S.T.O.P. Welcomes NYC Board of Elections Removal of Private Data, Demands Answers

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For Immediate Release

S.T.O.P. Welcomes NYC Board of Elections' Removal of Private Data, Demands Answers

(NEW YORK, NY, 4/26/2019) – Today, the Surveillance Technology Oversight Project (STOP), a New York-based privacy group, welcomed the New York City Board of Elections’ decision to remove New Yorkers’ voter registration information from its website. STOP previously condemned the release, which includes the names, addresses, and party affiliation information for New York City’s 4.6 million active registered voters.
SEE: Public Records: Personal Information on New York City Voters Is Now Available for All to See
New York City Board of Elections Posted All Voters' Names, Addresses and Party Affiliations On Its Website
STOP also today filed a request under New York’s Freedom of information law, demanding to know how many times the voter information was downloaded in the period it was posted.

SEE: FOIL Request

“We welcome the decision to remove this sensitive data, but it was wrong to post it in the first place,“ said STOP Executive Director Albert Fox Cahn. “We’re still alarmed that information on millions of New Yorkers could be exposed so easily. This episode highlights just how vulnerable our privacy is. We remain concerned about the impact of this release on vulnerable communities, such as survivors of domestic violence, who actively try to hide their addresses. That is why we submitted a Freedom of Information Law request, demanding to know how many times this data was downloaded. We want to know just how much damage was done.”
The posted information is a public record under New York law, but prior to being put on the BOE website it was previously only available for purchase, limiting the potential for misuse. NYS Election Law Sec 3-103(5) also prohibits using registration records for non-election purposes, but the BOE website contained no such restrictions when the voter data was posted.

The Surveillance Technology Oversight Project STOP is a non-profit advocacy organization and legal services provider hosted by the Urban Justice Center. STOP litigates and advocates for privacy, fighting excessive local and state-level surveillance. Our work highlights the discriminatory impact of surveillance on Muslim Americans, immigrants, and communities of color.
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CONTACT: STOP Executive Director Albert Fox Cahn; 
Copyright © 2019 Surveillance Technology Oversight Project, All rights reserved.

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