magazine

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  • by msauve ( 701917 ) on Thursday November 19, 2015 @08:36AM (#50961239)
    There were 12 organizations which received the info, which included some mistakenly provided personal info.

    Singling out one organization in the headline seems to make this story a politically driven one.
    • by Nidi62 ( 1525137 ) on Thursday November 19, 2015 @08:45AM (#50961283)
      As a Georgian who owns guns, I have never even heard of this magazine nor seen it in any of the several gun stores/ranges I have gone to over the years. And looking at their website, it looks like something a high school student would throw together for a web publishing class. I agree, it does seem odd that it would specifically mention the magazine in the title, but the article itself only names the magazine, with the other groups being vaguely defined as "statewide political parties" and "news media organizations".
      • its not odd (Score:2, Insightful)

        by Anonymous Coward

        When you want clicks and ad revenue, you relate what you are talking about with something very controversial and that has passions running very high on either end of the debat - blind rage, actually.

        Guns have become one of those issues. Add in guns owners paranoia that their guns are honing to be confiscated by the government, we have here an attempt to garner quite a bit of outrage from the anti-government gun owner crowd.

        It's a cheap trick but the public gets suckered every time.

        • Re: its not odd (Score:4, Insightful)

          by jd2112 ( 1535857 ) on Thursday November 19, 2015 @09:30AM (#50961473)
          Nothing new. TV has been doing this for decades. 'This substance WILL kill you. And it's in YOUR home right now. Information you need to save your life and the lives of your family... After this commercial break.'
          • For those of you who are wondering about the substance, it's dihydrogen monoxide.
            • For those of you who are wondering about the substance, it's dihydrogen monoxide.

              That shit is dangerous! Every serial killer used it just before killing their victims! Every drowning victim had it in their lungs!

          • Unrelated to the article but tangentially related here. I just heard on the radio this morning an ad for a report from my local news station about the dangers of hoverboards. Apparently a) we do have them? b) it's news that they're any more dangerous than real skateboards.

            • If your local radio is like my local news, then they are actually referring to those hands-free Segway-like boards. Having tried one, I can say that they aren't really any more dangerous than regular skateboards.
              • Yeah, I just realized this. I didn't know they were called "hoverboards." Now I feel like I should sue for false advertising...

        • by KGIII ( 973947 ) <uninvolved@outlook.com> on Thursday November 19, 2015 @11:01AM (#50962151) Journal

          This one CHEAP TRICK that will sucker the public into reading this headline and clicking through!

        • The NYPost even brags about their ability to do just that.

            "A good headline kicks you in the eyeballs." NYPost ad

    • Re: (Score:1, Informative)

      by dywolf ( 2673597 )

      which of the 12 should have been listed to make it apolitical?
      the story is already politically driven due to the involvement of the incompetent and openly partisan (and racist) office of Brian Kemp.

      this is an office that fails at security, and actively discourages minority voters. they had already previously been hacked multiple times, the most recent of which after the office claimed to have fixed its security faults by implementing encryption and security staff, a claim proven to be false. this is the off

      • by dwillden ( 521345 ) on Thursday November 19, 2015 @09:19AM (#50961417) Homepage
        How about not name any. They chose to list gunowner magazine to draw the ire of those opposed to anything related to gun rights. Heck they even noted that the reporting news agency received a copy of the data, why not list themselves? Or better yet just state the information was incorrectly released to multiple news agencies.
      • by msauve ( 701917 ) on Thursday November 19, 2015 @09:30AM (#50961475)
        "which of the 12 should have been listed to make it apolitical?"

        None of them. All had a right to the data (minus what was erroneously included by the state). Why not a simple "Private data mistakenly handed out by the State of Georgia" headline, focusing blame where it falls? Or mention "12 organizations." If one organization must be chosen, then the Atlanta Journal-Constitution would be a logical choice - the article implies that it was they who noticed the breach.
      • by Anonymous Coward

        so now mentioning the incompetence and known bias of brian kemp's office is flamebait.

    • by Anonymous Coward

      Anyone, including the fine, fine journalists at /. who wrote that headline, who would get exorcised over the fact that the information was released to a gun mag, but not get equally exorcised over the fact that it was released to the Atlanta Journal-Constitution, or vice versa, is a partisan hack. To paraphrase Ron White, "It's not THAT information about GA voters was released to GA-based organizations. It's WHAT information about GA voters was released to GA-based organizations."

    • by bluelip ( 123578 )

      I have no points, but cheers to you msauve for pointing out the the bias here on Slashdot and the media. One would be forgiven for thinking Zuckerberg is on /.'s parent's board.

    • It the the example of the set that most demonstrates that the set both should not have received the data *and* that the set would not have been requesting the data.

      If one of the political parties were used as an example, people might have the impression that the groups were asking for data that they should not have received and their request was erroneously approved.

      If "News Publishing Co." was used an example, people might have the impression that news organization were allowed to have this information.

      Geo

    • Well, the magazine is singled out because unlike everyone else on the list (major newspapers, political parties and RedState) it's a minor organization. If the NSA had a major leak where they sent secret data to CIA analysts, the White House and the Russian Embassy, I would expect most news stories to focus on the Russian connection.

      But one group should be singled out. The Libertarian Party. The other groups have promised to keep the data safe and return it. The Libertarian Party is fucking around with

    • by ncc74656 ( 45571 ) *

      <sarcasm>

      Politically-driven story? On Slashdot? That never happens.

      </sarcasm>

  • Clearly a massive breach of personal data. All to get a few dollars by selling it.

    Luckily restricted to 12 organisations, but who can guarantee that they will not abuse it or a member of staff hasn't leaked it?

    The state should be providing free identity theft insurance to every citizen as a result.

    Also, why the hell is a gun magazine buying these details (even the more restricted version), and why are they even allowed to?

    • by msauve ( 701917 )
      "The state should be providing free identity theft insurance to every citizen as a result."

      ...said by someone who doesn't understand that taking taxpayer money and then handing it back to them doesn't make something "free."

      The citizens wouldn't gain anything by doing so, but companies which provide ID theft insurance sure would. Do you work for one?
      • by Anonymous Coward

        ...said by someone who doesn't understand that taking taxpayer money and then handing it back to them doesn't make something "free."

        Equivocation fallacy. "Free" in this case means "free at the point of service". The cost is obviously spread over all economic actors. It's like you deliberately twisted OP's words so you wouldn't sound so crazy back on your soapbox.

        The citizens wouldn't gain anything by doing so, but companies which provide ID theft insurance sure would. Do you work for one?

        If only the government could somehow provide insurance rather than going through a third partty, i.e. by promising to pay out for actual costs incurred, if any... although in corporate America, the involvement of a useless, leeching middleman in everything is sometimes prerequi

  • by argStyopa ( 232550 ) on Thursday November 19, 2015 @08:48AM (#50961293) Journal

    OK, so, is Slashdot a tech-news page or just trying to be Gawker?

    The story here is that personally-identifying information was sent to 12 organizations. One of those organizations was a gun magazine (because they were one of the 12 that requested the info).

    Editor 101 quiz, which of these headlines is more informative, and which is just polemic clickbait:
    "Georgia Gives Personal Data of 6 Million Voters To Georgia GunOwner Magazine"
    or
    "Georgia Gives Personal Data of 6 Million Voters To 12 Organizations"
    ?

    If we're going to go the polemic route, why not just go all the way? The Governor of GA is a Republican, you could instead re-title this:
    "Republican Governor's office hands citizen data to Gun Magazine"?

    • Is someone other than samzenpus allowed to post headlines? The entire front page are all his posts.

      Need a little more basic diversity here, meaning more than one person.

  • by MikeRT ( 947531 ) on Thursday November 19, 2015 @08:50AM (#50961305)

    Those dastardly (probably all white!!!!11!) editors and writers might use the information to... send poor black voters information about how they can exercise their right to keep and bear arms and information on why they might want to do it.

  • The rather more interesting part of the story might be exactly who would have been authorized to receive a disk full of citizens' personal information.

    The disks very existence seems suspect, let alone that it is routinely distributed.

    • In pretty much every state, the voter roll is a matter of public record. Lots of good reasons for it to be, otherwise there's no way for the public to check whether a few thousand extra folks have been added to subtracted here and there.

      • ...a massive data breach by Secretary of State Brian Kemp involving the Social Security numbers and other private information of more than six million voters statewide.

        If the State is in the business of releasing names with SS#s and home addresses, there's not much point in getting alarmed when the next Home Depot/Target/CVS/IRS data breach occurs...

        It would be reassuring to know that identity theft is not a foregone conclusion.

        • Yes, definitely, including the other information (SS#, DL#, etc.) was a massive screwup, but that wasn't supposed to happen. From the article, sounds like someone, in effect, forgot to delete some columns from Excel.

          • Yes, definitely, including the other information (SS#, DL#, etc.) was a massive screwup, but that wasn't supposed to happen. From the article, sounds like someone, in effect, forgot to delete some columns from Excel.

            Sorry to drag this article slightly on topic for Slashdot, but this might be the main technical problem with this situation. How do you accidentally include information that shouldn't be there in a report? Why isn't generating the data disk completely automated so that there's no way for a person to screw up and include personal information?

            • Because the government doesn't want to or have the money to spend on such a system. Or they just don't want one.

    • by msauve ( 701917 )
      "The rather more interesting part of the story might be exactly who would have been authorized to receive a disk full of citizens' personal information."

      Anyone. Elector rolls are public record. Specific to this case, GA law 21-2-225, which states: "... the list of electors maintained by the Secretary of State pursuant to this article shall be available for public inspection ..."
  • According to Kemp, his office shares "voter registration data every month with news media and political parties that have requested it as required by Georgia law.

    Wait, what?

    It is required by law that the state sell voter information to corporations? What the hell for?

    This sounds like an incredibly stupid law which has either been recklessly put in to raise money, or stupidly put in to advance corporate interests.

    Having government be required to sell this to corporations smacks of the results of terrible po

    • The voter roll is a matter of public record in pretty much every state, and for very good reason - if it's not public, there's no way for the public to cross check to make sure that someone in government hasn't been adding people who don't exist. Like a lot of public data, it's available to anyone who wants it, so long as they cover the cost of providing the data. Sounds like these 12 organizations have, in effect, a subscription.

    • by DamonHD ( 794830 )

      Indeed.

      Our own Inland Revenue "lost in the post" a CD with 12 million or so UK residents' details including payment info some time ago, and it is accepted that the info should never even have been collated for this purpose.

      I have removed my details from the public version of the voter rolls here to reduce marketing crap, etc.

      Routinely selling voter details to random orgs seems generally a bad idea if voters cannot opt out.

      Rgds

      Damon

    • It is required by law that the state sell voter information to corporations? What the hell for?

      Well, I can see why a third-party should and would get that data. Or someone who wants to run in a primary without the backing of the party. And the line between what parties should and should not get that data probably shouldn't rely on a political appointee deciding if your part is "real".

      Now, if there's a better way to handle it, I'm all for that. But fact of the matter is that it seems like most other votin

  • ...but not about giving your personal information to political parties?

    Then you're, well, a little naive. Maybe not a little.

    Which is more likely to abuse the information - a small magazine devoted to individual rights, or the two major political parties?

    Which of them have the resources to actually abuse that information on a grand scale, including lots of manpower and skilled database programmers on staff?

    Of course, the Dems and the GOP probably have most of that data already, but let's not help them fill

    • Which is more likely to abuse the information - a small magazine devoted to individual rights, or the two major political parties?

      The tiny gun magazine, of course. The political parties and newspapers actually have reputations to lose.

      Besides, have you ever heard how gun nuts talk?

      • by cirby ( 2599 )

        Which is more likely to abuse the information - a small magazine devoted to individual rights, or the two major political parties?

        The tiny gun magazine, of course. The political parties and newspapers actually have reputations to lose.

        When did that start? Not in the last couple of decades, anyway.

        Besides, have you ever heard how gun nuts talk?

        Yeah, all that "we have actual civil rights, and the Constitution codifies them" jazz.

        What lunatics.

    • Which is more likely to abuse the information - a small magazine devoted to individual rights, or the two major political parties?

      The Libertarian Party, which refused to return or destroy the disk. Or maybe one of the other random third parties.

  • by mbone ( 558574 ) on Thursday November 19, 2015 @09:22AM (#50961433)

    Fixed your headline for you.

    I am certainly not a gun-nut, but it seems that the magazine in the headline has no more blame in this matter than the Atlanta Journal Constitution.

    • Or, "Readily Available SSN Remains The Magic Password For Identity Thieves".

      It shouldn't be a big deal if social security numbers are released - the fault lies with a system that makes them so powerful.

  • by 0xdeadbeef ( 28836 ) on Thursday November 19, 2015 @09:44AM (#50961563) Homepage Journal

    Here is the list of organizations who got the info:

    Georgia Democratic Party
    Georgia Republican Party
    Georgia Libertarian Party
    Independence Party of Georgia
    Southern Party of Georgia
    Atlanta Journal-Constitution
    Macon Telegraph
    Savannah Morning News
    Georgia GunOwner Magazine
    Georgia Pundit
    News Publishing Co.
    RedState

    Who is the biggest risk? Who has the least to lose and the most ideological fervor? Who is most likely simply to get hacked?

    Actually, it isn't the gun nut magazine, it's the Southern Party of Georgia.

    That would make an even better headline: Georgia Gives Personal Data of 6 Million Voters To Racist Lost Cause Political Party You've Never Heard Of

    • by mbone ( 558574 )

      What about the "Independence Party of Georgia"? As far as I can tell, this list is the only evidence of their existence (unless the State of Georgia is sending personal information to a political party in the Republic of Georgia, which would be an interesting development).

    • Who is the biggest risk? Who has the least to lose and the most ideological fervor? Who is most likely simply to get hacked?

      Well, the Libertarian Party says that they are not going to return/destroy the data, so...

      Okay, that they're considering returning or destroying it, maybe.

  • > "including statewide political parties, news media organizations and Georgia GunOwner Magazine".

    To be honest, Georgia GunOwner Magazine thought it was just their subscriber list.

  • Let me see if I get this straight: 60% of the people who live in Georgia had their identity information given to 12 organizations that have forwarded it to who-else-knows? I live in Georgia. If this is true, I'm incredibly pissed. I don't care that this article singled out a single magazine, as so many other have posted. That doesn't matter. What does matter is that 60% of the people living in an ENTIRE STATE have just had their identities compromised. If I'm misunderstanding, someone please point out my fl
  • According to the US Census bureau [census.gov], (table 4a) there are only 4.3 million registered voters of the 7.3 million voting age population.

    Where did the other 1.7 million voters come from? Or am I reading the census data wrong?

    • Where did the other 1.7 million voters come from?

      My guess would be 1.7 million former voters who died/moved/something were included in the list.

  • by Gim Tom ( 716904 ) on Thursday November 19, 2015 @10:56AM (#50962115)
    The level of incompetence in the State of Georgia government has been increasing at an exponential rate for well over a decade now. As a life long Georgia Resident and former employee of this State it is not news to anyone living here. The guiding principle of governance by the last two administrations (and to some extent the one before) has been to outsource anything and everything to the bidder that make the largest campaign contribution. Low bid, high bid, competence -- none of those matter.

    The higher paying State Jobs that are supposed to be overseeing this outsource mania have been filled by politically correct incompetents that have no idea of what they are supposed to be doing --and it is getting worse. I was fortunate to escape when I did.

    To clarify one point in the article and the comments. The voter data that is mandated to be public record by law is limited to the voter's name and possibly address. The screw up in this is that they included such things as the full social security number, driver's license number, and other sensitive personal information. The Secretary of State (Bryan Kemp) maintained that since there was no security breach, this didn't have to be reported as such under law. I guess that gives is a good clue as to his mental state.
  • by PPH ( 736903 )

    The discs were just used as pistol targets.

    I mean, what do you expect us to do now that our hoard of AOL discs is running low?

  • by clovis ( 4684 ) on Thursday November 19, 2015 @01:09PM (#50963275)

    Most of the CD's have been returned. For some reason the Libertarian party is being a jerk about it and is dawdling.
    What I can't find out is which of the others still have their copy, or worse yet, are making copies.

  • Voter registration info should be secret, not distributed at a whim. I'm sick of getting spam, junk mail, and robocalls from people who have gotten my info off the registration rolls.
  • News gets worse.

    Here's is someone who got the disk, copied it, and is not mentioned in the list of twelve.
    But the state knew about them. How many were actually sent out?

    http://www.peachpundit.com/201... [peachpundit.com]

    It is possible that the list of twelve released has typos in it and that only twelve disks went out.
    I doubt that "Georgia GunOwners magazine"asked for or got the list, but rather the PAC "Georgia Gunowners" which has a web site "georgiagunowners.org"
    Likewise, the disk sent to actually sent to Peach Pundit was

    • by clovis ( 4684 )

      Followup news articles later showed that the one listed is "Georgia Pundit" is actually "Peach Pundit", so it's just 12 after all.

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