Dear Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos - 15+ organizations demand transparency from Amazon about election data breaches

Posted September 30, 2020, 7:49 PM

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Dear Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos,

We’re calling on Amazon to disclose all instances of security breaches related to election data, the implications of such breaches, and the actions it took to address them.

Reuters reported that voter information stored on Amazon’s cloud was breached on three separate occasions including a database with nearly every registered American that was exposed to the internet for 12 days. These incidents reveal gaps in security that can be used to manipulate the 2020 elections. Voter information acquired from a hack or leak could be weaponized to suppress votes and spread disinformation, especially in Black and Brown communities that are targeted and systematically disenfranchised in every election. Amazon needs to be transparent about their response to these breaches, so the public can evaluate the security of the election system and the steps Amazon is taking.

Amazon has aggressively expanded into U.S. elections, providing one or more election services in more than 40 states and for both major political parties. Amazon’s election services - including running election websites, storing voter registration information and ballot data, and helping to provide live results on election night - concentrate private voter data and history in a single centralized system. A single breach could have catastrophic consequences for election integrity in dozens of states.

We know bad actors are looking for loopholes, like the cloud security compromises, that they can exploit to influence the outcome of our elections. 

Given the stakes, Amazon should be doing everything they can to secure our elections. Responding to these disturbing compromises by placing blame and putting the onus on the user, like you have in the past, is unacceptable.

We acknowledge that Amazon only claims responsibility for the underlying infrastructure and leaves it to the customer to secure the encryption of the data. But our election system is not an everyday customer, and the public needs transparency about security issues to assess the possible threats to our election system.

If a car seat manufacturer didn’t provide proper instructions to make sure people installed their car seats correctly, and it put infants in harm’s way, people would blame the manufacturer for its negligence. The car seat manufacturer would be expected to do everything necessary to prevent infants from dying.

It’s reasonable to expect a corporation the size of Amazon, handling contracts for the government, to devote resources to ensuring those accounts are safe. Repeated breaches make it clear that Amazon hasn’t met this expectation and suggest it isn’t doing everything it can to protect voter information.

Amazon’s inaction coupled with its practice of centralizing all the voter data it holds in one location puts our elections and our democracy at risk. Counties and states across the country trusted Amazon with their voter and election data. It’s incumbent upon you to do everything necessary to ensure the safety and security of our elections.

Sincerely,

Athena
Color of Change
Constitutional Alliance
Demand Progress
Fight for the Future
Just Futures Law
Kairos Action
Media Alliance
Media Justice
MPower Change
Open Markets Institute
RootsAction.org
Partnership for Working Families
Secure Justice
S.T.O.P. - The Surveillance Technology Oversight Project
Woodhull Freedom Foundation
X-Lab