Lucas Nolan


A bug was recently discovered in Democratic presidential candidate Joe Biden’s official campaign app that allowed anyone to access sensitive voter information on millions of Americans. The privacy breach reportedly affects 191 million Americans.

TechCrunch reports that a recent study by the App Analyst, a mobile computing expert that reviews and investigates apps, found a major issue in Democratic presidential candidate Joe Biden’s official campaign app. The campaign app, Vote Joe, allows Biden supporters to encourage friends and family members to vote in the upcoming U.S. presidential election in November by uploading their phone’s contact lists to see if their friends and family members have registered to vote.

The app matches the users’ contacts with voter data supplied from the political marketing firm TargetSmart which claims to have files on more than 191 million Americans. When the app finds a match, it displays the voter’s name, age, birthday, and which recent election they voted in. The app claims that this helps users “find people you know and encourage them to get involved.”

The App Analyst found that they could trick the app into collecting anyone’s information by creating a contact on his phone with the voter’s name. The analyst told TechCrunch that the app also pulls in a lot more data than it displays. By intercepting the data that is sent between the device and the app’s servers, the analyst saw more detailed and private information of voters including their home address, date of birth, gender, ethnicity, and political party affiliation.

The Biden campaign has reportedly issued an update to fix the bug. Matt Hill, a spokesperson for the Biden campaign, told TechCrunch: “We were made aware about how our third-party app developer was providing additional fields of information from commercially available data that was not needed. We worked with our vendor quickly to fix the issue and remove the information. We are committed to protecting the privacy of our staff, volunteers and supporters will always work with our vendors to do so.”

TargetSmart claimed that a “limited amount of publicly or commercially available data” was accessible to other users. TargetSmart has previously found itself at the center of a data leak scandal. In 2017, a voter file complied by TargetSmart on nearly 600,000 voters in Alaska was left on an exposed server with no password, and in 2018 TechCrunch reported that almost 15 million records on Texas voters were found on an exposed server just months ahead of U.S. midterm elections.

Author: Lucas Nolan

Source: Breitbart: Joe Biden’s Campaign App Exposes Data on 191 Million Americans

Three GOP Senators have announced a new bill called the Online Freedom and Viewpoint Diversity Act that aims to modify Section 230 of the Communications and Decency Act to clarify the original intent of the law and increase accountability faced by the Big Tech Masters of the Universe for their censorship of political speech.

According to a recent release from the U.S. Senate Committee on Commerce, Science, and Transportation, Sen. Roger Wicker, the chairman of the Senate Committee on Commerce, Science, and Transportation, Sen. Lindsey Graham, chairman of the Senate Committee on the Judiciary, and Sen. Marsha Blackburn have introduced the Online Freedom and Viewpoint Diversity Act to modify Section 230 of the Communications Decency Act.

The bill would clarify the original intent of the Communications Decency Act and would increase accountability for Big Tech’s content moderation practices. Senator Graham commented on the bill stating: “I’m very pleased to be working with Senators Wicker and Blackburn to bring about much-needed reform of Section 230. Social media companies are routinely censoring content that to many, should be considered valid political speech. This reform proposal addresses the concerns of those who feel like their political views are being unfairly suppressed.”

Senator Blackburn provided the following statement:

Big Tech companies have stretched their liability shield past its limits, and the national discourse now suffers because of it. Today’s internet is a different online product from what was available in 1996; the polished megaplatforms we associate with online research and debate exert unprecedented influence over how Americans discover new information, and what information is available for discovery.

Moreover, the contentious nature of current conversations provides perverse incentive for these companies to manipulate the online experience in favor of the loudest voices in the room. There exists no meaningful alternative to these powerful platforms, which means there will be no accountability for the devastating effects of this ingrained ideological bias until Congress steps in and brings liability protections into the modern era.

According to the release, the Online Freedom and Viewpoint Diversity Act would:

  • Clarify when Section 230’s liability protections apply to instances where online platforms choose to restrict access to certain types of content;
  • Condition the content moderation liability shield on an objective reasonableness standard. In order to be protected from liability, a tech company may only restrict access to content on its platform where it has “an objectively reasonable belief” that the content falls within a certain, specified category;
  • Remove “otherwise objectionable” and replace it with concrete terms, including “promoting terrorism,” content that is determined to be “unlawful,” and content that promotes “self-harm.”
  • Clarify that the definition of “information content provider” includes instances in which a person or entity editorializes or affirmatively and substantively modifies the content created or developed by another person or entity but does not include mere changes to format, layout, or basic appearance of such content.

Breitbart News reporter Allum Bokhari outlined some of the issues that many have with Section 230 of the Communications Decency Act in July, writing:

Section 230 gives Big Tech companies immunity from lawsuits arising from user-generated content. If a person is defamed on Google, YouTube, Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, or other big tech platforms like Reddit, those platforms are not legally liable for the content like a traditional publisher might be. This allows social media platforms to host billions of posts from users without a potentially crippling legal risk.

As Big Tech platforms have grown increasingly interested in censoring content posted by their users, however, many lawmakers have argued that they are behaving like traditional publishers, censoring and editing and approving their users’ posts. As such, a growing number of lawmakers have argued that the legal immunities of Section 230 should be contingent on platforms maintaining a hands-off approach to the speech of their users.

Another problematic element of Section 230 is subsection c-2, which grants tech companies immunity from lawsuits arising from their censorship of “objectionable” content. This immunity gives them broad leeway to censor users, leaving no legal recourse for those who are censored — even if their social media accounts are critical to their livelihood or career.

Author: Lucas Nolan

Source: Breitbart: GOP Senators Introduce ‘Online Freedom and Viewpoint Diversity Act’ to Fight Big Tech Censorship

Tech giant Facebook has reportedly threatened to “unpublish” the page of PragerU just one week after Twitter suspended the educational non-profit’s account.

Social media giant Facebook has reportedly threatened to “unpublish” the page of the conservative non-profit group PragerU just a week after Twitter suspended the group’s account. Facebook has threatened to delete PragerU’s page for allegedly repeatedly violating the website’s community standards.

PragerU told Breitbart News that Facebook is retroactively deleting and flagging old PragerU posts and counting one video posted by the group as “multiple violations” which has contributed to the page being marked as “at-risk” of being unpublished.

Breitbart News reported last week that PragerU had it’s Twitter account suspended for tweeting a video of a press conference held in Washington D.C. by the group America’s Frontline Doctors and organized and sponsored by the Tea Party Patriots. Breitbart News reported:

Conservative non-profit group PragerU had its account restricted on Wednesday for allegedly violating the platform’s rules regarding posts about coronavirus after sharing a video of the “White Coat Summit” featuring medical doctors.

“American doctors are holding a ‘White Coat Summit’ in Washington, D.C. to address ‘a massive disinformation campaign’ by the media about coronavirus,” read PragerU’s tweet. “Watch as Dr. Stella Immanuel tackles the media’s narrative about hydroxychloroquine.”

PragerU alleges that it spoke with Facebook representatives on the issue who confirmed that sharing any mention of hydroxychloroquine being a possible treatment for the Wuhan coronavirus violates Facebook’s community guidelines. PragerU noted that mentions of the drug by news outlets such as CNN did not appear to violate Facebook’s guidelines.

Breitbart News will continue to update readers as this story develops.

Author: Lucas Nolan

Source: Breitbart: Facebook Threatens to Blacklist PragerU Facebook Page

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