Tuesday, November 22, 2011

EXCLUSIVE: Privacy Flaw In Campaign Donation System

Miserable Hacks, er, I mean, Media Trackers put a blogpost last week in which they found "a serious flaw" in the recall signature campaign.  The flaw is that anyone could access some of a signer's personal information, such as their name, address and phone number.

What they don't tell you is that this is true anytime you sign a political petition, whether it's for the recall or for nomination papers or to show support for or against any given bill.

But in a Cog Dis exclusive, we found that donating to Scott Walker's recall defense fund has an even greater flaw than the one hyped by Media Trackers.

When a person donates to Walker's defense fund, or his campaign fund at any time, that person exposes not only their name and address, but also their employer's name.  Now any evil-doers would know not only where you live but also where you work! There is no place where you'd be safe.

And as if to aid and abet these could-be trouble makers, the State of Wisconsin makes it so that they can get your information online, from the comforts of their own home!  All one would have to do is access the database at the Governmental Accountability Board.  Heck, the same information is even available at non-governmental sites such as the Wisconsin Democracy Campaign.

Now, the above was written in a satirical frame of mind.  But the following should scare you, whether you've signed a petition or not and whether you've ever made a campaign donation or not.

Even if you're apolitical, your information could be made publicly available.  And not just your name or address, but even confidential information, including social security numbers or personal health issues that you may have received aid for.

And before you blow that off as some sort of partisan hype, I would simply point out that Walker has done it before, as Milwaukee County Executive.  Via Cory Liebmann, we find that Walker had released sensitive data for up to 180,000 cases to his collaborating attack dogs, the misnamed Citizens for Responsible Government.  And he released this very private information, which included things that are protected from even the Open Records laws, without even charging a dime.

Now that Walker's is in charge of all the state's information, who's to say what he's already released and to whom?  I know I'm very uncomfortable with the thought that he could have released my records to people like the Koch Brothers or the Bradley Foundation (or any of their many, many front groups).

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