Obama campaign mobile app reveals which of your neighbors are registered Dems

posted at 5:01 pm on August 5, 2012 by Howard Portnoy

Just when you thought the Obama campaign couldn’t get any weirder, along comes its latest high-tech gift. Meet the Obama for America app for iPhone, a tool that allows you to spy on your neighbors to determine which of them are naughty (read: not Obama supporters) and which are nice. What you do with that information is entirely up to you.

The website ProPublica explains how the app works. The end-user types in his current location. The app returns a Google map of the area that flags households with one or more registered Democrats. Clicking on one of the blue flags reveals the first name, last initial, age, and gender of Democratic voters who live there. Not creepy at all.

ProPublica’s Lois Beckett notes that this information is publicly available and that canvassers for political campaigns have long had access to it. The question is why Obama for America thinks the average man on the street should have it at his fingertips.

An Obama spokesman is quoted as saying:

The campaign is strongly committed to ensuring the safety and privacy of the public and follows up with appropriate action, including alerting appropriate authorities if necessary, in any case of abuse or inappropriate behavior. Any voter who requests not to be contacted again is immediately removed from any provided to volunteers.

The assurances about “safety and privacy” might be easier to swallow if the campaign hadn’t previously come out with other online gems, including:

Careful readers will recall that the Obama campaign’s efforts to get voters in other voters’ faces predates his presidency, finding expression in then-candidate 2008 Obama’s “Neighbor to Neighbor” campaign.

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