Data Security

California Latino Caucus reveals dozens of donors to its foundation
July 12, 2011

The California Latino Legislative Caucus released the names of dozens of donors Monday that collectively have contributed more than $400,000 to its nonprofit foundation since 2009.

Assemblyman Tony Mendoza, an Artesia Democrat who has chaired the Latino Legislative Caucus since December, released a list of 53 donors who contributed $243,600 in 2009 and $195,500 in 2010.

Mendoza previously had released a list of seven contributions received since he took control of the caucus late last year. Only three of them, totaling $20,000, were donated in 2011.

WikiLeaks Asks For Anonymous Bitcoin Donations
June 15, 2011

WikiLeaks announced via Twitter that it will now be accepting donations of Bitcoins, a wholly digital and theoretically untraceable currency. Bitcoins are created with cryptographic functions and then stored and exchanged without the help of banks. So in theory the currency prevents any institution from tracking the flow of money, and prevents any bank from either blocking transfers to a certain party or freezing anyone’s account.

Pa. Judge Orders College Foundation to Release More Donor Info
June 8, 2011

East Stroudsburg University and its foundation must provide the Pocono Record with all of its donor records going back to 2000 ­— much more than the newspaper requested — a Commonwealth Court judge said Monday in clarifying a precedent-setting court ruling on the state's Right-to-Know law.

The case revolves around public access to records held by private entities, like the foundation, that carry out work on behalf of public agencies.

Nonprofits Advised to Take Precautions After PBS's Site Attacked
June 2, 2011

Over Memorial Day weekend, a group called LulzSec hacked into PBS’s website and posted this image, saying it was angry about the network’s broadcast of a documentary on WikiLeaks.

LulzSec said it broke into PBS’s servers by taking advantage of a security hole in an older version of the content-management system Movable Type and out-of-date software on PBS’s servers so it could gain access to the user names and passwords.

The situation highlights the need for organizations to make sure their content-management systems are up-to-date, said Steven Backman, chief executive of Database Designs Associates, a technology consultant.

Leaders Release Security Framework for Interactive Messaging Ecosystem Best Practices to Protect Data Assets, Curb Identity Theft and Improve Online Trust
April 21, 2011

The Online Trust Alliance announced the release of its Security by Design Framework and a set of security practices for the interactive messaging ecosystem. To help combat security threats, the OTA has joined with other leading industry organizations, service and technology providers and major brands, to accelerate adoption of effective security measures. 

The ‘Security by Design Framework’ and its recommended practices are intended to provide a basis for immediate action.

Massive Nonprofit Identity Theft
April 15, 2011

Someone has hijacked the tax identity of more than 2,300 tiny or defunct nonprofits, apparently taking advantage of a hole in a new electronic Internal Revenue Service filing system to list the same person as a charitable official at the same mail box drop in Las Vegas.

The charities, most of which seem to be religious in nature, all identify a “principal officer” as one William Alexander of Non Profit Accounting Services, with a stated location at a mail-box office address on N. Rainbow Blvd. in Las Vegas.

Watchdogs Say: Lax Internal Revenue Service rules help groups shield campaign donor identities
March 10, 2011

American Crossroads GPS, an advocacy group that reported spending about $17 million on advertising before the midterm elections, generated controversy by using its nonprofit status to shield donors' identities.

As it turns out, the Internal Revenue Service hasn't even approved the group's nonprofit status. Crossroads filed an application in September but the agency has not acted on it.

Watchdog groups say that Crossroads and other groups active in campaigns are taking advantage of lax IRS enforcement to offer political donors anonymity.

Conn. university claims donor lists are trade secrets as it fights to block their release
February 15, 2011

The University of Connecticut is fighting in court to prevent the release of lists naming its supporters, arguing they amount to trade secrets that other institutions could use to lure away Huskies fans' dollars and loyalties.

Open-records experts say it's the first time Connecticut's courts will have to decide whether public entities, not just businesses, can invoke a trade-secret exemption to keep information private — even if it was created at public expense.

Offering Donors Secrecy, and Going on Attack
October 12, 2010

The American Future Fund, organized under a tax code provision that lets donors remain anonymous, is one of dozens of groups awash in money from hidden sources and spending it at an unprecedented rate, largely on behalf of Republicans. The breadth and impact of these privately financed groups have made them, and the mystery of their backers, a campaign issue in their own right.

“I think most people are very comfortable giving anonymously,” Mr. Sembler said. “They want to be able to be helpful but not be seen by the public as taking sides.”