Is your name, email and location on some public Google doc somewhere as part of the #Resistance? TAKE IT OFF!
Grassroots activism is great. But here’s what’s happening. But getting access volunteer info, strategy and efforts by signing up on a website is a disaster waiting to happen.
Here’s some basic facts:
- Anyone can throw up a website. Takes under $100 and about two hours.
- Privacy of the site owners is a simple payment – no idea who actually owns the site.
- You don’t even know what country its in when a proxy is purchased
- So no idea who or what is actually collecting your information. Only the website tells you.
I’m pretty tech-savvy and yet followed along like a total lemming.
I’m not trying to pull an Alex Jones here – but I was naive enough to hand over my info based on emotion. I wanted to resist, wanted to do it at a local level and this sounded perfect.
By volunteering, our email addresses, full names and locations were available to anyone who filled in a web form to be on a mailing list.
I volunteered to help try to flip a House district next to my own. We were sent links to some google docs, one of which asked us to identify ourselves. The last column was for email. In fairness it was optional and we were reminded the document was public. Like everyone one else on the list – I gave them my email, the city I live in and some skill sets.
About a week later I got an email from a gmail account I didn’t recognize. The body of the email said the sender was working with the organization and asked for a reply. I had just finished adding research content on our incumbent, the email was asking for us to respond, so I replied without questioning.
A couple of days, I started realizing I hadn’t heard back. I checked the guy on twitter, less than 300 followers. That’s when I kind of woke up. I had no idea who this guy is. He plucked my email address from a spreadsheet.
I’m not saying he’s a bad actor. But how would I know? How many people filled out that subscribe to our mailing list web form just to snoop around?
I know the organization I volunteered for means well. This is not intended as an attack on them. But as we become “woke,” we need to wake up and realize the virulent potential of being hacked and trolled for our efforts.