NYU and Human Rights Watch accidentally doxxed up to 8,000 victims, journalists, and activists due to a basic security error.
A joint project of Human Rights Watch and New York University to document human rights abuses in the Democratic Republic of the Congo has been taken offline after exposing the identities of thousands of vulnerable people, including survivors of mass killings and sexual assaults. The Kivu Security Tracker is a “data-centric crisis map” of atrocities in eastern Congo that has been used by policymakers, academics, journalists, and activists to “better understand trends, causes of insecurity and serious violations of international human rights and humanitarian law,” according to the deactivated site. This includes massacres, murders, rapes, and violence against activists and medical personnel by state security forces and armed groups, the site said.
But the KST’s lax security protocols appear to have accidentally doxxed up to 8,000 people, including activists, sexual assault survivors, United Nations staff, Congolese government officials, local journalists, and victims of attacks, an Intercept analysis found. Hundreds of documents — including 165 spreadsheets — that were on a public server contained the names, locations, phone numbers, and organizational affiliations of those sources, as well as sensitive information about some 17,000 “security incidents,” such as mass killings, torture, and attacks on peaceful protesters.