I don’t need more reasons to abandon politics but I realize others do. To that end I feel that it’s important to point out the abysmal security record of political campaigns:
Over the last three months, more than 100 million US voters have had their data exposed online. These data breaches weren’t caused by a sophisticated hack or malware. Instead, political campaigns’ abysmal cybersecurity practices are to blame. Although modern campaigns constantly acquire and purchase massive amounts of data, they often neglect to fully beef up security surrounding it, effectively turning the campaigns into sitting ducks — huge operations with databases left open and vulnerable.
That might be unsettling, but perhaps more troubling is the fact that political campaigns are terrible at cybersecurity. Not only do the organizations have access to more information than ever before, they’re not able to keep it safe. The incentives to do so just don’t exist, and that’s why we’re seeing so much compromised voter data.
In Iowa last month, the state’s Republican party failed to adequately protect a database containing information on 2 million voters, making it readily available through just a basic scan of the website’s source code. In December, an independent security researcher uncovered a publicly available database of 191 million voter records. Included in that trove was each voter’s full name, home address, mailing address, unique voter ID, state voter ID, gender, date of birth, phone number, date of registration, political affiliation, and voter history since 2000.
I’ve mentioned these sorts of issues to friends before but they always hid behind the “I give campaigns a fake phone number” excuse. But the phone number you gave to a campaign isn’t what’s getting out, it’s your real personal information including your home address.
Politics is continuing to become more polarizing in this country. Both parties have become religions where disagreements with the party being tantamount to heresy. True believers are often willing to shun former friends and family members. Some employers are even willing to avoid hiring or terminating employees based on their form of political worship. There are no signs indicating this trend will cease or reverse so your voting record could become a major problem in the near future.
The amount of personal information many campaigns have on individuals is rather shocking. It’s often enough information for people with access to commit acts of identify theft.
There really isn’t anything to gain for political participation and there’s a lot to lose. Control over your personal information is one of the things you could potentially lose. My advise is to avoid politics since it’s obvious campaigns have no interest in protecting you.