iPhone app sparks Obama camp voter drive, privacy fears

“President Barack Obama’s re-election campaign has taken its digital infrastructure to the streets, arming its ground troops with mobile software that maps Democratic voters and canvassing strategies – and raising the blood pressure of privacy activists who worry about possible misuse,” Eric Johnson reports for Reuters.
“The mobile application, which was publicly released last week, is a free download for use with an Apple iPhone,” Johnson reports. “It re-purposes already public information about registered voters, such as their first name and last initial, age, gender and street address. A version for Google’s mobile platform, Android, was to be released on Thursday, the Obama campaign said.”

“Besides immediately being able to locate, register and tap nearby Democrats for cash – and send intel back to a database – the ‘Obama for America’ app is essentially a portal to all things Obama,” Johnson reports. “But the implications of having a stranger’s name and address at one’s fingertips has raised the hackles of privacy advocates, said Justin Brookman, a consumer privacy expert at the Center for Democracy and Technology, and their concern is not annoying pleas for cash. ‘The concern is making it available to people who may have bad intent and that fear could deter people from giving money’ or otherwise participating in the political process, Brookman said…

Johnson reports, “Mitt Romney’s campaign on July 31 released its mobile app, designed to inform supporters of the former governor’s vice presidential running mate, an announcement expected any day.”

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