Obama Campaign App Raises Privacy Concerns
WASHINGTON (CBSDC) — A new app released by President Obama’s campaign team has raised privacy fears.
The free Obama for America app – which can be downloaded for the iPhone and Android – gives users the first name, last initial, gender and addresses of registered Democrats.
“Sign up to canvass—then get started right away with a list of voters in your neighborhood. Access scripts and enter feedback and responses in real time as you go,” the campaign states on its website.
The app has raised the ire of privacy advocates.
“It doesn’t make it right just because it’s legal,” Shaun Dakin, CEO and founder of The National Political Do Not Contact Registry, told The Washington Post. “Anybody can get this. There’s no way to prevent anyone from downloading this.”
Justin Brookman, a consumer privacy expert at the Center for Democracy and Technology, told Reuters that people with bad intentions can easily access the app.“The concern is making it available to people who may have bad intent and that fear could deter people from giving money,” Brookman explained to Reuters.
The Obama campaign said in a statement to The Washington Post that they will ensure the privacy of the public.
“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 associated with our field activities, including online tools such as the app,” the statement to the Post said. “Any voter who requests not to be contacted again is immediately removed from any lists provided to volunteers.”
One registered Democrat called the app “creepy.”
“I do think it’s something useful for them, but it’s also creepy,” Lori Carena, 58, told ProPublica. “My neighbors across the street can know that I’m a Democrat. I’m not sure I like that.”
The Obama for America app will also let volunteers share breaking news and find presidential events in their area.