Political identities, addresses and psych data of 200 million people exposed in latest data breach . Here's what that means.

in news •  2 years ago 

In April, it was widely reported that Shadow Brokers had captured a suite of NSA hacking tools. Less than a month later, supercharged by state-sponsored malicious software, ransomware went totally mainstream, and RaaS (ransomware as a service) became an accessible thing. Last week, it was quietly reported that a perhaps comparably serious data breach occurred. And now, the clock is ticking.

If you are a registered voter in the US, your data is almost certainly out in the wild now

This has been sort-of true for a long time. But until recently, all of the little tidbits of info that a person generated in the course of doing everyday life were scattered across a bunch of different little databases. Over the last few years, technological advancement has made it easier and easier to combine these databases, connect the dots, and produce very detailed pictures of individual persons and what makes us tick.

In fact, our personal data profiles have been commercially available at relatively low cost for at least the past year. For example, the company IDI "combines public records with purchasing, demographic, and behavioral data" to deliver these profiles to anyone willing to pay for them. At this point, whole industries are increasingly reliant upon the ease with which such finely-grained consumer data can be set to the task of turning a profit.

Unfortunately, consumer data is just the tip of the iceberg with this thing. Media empire oligarchs like billionaire Robert Mercer have been building the virtual infrastructure necessary to combine consumer profiles with political identities and military psy-ops in order to swing elections. What manner of database makes swinging an election into a feasible thing for a media empire? Precisely the manner of database that an RNC contractor recently plopped onto the public internet.

What was exposed? The profiles of 198 million individuals.

The exposed data included: "date of birth, home and mailing addresses, phone number, registered party, self-reported racial demographic, voter registration status ... as well as "personal details, backgrounds, and political behavior".

Already, such information is used by big companies and political actors in rudimentary ways - mostly, to personalize messages and run targeted propaganda campaigns. The details of your digital profile may determine whether or not you receive a robocall, see anti-immigrant 'news' in your Facebook feed, receive a given class of spam in your email inbox, and so forth. None of these things are that big of a deal. But what happens when the same data that makes them possible becomes accessible to every scammer, spammer, ideologue, political tyrant, religious zealot, jilted lover, bigot, mercenary, business rival, activist, and prankster?

What happens is a bunch of weird and unpredictable stuff.

Some of it will probably be funny. Some of it will probably be very costly. Some might be tragic. There is really no way to know for sure. I mean, this data could be used to target marginalized persons for violence or harassment, or used to hold corporate decision makers and corrupt public officials individually accountable for the impacts of their actions. It could be used by charitable organizations to find fitting recipients for philanthropy, or by criminal gangs to find new exploitable recruits. The point is, as this information gets bought and sold, passed around, added to, and generally made easier and easier for anyone with an internet connection to sort through and effectively query, it becomes more and more likely that some people will look for, find, and act on the recently exposed information.

So, if the leak of NSA hacking tools took less than a month to substantively contribute to a ransomware epidemic, how long will it take for the exposure of the personal details of more than 60% of the US population to translate into one or more big, disruptive events? Personally, I suspect the answer is between two and four months. Regardless, it seems we are now truly entering an era of radical transparency, for better or worse.

And then ... who knows?

Please be sure to comment below about what you think!!!

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Where is the magnet link to the data?!

The article link is: https://www.upguard.com/breaches/the-rnc-files

For better or worse, no link was provided to the database(s) in question.

So suddenly now we find out that our data its used by others... to get benefits..?
This this are here from the start of internet... but now its a concern...? a little to late I can say... Don't judge me bad... Im pro internet and all good things who can do... but you must be protected when you enter in this online world... Its like i know how to pass a street when its green light.. but even there you must look right and left becouse its not safe to pass with eyes closed...

Obviously it is unsurprising that our profile data is used by others for reasons that we may or may not like. What is new is the technical ability to look at and process everyone's data simultaneously, and then use the picture that emerges in combination with targeted (and increasingly individualized) propaganda to meet social engineering objectives. And what is brand new, and newsworthy, is that this weird new technical ability is now far more accessible (to pretty much anyone who wants to harness it in service to whatever agenda) than it was prior to the data breach.

How do you protect yourself from a person who has been tricked into regarding you as their enemy, or from lies that you may come to believe are true because previously trustworthy sources of information have been compromised without your knowledge?

Good point!

I would use the term leaked very lightly, could be a false flag to a degree, NSA are probably doing the hacking.


I agree. I used the 'leak' tag because UpGuard, the security firm that first uncovered and reported that this data was publicly exposed due to an improperly configured Amazon cloud server, used the term in the title of their story.

It would not surprise me to learn NSA was somehow involved in this, but they have long had access to everything set loose in the event, and it is not clear how such an event would further that organization's agenda.

Superb post! Long ago I determined that being subject to surveillance made using certain services not only unprofitable, but demonstrably harmful, and Valued Customer was born.

In the 1990s.

This is why I am not a registered voter, don't have a bank account, and the only social media I use is Steemit.

Reality is a harsh mistress.

Thanks, @valued-customer! I lived totally off-grid for a long time, and would likely do so again if my life circumstances were to again make this a reasonable proposition. In the mean time, the least I can do is help identify and/or mitigate the weird risks/threats that the matrix exposes us to.

Great article! I personally think that crypto assets will win because of this cause: personal data being handled with low importance as companies tell as that it is in our benefit - to be a more transparent society so they know better what to offer us.
Thanks for sharing!

Thanks @clahan! I also see this as ultimately beneficial for the crypto space.

Excellent post brother, thank you for the information, I would like you to give me your support as I am new to Steemit and my only goal here is to make known to the whole world the situation that is living in my country, Watch my blog as much as you can, God bless you.

Right on. I followed you and upvoted a few posts.

If you make a post showing pictures of the way the turmoil in your country actually looks in your local area ( How do the grocery store shelves look? How do the places where the protests happen look like after the protests are over? What do the business districts look like? ) and describe the best ways for us here on Steemit to help, I am sure you will find plenty of support here.

Is is easy for you to use cryptocurrency like BTC and STEEM in Venezuela right now? I have heard reports of government crackdowns on bitcoin miners.

Thanks for responding, my friend, I'm just trying to describe the situation in the country as best I can. The shelves of markets here are empty, the basic food basket is not available, there are no medical supplies, the situation is really critical, the streets after the obviate protests remain with traces of repression, and the pitched battle Living there, Perdigones, bullets, stones, barricades, tear gas bombs, etc. Really thank you for your support if you need to know anything else to ask.

I understand. If you or someone you know can take pictures of these things and post these pictures here on steemit, that would convince me to trust you. If I trust you, I may be able to offer more support.

Are you able to spend STEEM or Bitcoin like money?

If you want to trust what I'm talking about, look for me in instagram, there I am posting everything that is happening here, with photos and videos @Crisjecamo

Excellent. Can you post a link to your Steemit page on your instagram account?

Perfect, I do not have any problems

If friend, the BTC or STEEM we can change them on a page, which I do not remember, and there we are paid in Bolivares to our bank account.

Good on the BTC and STEEM I'm still not aware how to handle that, if I read that you can make the change for a website and from there they pay you to your bank account here in Venezuela. If it is a bit complicated, but that this is forbidden is lie.