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Millions of Texas voter records exposed online

Posted by on Aug 23, 2018 in data, elections, Government, presidential election, Security, spokesperson, TC, texas, voter registration | 0 comments

A massive trove of voter records containing personal information on millions of Texas residents has been found online.

The data — a single file containing an estimated 14.8 million records — was left on an unsecured server without a password. Texas has 19.3 million registered voters.

It’s the latest exposure of voter data in a long string of security incidents that have cast doubt on political parties’ abilities to keep voter data safe at a time where nation states are actively trying to influence elections.

TechCrunch obtained a copy of the file, which was first found by a New Zealand-based data breach hunter who goes by the pseudonym Flash Gordon. It’s not clear who owned the server where the exposed file was found, but an analysis of the data reveals that it was likely originally compiled by Data Trust, a Republican-focused data analytics firm created by the GOP to provide campaigns with voter data.

Chris Vickery, director of cyber risk research at security firm UpGuard, analyzed a portion of the data. (It was Vickery who found a larger trove of 198 million voter records last year exposed by a similar data firm Deep Root Analytics, which sourced much of its data from Data Trust.)

A spokesperson for Data Trust declined to comment on the record.

The file — close to 16 gigabytes in size — contained dozens of fields, including personal information like a voter’s name, address, gender and several years’ worth of voting history, including primaries and presidential elections.

Granted, much of that data is public. According to The Texas Tribune, that kind of voter data in Texas is already obtainable for a fee, but information relating to individuals’ political affiliations and party memberships is not. Sam Taylor, communications director for the Texas secretary of state, told TechCrunch in an email that certain data points — like Social Security numbers — are also excluded, and the voter data cannot be used for commercial purposes, like advertising.

But data-driven political firms like Data Trust use the data for political purposes, specializing in supplementing those voter profiles with information that might help a campaign to flip a person who might not vote for a Republican candidate at the ballot box.

That’s where this file fills in the gaps with dozens of other fields, which can be used by campaigns to position their political messaging.

For example, the data includes fields that might score an individual’s believed views on immigration, hunting, abortion rights, government spending and views on the Second Amendment.

Other fields were more relevant to the recent 2016 presidential election, in which the data predictively scored individuals on if they “trust” or have “no trust” for then-Democratic candidate Hillary Clinton.

The data also includes additional personal information, such as a person’s phone numbers and their ethnicity and race.

It’s not known exactly when the data was compiled, but an analysis of the data suggests it was prepared in time for the 2016 presidential election. It’s also not known if the file is a subset of the 198 million records leak last year — or if it’s a standalone data set.

Without an owner to inform of the exposure, it’s unclear if the data is still online.


Source: The Tech Crunch

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‘I Just Simply Did What He Wanted’: Sexual Abuse Inside Immigrant Detention Facilities

Posted by on Jul 17, 2018 in Assaults, Asylum, Right of, Civil Rights and Liberties, Deportation, Executive Orders and Memorandums, Federal Bureau of Investigation, Guatemala, Honduras, Hutto (Tex), Hutto, T Don, Residential Center, Illegal Immigration, Immigration and Customs Enforcement (US), Immigration and Emigration, Immigration Detention, Prison Guards and Corrections Officers, Refugees and Displaced Persons, Sex Crimes, Suits and Litigation (Civil), texas, United States, United States Politics and Government, Witnesses, Women and Girls | 0 comments

Immigrant detention is expanding under the Trump administration, increasing the risk of sexual assault in a system where abuse is not uncommon. Two women told us their stories of being sexually abused by guards while under the custody of ICE.
Source: New York Times

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‘It’s Like Each Day Is a Year’: A Migrant Mother’s Wait for a Reunion

Posted by on Jul 14, 2018 in Border Patrol (US), Brownsville (Tex), Children and Childhood, Illegal Immigration, Immigration Detention, texas, United States Politics and Government | 0 comments

For thousands of migrants separated from their children at the border, the trauma comes in the waiting.
Source: New York Times

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Some Contractors Housing Migrant Children Are Familiar to Trump’s Inner Circle

Posted by on Jul 4, 2018 in Bethany Christian Services, CoreCivic, DeVos, Elizabeth (1958- ), General Dynamics Corporation, GEO Group Inc, Health and Human Services Department, Illegal Immigration, Immigration and Emigration, texas, Trump, Donald J | 0 comments

As new policies greatly expand the number of migrants held in detention, it is becoming clear that some of the players in this billion-dollar industry have strong ties to the Trump administration.
Source: New York Times

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How Texas’ Immigration Policies Silence Domestic Violence Survivors

Posted by on Jun 3, 2018 in Domestic Violence, Houston (Tex), Illegal Immigration, Law and Legislation, Politics and Government, texas | 0 comments

Last year, Houston saw a 16 percent drop in domestic violence reports from Hispanics. The police blame Texas’ anti-sanctuary city law, saying it has made undocumented immigrants more reluctant to report crime for fear of being deported.
Source: New York Times

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Scaling startups are setting up secondary hubs in these cities

Posted by on Jun 2, 2018 in Amazon.com, america, apttus, austin, boston, coinbase, Column, crowdstrike, Docker, GitHub, New York, north carolina, Orlando, Portland, raleigh, San Francisco, Silicon Valley, Startups, TC, Tennessee, texas, United States | 0 comments

America’s mayors have spent the past nine months tripping over each other to curry favor with Amazon.com in its high-profile search for a second headquarters.

More quietly, however, a similar story has been playing out in startup-land. Many of the most valuable venture-backed companies are venturing outside their high-cost headquarters and setting up secondary hubs in smaller cities.

Where are they going? Nashville is pretty popular. So is Phoenix. Portland and Raleigh also are seeing some jobs. A number of companies also have a high number of remote offerings, seeking candidates with coveted skills who don’t want to relocate.

Those are some of the findings from a Crunchbase News analysis of the geographic hiring practices of U.S. unicorns. Since most of these companies are based in high-cost locations, like the San Francisco Bay Area, Boston and New York, we were looking to see if there is a pattern of setting up offices in smaller, cheaper cities. (For more on survey technique, see Methodology section below.)

Here is a look at some of the hotspots.

Nashville

One surprise finding was the prominence of Nashville among secondary locations for startup offices.

We found at least four unicorns scaling up Nashville offices, plus another three with growing operations in or around other Tennessee cities. Here are some of the Tennessee-loving startups:

When we referred to Nashville’s popularity with unicorns as surprising, that was largely because the city isn’t known as a major hub for tech startups or venture funding. That said, it has a lot of attributes that make for a practical and desirable location for a secondary office.

Nashville’s attractions include high quality of life ratings, a growing population and economy, mild climate and lots of live music. Home prices and overall cost of living are also still far below Silicon Valley and New York, even though the Nashville real estate market has been on a tear for the past several years. An added perk for workers: Tennessee has no income tax on wages.

Phoenix

Phoenix is another popular pick for startup offices, particularly West Coast companies seeking a lower-cost hub for customer service and other operations that require a large staff.

In the chart below, we look at five unicorns with significant staffing in the desert city:

 

Affordability, ease of expansion and a large employable population look like big factors in Phoenix’s appeal. Homes and overall cost of living are a lot cheaper than the big coastal cities. And there’s plenty of room to sprawl.

One article about a new office opening also cited low job turnover rates as an attractive Phoenix-area attribute, which is an interesting notion. Startup hubs like San Francisco and New York see a lot of job-hopping, particularly for people with in-demand skill sets. Scaling companies may be looking for people who measure their job tenure in years rather than months.

Those aren’t the only places

Nashville and Phoenix aren’t the only hotspots for unicorns setting up secondary offices. Many other cities are also seeing some scaling startup activity.

Let’s start with North Carolina. The Research Triangle region is known for having a lot of STEM grads, so it makes sense that deep tech companies headquartered elsewhere might still want a local base. One such company is cybersecurity unicorn Tanium, which has a lot of technical job openings in the area. Another is Docker, developer of software containerization technology, which has open positions in Raleigh.

The Orlando metro area stood out mostly due to Robinhood, the zero-fee stock and crypto trading platform that recently hit the $5 billion valuation mark. The Silicon Valley-based company has a significant number of open positions in Lake Mary, an Orlando suburb, including HR and compliance jobs.

Portland, meanwhile, just drew another crypto-loving unicorn, digital currency transaction platform Coinbase. The San Francisco-based company recently opened an office in the Oregon city and is currently in hiring mode.

Anywhere with a screen

But you don’t have to be anywhere in particular to score jobs at many fast-growing startups. A lot of unicorns have a high number of remote positions, including specialized technical roles that may be hard to fill locally.

GitHub, which makes tools developers can use to collaborate remotely on projects, does a particularly good job of practicing what it codes. A notable number of engineering jobs open at the San Francisco-based company are available to remote workers, and other departments also have some openings for telecommuters.

Others with a smattering of remote openings include Silicon Valley-based cybersecurity provider CrowdStrike, enterprise software developer Apttus and also Docker.

Not everyone is doing it

Of course, not every unicorn is opening large secondary offices. Many prefer to keep staff closer to home base, seeking to lure employees with chic workplaces and lavish perks. Other companies find that when they do expand, it makes strategic sense to go to another high-cost location.

Still, the secondary hub phenomenon may offer a partial antidote to complaints that a few regions are hogging too much of the venture capital pie. While unicorns still overwhelmingly headquarter in a handful of cities, at least they’re spreading their wings and providing more jobs in other places, too.

Methodology

For this analysis, we were looking at U.S. unicorns with secondary offices in other North American cities. We began with a list of 125 U.S.-based companies and looked at open positions advertised on their websites, focusing on job location.

We excluded job offerings related to representing a local market. For instance, a San Francisco company seeking a sales rep in Chicago to sell to Chicago customers doesn’t count. Instead, we looked for openings for team members handling core operations, including engineering, finances and company-wide customer support. We also excluded secondary offices outside of North America.

Additionally, we were looking principally for companies expanding into lower-cost areas. In many cases, we did see companies strategically adding staff in other high-cost locations, such as New York and Silicon Valley.

A final note pertains to Austin, Texas. We did see several unicorns based elsewhere with job openings in Austin. However, we did not include the city in the sections above because Austin, although a lower-cost location than Silicon Valley, may also be characterized as a large, mature technology and startup hub in its own right.


Source: The Tech Crunch

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