Arizona Politician Accused Of Using Voter Database To Stalk Young Woman

from the database-abuse dept

We’ve talked in the past about how pretty much any government database eventually gets abused by someone looking for info about someone beyond the scope of what the database is for, and now Michael Scott points us to news of how the executive director of the Arizona Republican Party, Bruce Mecum, has been accused of using the party’s voter database to stalk a female grad student. This isn’t a “government” database, as it’s just the political party’s database. But, the database is used like a marketing database to better target messages. Or stalking opportunities, which apparently seriously creeped out some people. The response from the party’s treasurer wasn’t exactly reassuring:

“He used Voter Vault. The The Republican National Committee owns Voter Vault….It’s a private list. We own the list. We can do what we want with the list, quite frankly.”

Including stalking? This isn’t a “Republican” thing either. I’m sure some Democrats misuse their databases as well, so hopefully the comments can avoid blindly supporting or hating on this or that political party. The key point here is that it’s yet another example of a database that’s supposed to be used for one purpose, being used for stalking instead.

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Comments on “Arizona Politician Accused Of Using Voter Database To Stalk Young Woman”

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Re: Re: Yikes

“….aaaand the partisan comments begin immediately. Luvverly.”

Yeah, I was going to do a “good luck with that” comment as soon as I saw Mike’s line, but I figured I’d give everyone a shot.

Oh well, seems more people need to be educated on how both parties are equally evil because they all end up reporting to the same bosses….


Another way to look at it...

What’s the solution to this kind of thing? How is the line here different than when other people blame some technology for a societal ill (i.e. video games are practice grounds for violent behavior)?

Did the fact that such a database exists cause someone to misuse the data, or did the person choose to misuse the database? The bottom line is that if you create a database then there is some likelihood that it will be misused by those that have the means to access it.

Do not fall into the trap that we often accuse others of falling into, blaming the technology for enabling a person’s bad behavior.


Re: Another way to look at it...

The existance of a database is not being objected to. The article was being used to point to the fact that large accumulations of information are misused and the entity that has access to large amount of info about us is the government. Furthermore we are required by law to supply that information in many cases. Also your boldface key seems to have gotten stuck

Brad Morrisonsays:

Chris Greenwood (Phoenix Independent Examiner) asserts that Mecum’s misuse of Voter Vault constitutes a felony. I agree in principle, since the input is state voter registration records. VV is 20 years old, though, so the GOP may have managed to wire in exceptions in most, maybe all states.

Google Mecum. He’s quite a character. I think he should walk for this one to get his arrogance puffed up enough to do something truly stupid. His explanation for the troubles he’s had is that his Democratic enemies are setting him up.

So maybe his next caper will require a Republican to administer the smackdown.

Brad Morrisonsays:

Felony, FYI

The original article states, “In fact, it is a felony to use the voter registration database (aka Voter Vault) for anything other than official purposes. In Arizona, misuse of the voter registration database is a Class 6 felony, which means Mecum could face a couple of years in the clink if convicted. If the staffer knew why he was looking up the woman’s information, the staffer could also face charges. Additionally, to access Voter Vault, which is a customized interface for the database, the user must sign an agreement with the Republican Party saying they will only use the database for party-related business.”

Wait a minute … isn’t AZ the home of that bat$#!+ crazy sheriff?


So If The Shoe Is On The Other Foot?

So since it’s a private database, then using their logic, if I acquire a database of all their party members that have a net worth of more than $1 million dollars from a list broker and steal their identities to get some cash, then it’s OK. After all, it’s a private database, right?

While I wouldn’t do that, who is to say that the next “stalker” misappropriating their database won’t?

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