Why is the SOS’s office tracking viewers of their website?

Guest Poster contributed;

This issue may seem trivial to most, if not all readers of our continuing SOS / Gant series but I must bring it to the headlines.  While doing more research for our series, a new addition to the SOS website showed up. My security settings now block examination of ballot issues. As a computer security analyst, I must admit my computer settings are stronger than most.  In my work we must know what is happening when we visit sites.  This is how we found PP’s shenanigans last May. Like I said this may seem trivial but let me explain.

In today’s computer based world, every time we access a website and we ask for data, data is collected on us. It’s not cookies, it can be far worse.  Most commercial websites find ways to look at what data is important to the viewing public so it can be better highlighted or presented.  Usually this tracking information is kept inside the domain you chose to visit. This is mostly done for marketing purposes. These businesses are SELLING something, and they want to know as much about you to optimize their sales.

In this case we have a government involved. (What does the government sell?) We citizens should expect a certain amount of anonymity when researching the SOS site on an issue or candidate.  In Gant’s redo of the site, we now have a private company, once again, controlling access to our documents.  ISSUU.comis a data aggregator.  ISSUU.com collects information on everyone who asks for  documents or data.  This data is collected and cross referenced for their web tracking-data selling service.  ISSUU.com and the SOS office now will have better ways to look at who wants the data and possibly why.

ISSUU.com appears to be owned by ASCIO TECHNOLOGIES, INC., headquartered in Munich Germany.  So when we South Dakotans want data, we have to go to a German company to get it back?  How much more versions of wrong do we need? And why are we paying a service with our taxdollars to basically SPY on us?

After the millions of dollars the State of South Dakota has spent on information technology, Gant now has contracted with a questionable data collector so he can now have better tools to understand what we want from his site. The ability to download from state servers the Adobe PDF files to view was very sufficient for the public’s use.  The state has the web power and bandwidth to give us our documents, so why do we have to contract with a data collector and how much is it going to cost?  Remember the cost is not just financial it is to our privacy as citizens to research our public officials actions.  This data can be used for many private / political needs of the collector.

We had an aggressive partisan data collector as an operations manager who left to spend more time with his family, now our SOS office has contracted with a website data collector on steroids.

Without trying to sound paranoid, is Gant trying to figure out where and who is gathering information on him and ALEC’s incompetence?  If you respect our right to search public records without partisan retribution, demand this data be returned to state servers without tracking!


#1 Anne on 09.19.12 at 6:43 pm

This is PP’s

This is PP’s legacy. Before he vaporized his old blog, computer analysts were put on the job to see if some posts he altered or eliminated could be retrieved because they contained matter that was relevant to some legal cases. One of the first things they found was that he was tracking visitors and commenters. What tripped him up was that he did not figure out that many people who posted comments on his blog did so from a public-access computer that people used on their breaks. It is part of the paranoia of his and Gant’s kind.

#2 l3wis on 09.19.12 at 10:08 pm

I will admit, I am paranoid about a lot of things, but could care less who is tracking me on the internet. Enjoy.

#3 Guest Poster on 09.20.12 at 10:07 am

When I have to attempt recovery of someone’s ID or secure their ID after a theft, the question or statement heard is “Why would anyone track me? I don’t have anything to hide.”

Spend 25+ years in data security and you will find so many excuses for letting personal web security lapse. Apple MACs and iPhones are almost as vulnerable as PCs now and much harder to remove the invader.

Computers are designed for the ease of the website to work and not by default to protect you. When you buy a computer from the big box stores there will often be malware or tracking software preinstalled for their profit.

#4 Anne on 09.22.12 at 7:57 pm

Word has it delegates are forming to get rid of Gant

#5 Anne R. on 09.22.12 at 7:59 pm

Sorry different Anne than the top. I didn’t realize there was another one on here. (first time commenter)

#6 Senator Stan Adelstein on 09.23.12 at 12:31 am

I am not sure how this works, or what it means to any South Dakotans who look for information. This, is what happens in China, and is meant to intimidate the use of “public” information. It will be useful for all who understand how the taxpayers dollars are being used to thwart those taxpayers freedom to research public records, to attend the appropriations committee meeting on Gant’s budget.

Who and where are we authorizing $10k per week “consultants,” for months before an election? How is hiring a German firm to exam questions of the SOS by citizens?

If the Chair of that hearing will not be willing to ask the questions submitted by those of you who know what we all should know, you are free to give them to the Senator from District 32 – who will probably know a committee member, as well as ask them for you as a witness in opposition to the SOS budget.

Stan Adelstein State Senator (Dist 32)

#7 l3wis on 09.23.12 at 1:09 pm

Thank you Stan, but will you get a straight answer? Gant isn’t real big on straight answers.