Donald Trump’s voter suppression vice chair, Kris Kobach, wants voter registration data from every state, and he wants it so he can find ways to kick people off the voter rolls. But digital security experts warn that, once Kobach has the data, he’s not the only person who can use it to bad ends. Kobach’s dream is to gather together an enormous database of information that would be a hacker’s dream to break into and a spy’s dream to gain access to:

“The bigger the purse, the more effort folks would spend to get at it,” said Joe Hall, chief technologist at the Center for Democracy and Technology, a digital advocacy group. “And in this case, this is such a high-profile and not-so-competent tech operation that we’re likely to see the hacktivists and pranksters take shots at it.” […]

Technical experts say the voter data that the commission wants to assemble would quickly become a single treasure trove for cyber criminals and foreign intelligence services. Identity thieves could use information such as addresses, birth dates and the last four digits of Social Security numbers for digital impersonations, and foreign spies could use it to fill out dossiers on Americans they hope to blackmail.

“This information is particularly sensitive because it can be matched up with other stolen or publicly available information to build a more complete profile for an individual and target them for fraud or other exploitation,” said Jason Straight, a data breach expert who serves as chief privacy officer at the business solutions firm UnitedLex.

It’s a good thing many states have already said they won’t provide Kobach with more data than is already publicly available, with a few rejecting the request altogether. But it’s not like he’s going to stop trying to make it harder to vote for everyone but rich white people, and chances are he’ll keep endangering voters in two ways: the ones he intends, and the ones his carelessness and negligence allow to happen along the way.

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This is a Creative Commons article. The original version of this article appeared here.


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