Millions Of Voters’ Information Exposed, Georgia Still Refuses Help On Cybersecurity

Eric Lieberman | Deputy Editor

A Georgia politician is refusing help from the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) after 6 million registered voters had their personal information exposed.

The office of Republican Secretary of State Brian Kemp inadvertently mailed out twelve discs that contained the private data of millions of Georgians less than a year ago, reports ThinkProgress. The information included birth dates, driver’s licenses and Social Security numbers. Kemp admitted that he was “no expert on data security,” but that he was sure the information did not make “it out to the bad guys,” according to the Atlanta Journal-Constitution.

Thousands of new voter registrations were misplaced only a year prior to that incident, potentially altering the control of the Senate in Georgia, according to the ThinkProgress.

Now Kemp says that the state is fully capable of managing its own election security and accused the federal government of overstepping its power by making such an offer.

“The question remains whether the federal government will subvert the Constitution to achieve the goal of federalizing elections under the guise of security,” Kemp told Nextgov in an email. “Designating voting systems or any other election system as critical infrastructure would be a vast federal overreach, the cost of which would not equally improve the security of elections in the United States.”

Georgia is known for having an antiquated voting system, which presumably makes it highly vulnerable to more modern and advanced breaches, like the ones carried out against the Democratic National Committee.

Georgia runs electronic-only machines that leave no paper trail, meaning that post-election voting counts are virtually impossible. The state is using a system that is more than a decade old “so the hardware is falling apart,” Zeynep Tufekci, a University of North Carolina information and library science professor told NPR. “And the operating system they’re using is Windows 2000, which hasn’t been updated for security for years, which means it’s a sitting duck.”

Kemp thinks that other parties are hyping up the magnitude of the vulnerabilities to state-based election systems.

“It seems like now it’s just the D.C. media and the bureaucrats, because of the DNC getting hacked– they now think our whole system is on the verge of disaster because some Russian’s going to tap into the voting system,” Kemp told Politico. He asserts that this is just another attempt by the Obama administration to acquire more federal control, citing Obama’s health care experiment, the enlarged role of the Department of Education in local school districts and Dodd-Frank financial-reform legislation.

Georgia could be a hot target for cybercriminals abroad, since an aggregate analysis of various recent polls show it will be a close race for the Peach State. (RELATED: Russian Hackers Add Washington Think Tanks To Victim List)

Kemp assured that while “anything is possible,” it is not probable that Georgia’s system will fall victim to foreign hackers.

Pennsylvania, which is critical swing state that can decide a whole national election, also plans on using its own security tools and capabilities.

It was reported yesterday by the FBI that foreign hackers breached Arizona and Illinois’ election databases.

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Tags : arizona barack obama democratic national committee department of education department of homeland security dodd frank act georgia illinois microsoft windows pennsylvania
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