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

posted at 12:23 pm on August 4, 2012 by

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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WOW. This needs to be elevated from the Green Room STAT.

ParisParamus on August 4, 2012 at 12:28 PM

This vil be veeery useful….

teacherman on August 4, 2012 at 1:02 PM

They might also want to set up an app to tell their supporters which homes have concealed carry holders.

traye on August 4, 2012 at 1:03 PM

Too bad it is not for Droid, I would actually like to see if I have any truly idiot neighbors

traye on August 4, 2012 at 1:05 PM

Creepy as hell.

This could have criminal implications as well. Safe assumption that registered dems aren’t armed. voila, a safe-home invasion app.

tom daschle concerned on August 4, 2012 at 1:12 PM

This could get problematic for Team Obama quickly, if the app doesn’t differentiate non-Democrat registered voters into Republicans and independents, and some of the more ‘passionate’ of Obama’s supporters decide to take action on their misguided information. Not something the swing voters are going to be happy about.

jon1979 on August 4, 2012 at 1:18 PM

Right to Privacy = Abortion
Right to Privacy ≠ Voter Registration

Got it.

Left Coast Right Mind on August 4, 2012 at 1:40 PM

These people never seem to get that tech is just a tool, with many uses depending on the intent of the user.

SDN on August 4, 2012 at 2:13 PM

… [V]oila, a safe-home invasion app.
tom daschle concerned on August 4, 2012 at 1:12 PM


Libocrites & proglodytes never seem to learn, do they?

DeepWheat on August 4, 2012 at 2:51 PM

But who knows what its siphoning off your phone?

clippermiami on August 4, 2012 at 4:26 PM

Safe assumption that registered dems aren’t armed.

Not really.

VerbumSap on August 4, 2012 at 4:32 PM

Not really.

VerbumSap on August 4, 2012 at 4:32 PM

Its another data point if you were profiling.

tom daschle concerned on August 4, 2012 at 5:22 PM

Its another data point if you were profiling.

tom daschle concerned on August 4, 2012 at 5:22 PM

Maybe, but not all Democrats are gun-grabbers, and of those who are, not all aren’t hypocrites. The plural of anecdote isn’t data, but I do know a lot of Democrats who are also gun owners. Licensed to carry, even. I’ve even been surprised by animal rights activists who are avid sport shooters. You just never know!

VerbumSap on August 4, 2012 at 6:39 PM

It will be very useful in the riots. Where before, black owners used to paint signs saying “Black Owned” so that rioters would pass them over and in Germany, store owners could paint “German Owned” so that the brown shirts would pass them over, now we have an App!

Technology is so exciting!

Bulletchaser on August 5, 2012 at 1:11 AM

That’s almost as creepy as the efforts in Wisconsin to name and shame voters recently.

JimK on August 5, 2012 at 8:53 AM

“.. name and shame voters..”

Well, heck .. it’s not like that app is private for Dems-only or something, eh ?

/targeting info

CaveatEmpty on August 5, 2012 at 10:59 AM

This post has been promoted to

Comments have been closed on this post but the discussion continues here.

Jazz Shaw on August 5, 2012 at 3:22 PM

At least the app doesn’t ID Republican households.

J.E. Dyer on August 5, 2012 at 12:13 PM

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