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cyber insecurity

An RNC contractor exposed the voting records of 198 million Americans

The 2016 election saw America's voter rolls swell to more than 200 million registered voters for the first time ever, and about 198 million of those people had their voter data exposed by a Republican National Committee contractor called Deep Root Analytics.

The breach was discovered by Chris Vickery, a digital security researcher, who reported the exposure to DRA so the data could be secured. The 25 terabytes of information were stored on an Amazon cloud account that could be accessed (and in some cases downloaded) without a login. The data set included voters' "names, dates of birth, home addresses, phone numbers, and voter registration details, as well as data described as [algorithm-predicted] voter ethnicities and religions."

"We take full responsibility for this situation," DRA said in a statement.

This is not the first time Vickery has found a massive potential leak of voter data. In 2015, he discovered 191 million exposed voter records held by another contractor, Nation Builder, which also works with GOP candidates.