Oh Look, There’s a Coding Hole, Let’s Exploit It!


427Critics may be crying foul, creating petitions and blaming the Democratic National Committee (DNC) for suspending access to the Democratic “Voter Access Network” database, but it was the Bernie Sanders campaign that exploited some apparent coding hole that allowed them to access confidential voter information gathered by their rival, the Hillary Clinton campaign.

From the Washington Post:

“The DNC maintains the master list and rents it to national and state campaigns, which then add their own, proprietary information gathered by field workers and volunteers. Firewalls are supposed to prevent campaigns from viewing data gathered by their rivals.

NGP VAN, the vendor that handles the master file, said the incident occurred Wednesday while a patch was being applied to the software. The process briefly opened a window into proprietary information from other campaigns, said the company’s chief, Stu Trevelyan. He said a full audit will be conducted.”

The DNC has reportedly told the Sanders campaign that it will not be allowed access to the data again until it provides an explanation for how the breach occurred as well as assurances that all Clinton data has been destroyed.

Meanwhile, Bernie supporters started a MoveOn.org petition online denegrating DNC Chair Debbie Wasserman Schultz for suspending the campaign’s access and demanding they reinstate access to the database.  Afterall, “it’s not their fault that the DNC hired a contractor that left them a hole they could exploit” to gain an advantage against a rival candidate.  Really?

I’m sorry, but what the Bernie campaign just did is the equivalent of hacking.  I guarantee you that if it had been the reverse, if it had been the Hillary campaign accused of exploiting information gathered by the Bernie campaign, the GOP would join the Bernie campaign in demanding that Hillary step down from the race in disgrace.  It is NEVER okay to cheat, plain and simple.  Sanders campaign manager Jeff Weaver can claim all day long that they didn’t print it or download it, but those are specific terms.  Did they take screen shots (that’s not downloading)?  Did they create video of a screen scroll using a cell phone (that’s not downloading)?

Frank Bruni the New York Times went so far as to write:   “It smacks of special treatment, and Clinton, who set up her own home-brewed email account as secretary of state, can’t afford to keep giving voters the impression that normal rules don’t apply to her.”

Excuse me?!?!  Normal rules don’t apply to “Clinton”?  It’s not the Clinton campaign hacking her rival’s campaign data.  It’s not Hillary Clinton who is demanding special treatment.  It’s the Bernie Sanders campaign demanding that bad behavior is perfectly acceptable. It was the Sanders campaign that accessed ‘confidential’ Hillary Clinton campaign data.  How will they now use that information to enhance their chances?  Why do they apparently feel it was okay to do so and have NO REMORSE for having accessed that data?

Calling for the DNC to immediately restore access to the Sanders campaign is the equivalent demanding that an identity hacker be given complete and immediate full access to all of your identity information.  Sorry, but I disagree.  The Sanders campaign needs to provide an explanation for how the breach occurred and the full extent of information accessed. Only when any problem coding is expeditiously fixed should access be restored. Thus, the faster they fess up, the faster this mess can get fixed.

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One thought on “Oh Look, There’s a Coding Hole, Let’s Exploit It!

  1. donvrogers December 18, 2015 / 6:53 pm

    I don’t think the Bernie Sanders campaign considers this as “perfectly acceptable.” They fired the guy who did it. If someone needs more punishment, I think it should be NGP VAN, who is supposed to be the entity keeping things secure.

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