California elections officials probe voter data breach claims: Sacramento Bee

(Reuters) - California Secretary of State Alex Padilla said on Tuesday that his office was working to verify claims that confidential voter information had been exposed on the Internet, the Sacramento Bee newspaper reported.

An independent computer security researcher on Monday said he uncovered a database of information on 191 million voters that was exposed on the open Internet due to a misconfiguration of the database.

The database includes names, addresses, birth dates, party affiliations, phone numbers and emails of voters in all 50 U.S. states and Washington, said researcher Chris Vickery.

Padilla said the records were not posted by the California Secretary of State, and that he was collaborating with Attorney General Kamala Harris’ office to provide any necessary assistance, the Sacramento Bee reported.

Offices of the California Secretary of State and Kamala Harris could not be immediately reached for comment.

The breach was first reported by computer and privacy news sites CSO Online and CSO Online said the exposed information may have originally come from campaign software provider NationBuilder because the leak included data codes similar to those used by that firm.

NationBuilder Chief Executive Officer Jim Gilliam said in a statement that the database was not created by the Los Angeles-based company, but that some of its information may have come from data it freely supplies to political campaigns.

Regulations on protecting voter data vary from state to state, with many states imposing no restrictions. California, for example, requires that voter data be used for political purposes only and not be available to persons outside of the United States.

Reporting by Rama Venkat Raman in Bengaluru; Editing by Sunil Nair