The Wall Street Journal published a story on Thursday that’s sure to have privacy advocates breaking out in a cold sweat. An excerpt…
Political Campaigns Know Where You’ve Been. They’re Tracking Your Phone.
When Donald Trump took the stage last month in Fayetteville, N.C., to support Republican candidate Dan Bishop in a special election, thousands of people showed up.
Mr. Bishop was seeking their support. An outside Republican group was looking for something more. It wanted their data.
Unknown to the crowd, the Committee to Defend the President, a Republican political-action committee that supports Mr. Trump, had hired a company to collect unique identification numbers from attendees’ smartphones that evening, based on location data those phones were sending to third parties. The goal was to target ads at people it could drive to the polls the next day. Mr. Bishop won by about 3,800 votes.
The PAC now plans to use the technique, which is called geofencing, in the run-up to the 2020 presidential election in about half a dozen swing states to find people who may not be registered to vote, said its chairman, Ted Harvey.
“It’s another aggressive, on-the-ground effort to get those people identified,” Mr. Harvey said.
I’m not going to wade into the debate over whether this new voter ID technique is “right” or “wrong.” That’s for you to decide.
But you better be aware of it. Because even though you might choose not to do it…your opponent might!
Dr. Chuck Muth, PsD
THE CAMPAIGN DOCTOR
Professor of Psephology*
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* Psephology (see-follow-gee): The study of campaigns and elections