Kennesaw State University says a computer server holding state election data was wiped clean after copies of it were made by the FBI and the agency told KSU its investigation into a possible hack was complete.
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A group suing the state, charging Georgia’s voting system is outdated and not secure, says KSU erased the server in July after its lawsuit was filed. The group says data on the server may have revealed whether state elections were hacked.
“This was not accidental. This was something that was conducted with purpose to make sure that the information could never be recovered again,” said Richard DeMillo, a computing professor at Georgia Tech who has been closely watching the case.
KSU’s Center of Elections Systems holds the state contract to maintain the statewide electronic voting system. In a statement, KSU said erasing the server was done according to “standard procedure.”
“Following the notification from the FBI that no data was compromised and the investigation was closed, the server was returned to the University’s Information Technology Services group and securely stored,” the statement said.
The server was taken out of storage after a so-called “after-action” report concluded it could be erased and repurposed, KSU said.
The Georgia Attorney General’s office filed a subpoena in federal court Thursday, saying it will seek copies of the server from the FBI.
A court filing says the Attorney General’s office wants those copies as an “abundance of caution,” just in case they may be relevant in the lawsuit against the state’s voting system.
Georgia’s top Democrat in the state House of Representatives, Minority Leader Bob Trammell, is calling for an independent investigation.
“We’re not talking about a situation where there was some type of accident or mistake, but rather this is an intentional action to destroy data.”
Georgia Secretary of State Brian Kemp has started an internal investigation into the server wipeout.