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Tag Archives: political

Millions of Texas voter records exposed online

A massive trove of voter records containing personal information on millions of Texas residents has been found online. The data — a single file containing an estimated 14.8 million records — was left on an unsecured server without a password. Texas has 19.3 million registered voters. It’s the latest exposure of voter data in a long string of security incidents that have cast doubt on political parties’ abilities to keep voter data safe at a time where nation states are actively trying to influence elections. TechCrunch obtained a copy of the file, which was first found by a New Zealand-based data breach hunter who goes by the pseudonym Flash Gordon . It’s not clear who owned the server where the exposed file was found, but an analysis of the data reveals that it was likely originally compiled by Data Trust, a Republican-focused data analytics firm created by the GOP to provide campaigns with voter data. Chris Vickery, director of cyber risk research at security firm UpGuard , analyzed a portion of the data. (It was Vickery who found a larger trove of 198 million voter records last year exposed by a similar data firm Deep Root Analytics, which sourced much of its data from Data Trust.) A spokesperson for Data Trust declined to comment on the record. The file — close to 16 gigabytes in size — contained dozens of fields, including personal information like a voter’s name, address, gender and several years’ worth of voting history, including primaries and presidential elections. Granted, much of that data is public. According to The Texas Tribune , that kind of voter data in Texas is already obtainable for a fee, but information relating to individuals’ political affiliations and party memberships is not. Sam Taylor, communications director for the Texas secretary of state, told TechCrunch in an email that certain data points — like Social Security numbers — are also excluded, and the voter data cannot be used for commercial purposes, like advertising. But data-driven political firms like Data Trust use the data for political purposes, specializing in supplementing those voter profiles with information that might help a campaign to flip a person who might not vote for a Republican candidate at the ballot box. That’s where this file fills in the gaps with dozens of other fields, which can be used by campaigns to position their political messaging

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Attempted DNC voter database hack was a false alarm, security chief says

An apparent hacking attempt on the Democratic National Committee’s voter database was a false alarm, the organization has said. CNN and the Associated Press  reported on Wednesday, citing an unnamed party official, that the political organization was warned of an attempt on its systems. DNC officials contacted the FBI after Lookout, a security firm, detected and reported a phishing page that replicated a login page for NGP VAN , a technology provider for Democratic campaigns. But the party’s security chief quickly reversed its position Thursday, confirming that the phishing page was “simulated.” “The test, which mimicked several attributes of actual attacks on the Democratic party’s voter file, was not authorized by the DNC… or any of our vendors,” said Bob Lord, DNC’s chief security officer, in a statement. Just a day earlier, he briefed Democratic officials on the apparent incident in Chicago on Wednesday. It’s believed that the Michigan Democratic Party asked a third party to conduct the test without clearance or authorization from the DNC, according to one reporter . In the case of phishing attacks, hackers attempt to obtain the username and password for sensitive internal systems by tricking staff into entering their credentials on spoofed sites. Hackers can then reuse those credentials to log in themselves. Mike Murray, Lookout’s vice president of security intelligence who originally informed the DNC of the phishing page, said in a tweet that, “you don’t know that they’re false until you’ve showed up to investigate.” It’s not uncommon for political parties to store vast amounts of information on voters. Political parties and national committees often use the data to target voters with political messaging. In recent years, several voter databases have leaked or  were exposed on unprotected servers for anyone to find. Earlier this week, Microsoft said it thwarted an attempt by a Russian-backed advanced persistent threat group known as Fancy Bear (or APT28) to steal data from political organizations.

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Facebook is the recruiting tool of choice for far-right group the Proud Boys

Twitter may have suspended the Proud Boys and their controversial leader Gavin McInnes, but it was never their platform of choice. The Proud Boys, a self described “Western chauvinist” organization that often flirts with more hard-line groups of the far right, runs an elaborate network of recruiting pages on Facebook to attract and initiate members. While McInnes maintained a presence on many platforms, Facebook is the heart of the group’s operations. It’s there that the Proud Boys boast more than 35 regional and city-specific groups that act as landing pages for vetting thousands of new members and feeding them into local chapters. When it comes to skirting the outer boundaries of social acceptability, McInnes could teach a master class. The Vice founder and Canadian citizen launched his newest project in 2016, capturing a groundswell of public political activity on the far right and launching the Proud Boys, a men’s club allied around the mantra “West is best,” its dedication to Trump and a prohibition against flip-flops  and porn . Facebook recruiting The group makes national headlines for its involvement in violent dust-ups between the far right and far left and has a robust recruitment network centered on initiating members through Facebook groups. As for where it fits into the far right’s many sub-factions, McInnes objects to the term alt-light, sometimes used to describe far right group that oppose some mainstream conservative ideals but don’t openly endorse white nationalism. “Alt Light is a gay term that sounds like a diet soda in bed w Alt Right,” he said on Twitter last year . “We’re “The New Right.” To that end, most regional affiliate pages run a message outlining some ground rules, including a declaration that its members not be racist or homophobic — a useful disclaimer for making the group more palatable than many of its less clever peers. The Proud Boys’ agenda is less explicitly race-based than many groups it has affiliations with, espousing instead a broad sort of antagonism to perceived enemies on the political left and a credo of “western chauvinism.” The language is cleaned up, but it’s one degree removed from less palatable figures, including Unite the Right leader Jason Kessler. McInnes hosted Kessler on his own talk show just days after Kessler led the Charlottesville rally that left counter-protester Heather Heyer dead . In the segment, McInnes tried to create space between Kessler and the Proud Boys, though it wasn’t Kessler’s first time on the show or his only affiliation with the Proud Boys

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At Disrupt, Hans Tung and Yi Wang will talk about the startup road winding from China to the US

Few investors have as deep a knowledge of the U.S. and Chinese markets as Hans Tung. For over a decade the prodigious investor (now with GGV Capital) has been racking up the miles on flights between San Francisco, Shanghai, Los Angeles, Beijing and New York in search of startups that can span the Pacific divide as readily as he does. Over time, that’s led to a portfolio that includes Sino-American sweetheart deals in companies like the multi-billion-dollar retailer, Wish; the recently acquired social media sensation musical.ly; and the Shanghai social and recommendation service Xiaohongshu; along with U.S.-centric investments like OfferUp and Poshmark. Onstage at Disrupt, Tung will be joined by Yi Wang, the founder of the artificial intelligence-powered education Chinese education dynamo, LingoChamp (Liulishuo), to discuss the technologies and techniques that continue to power a cross-border technology revolution even in tumultuous times. There could be no better pairing to lead us along the path that winds from the glass and steel campuses of Silicon Valley to the glass and steel office towers of Beijing’s technology parks. Join us to hear how artificial intelligence is drawing investment dollars on both sides of the Pacific, and how companies are bridging the political divide with compelling new technologies. It’s sure to be one helluva conversation. The full agenda is here . You can purchase tickets here .

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What the Tech: Moviepass changes again – KFDX

KFDX What the Tech: Moviepass changes again KFDX What the Tech: Disney Circle Go. Know what your kids are doing when they're home or away with Disney… 1 day ago. App of the Day : TikTok. The hottest app among pre-teens is changing its name. Musical.ly is… 4 days ago. What the Tech: Block robo-calls ... and more »

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What the Tech: Moviepass changes again – KFDX

KFDX What the Tech: Moviepass changes again KFDX What the Tech: Disney Circle Go. Know what your kids are doing when they're home or away with Disney… 1 day ago. App of the Day : TikTok. The hottest app among pre-teens is changing its name. Musical.ly is… 4 days ago. What the Tech: Block robo-calls ... and more »

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How spy cam porn, now amplified by social media, is starting to reach epidemic levels in South Korea, with 6000+ cases being reported to police each…

Laura Bicker / BBC : How spy cam porn, now amplified by social media, is starting to reach epidemic levels in South Korea, with 6000+ cases being reported to police each year   —  I can remember the first time I heard about South Korea's spy cameras.  —  Just after arriving in Seoul, I was running to the public loo along …

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Facebook has banned four pages run by Alex Jones for "repeated violations of Community Standards"; Spotify removes all episodes of The Alex…

Alex Hern / The Guardian : Facebook has banned four pages run by Alex Jones for “repeated violations of Community Standards”; Spotify removes all episodes of The Alex Jones Show podcast   —  Crackdown on US conspiracy theorist for promoting violence and hate speech  —  Facebook has banned four pages run …

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Bucking trends of rising nationalism, services like Airbnb and BlaBlaCar still find success across 190+ countries, with total strangers sharing homes…

Roger Cohen / New York Times : Bucking trends of rising nationalism, services like Airbnb and BlaBlaCar still find success across 190+ countries, with total strangers sharing homes and cars   —  The nation state is trumpeted.  The nation state is redundant.  —  I was chatting earlier this year with Brian Chesky, the co-founder and chief executive of Airbnb.

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P2P payments app Zelle, backed by big US banks, says 70%+ of transfers are between pairs of customers who have accounts at the same institution (Wall…

Wall Street Journal : P2P payments app Zelle, backed by big US banks, says 70%+ of transfers are between pairs of customers who have accounts at the same institution   —  Usage for the bank-backed money-transfer service is up, but most lenders haven't signed on  —  Zelle, the money-transfer service owned …

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Mike Volpi talks about Index Ventures’ investment strategy that led to six $1B+ exits for its startups this year, investments in Europe, fintech, and…

Theodore Schleifer / Recode : Mike Volpi talks about Index Ventures' investment strategy that led to six $1B+ exits for its startups this year, investments in Europe, fintech, and more   —  Index Ventures is quietly encroaching into the top tier of American investors.  Here are five questions with them.

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HR startup Namely, which fired its founder and CEO Matt Straz for alleged "inconsistent behavior" this year, hires new CEO Elisa Steele and…

Connie Loizos / TechCrunch : HR startup Namely, which fired its founder and CEO Matt Straz for alleged “inconsistent behavior” this year, hires new CEO Elisa Steele and raises $60M Series E   —  Namely, a 400-person, six-and-a-half-year-old company, has mostly had the kind of trajectory that other startups envy.

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Spanish taxi drivers ended a six-day strike after the government agreed to set tough limits, like a 30:1 ratio for licenses issued for taxis vs…

Pablo Rodero / Reuters : Spanish taxi drivers ended a six-day strike after the government agreed to set tough limits, like a 30:1 ratio for licenses issued for taxis vs Uber-like firms   —  MADRID (Reuters) - Spanish taxi drivers ended a six-day strike late on Wednesday after the government agreed to set tough limits …

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