In a chilling message to both Democrats and Republicans, well over a third (39 percent) of Americans say that they are concerned about how much personal data is in the possession of political parties and campaigns during the lead up to this November’s general elections. This is according to a new national survey released today by CyberScout’s award-winning privacy and security conference—the Privacy XChange Forum.
Additionally, only 22.5 percent of respondents say that they are not concerned over the excess of data and personal information held by these political organizations.
These concerns may very well be justified, considering the parade of politically-focused cybersecurity attacks that have dominated headlines in the past few weeks. Beyond a presidential campaign that has boggled the mind and mystified pollsters, pundits and politicians alike, 2016 has been anything but a typical election season with charges that state-sponsored hackers have compromised various political organizations with the intent of potentially influencing the outcome of the race for the White House. What we know is that the Democratic National Committee fell victim to hackers who inhabited its servers for over a year, stealing nearly 20,000 emails and documents, while Republican nominee Donald Trump essentially dared Russia to commit cyber espionage against his opponent Hillary Clinton. Reports have also surfaced that other political organizations like the DCCC and the Clinton campaign may also have been compromised. What we don’t know is how many other campaigns, parties and PACs may have suffered similar fates. Meanwhile, nearly all major campaigns now rely on data analytics to better understand voter behaviors, so the amount of information collected has increased exponentially.
“The American people have a right to be extremely concerned. Because political organizations and campaigns are in possession of staggering amounts of granular personal data on potential voters in an effort to more effectively and efficiently reach and influence them, they are an irresistible target for hackers and are clearly being targeted” said Adam Levin, chairman and founder of CyberScout and author of Swiped. “Cybersecurity can no longer be a back-burner issue and it is an outrage that up until the past few weeks there was more conversation about building the Great Wall of Mexico than doing whatever is necessary to strengthen our cyber defenses.”
Below, please see the full survey question and answer carried out.
CyberScout commissioned SHIFT Communications to survey U.S. online consumers to uncover understanding and attitudes as they relate to how much of our personal data political parties/campaigns are in possession of this election season. The survey was shown to 9,057 people age 18+ with 2,004 responses, for a 22.1% response rate, with a 95% confidence level.