Monday, September 27, 2004

Republicans Outsource Vote Count To India  


When the Republican Party clinched close gubernatorial races in Mississippi and Kentucky in 2003, it relied heavily on its Voter Vault database to get people to the voting booths. Though party officials are tight-lipped about what's inside the Vault, they've acknowledged it contains records on an estimated 168 million voters.


PC World has recently learned that the major development work on the Voter Vault was done in India. Though the RNC began work on a national database of voters in the mid-1990s, the Voter Vault wasn't ready to be put into the field until the 2002 elections. Two years prior to the 2002 elections, the RNC hired Advanced Custom Software (ACS) of Seattle to build a Web-based database to help campaign workers target likely Republican voters. According to information posted on Elance.com, an online directory of outsourcing firms, ACS subcontracted development of the database to Compulink Systems of Maharashtra, India.

It's not necessarily risky to ship your data overseas, but Compulink Systems did suffer a security incident in May 2001. During the period when Compulink was working on the Voter Vault project, its Web site was compromised. On May 10, 2001, a Russian hacker using the handle RyDen defaced the Compulink site, as shown on a page maintained by Attrition.org.

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