News Release: Auditor posts voter data requestors


FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE – January 12, 2016

Contact:  Joel Miller – Linn County Auditor

(319) 892-5300     joel.miller@linncounty.org

LINN COUNTY, IA – January 12, 2016 – Today, Linn County Auditor Joel D. Miller announced that his office has posted the names of persons who have requested Linn County voter data from his office. Miller took this step after an inquiry from a constituent who directed him to news stories about voter data being exposed on the internet – see:

http://www.csoonline.com/article/3018592/security/database-configuratio

http://www.nytimes.com/2015/12/31/us/politics/voting-records-released-privacy-concerns.html?_r=0

http://www.latimes.com/politics/la-pol-sac-california-voter-records-leaked-online-20151229-story.html

While Miller cannot control what happens to voter data once an official request for data is processed and the data is released, he hopes that past and future requestors will exercise more care in safeguarding voter data to ensure that it is only used for the purposes allowed by Iowa law as stated on the request form and NOT parked on the internet for everyone to access.

Miller said, “Buying and using voter data is legal when used in accordance with the law. Revealing the names of the buyers is also legal since this information is part of the public record. If a voter is injured in some way from his/her voter data being mishandled, then they may want to pursue legal action. To do that, the injured party needs to know who obtained the voter data. Making the names of the requestors more easily accessible seems to be a reasonable balance between the requestors and the unaware voters”.

The names of requestors going back to 2009 who have requested Linn County’s voter data are posted at http://www.linncounty.org/366/Online-Voter-Data-Request-Form.

Montgomery County, MD, was the first government entity to mandate the publishing of public record requests – see Transparent Service at http://www.governing.com/columns/tech-talk/gov-transparent-public-records-requests.html   ###

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