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Is Your Neighbor a Democrat? There's an App For That 550

theodp writes "ProPublica's Lois Beckett reports that the Obama for America campaign's new mobile app is raising privacy concerns with its Google map that recognizes one's current location, marks nearby Democratic households with small blue flags, and displays the first name, age and gender of the voter or voters who live there (e.g.,'Lori C., 58 F, Democrat'). Asked about the privacy aspects of the new app, a spokesperson for the Obama campaign wrote that 'anyone familiar with the political process in America knows this information about registered voters is available and easily accessible to the public.' Harvard law prof Jonathan Zittrain said the Obama app does represent a significant shift. While voter data has been 'technically public,' it is usually accessed only by political campaigns and companies that sell consumer data. 'Much of our feelings around privacy are driven by what you might call status-quo-ism,' Zittrain added, 'so many people may feel that the app is creepy simply because it represents something new.'"
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Is Your Neighbor a Democrat? There's an App For That

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  • by FrostDust ( 1009075 ) on Sunday August 05, 2012 @11:13PM (#40890981)

    It appears your hunch isn't that far off from reality:

    SCOTUS Rules Petiton Signatures Are Public Record [].

  • And once again (Score:4, Informative)

    by kilodelta ( 843627 ) on Sunday August 05, 2012 @11:29PM (#40891099) Homepage
    They act as though IOS is the only platform. I searched on Google Play (Stupid name btw, Market was much better!) and no such app exists for Android.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Sunday August 05, 2012 @11:32PM (#40891121)

    This database been used by Choicepoint for years for Gerrymandering. When you read that a GOP mob will be challenging black voters in district X, it's because Choicepoint has worked out that district X is the best chance of swinging the vote by barring black voters. Ethnicity they mine from one database, the voting preference from this database.

    Remember the voter cleansing list? Crossed referenced with Choicepoint (DBT as it was then). The list of mostly Democrats purged from the Florida electoral roll for having similar names to convicted felons in other states. Where do you think they got the list of Democrats from to filter by??

    This data should be private, perhaps showing people the public data about them will finally help it be kept private.

    Who you vote for is your business, and nobody elses.

  • One more nail (Score:5, Informative)

    by chicago_scott ( 458445 ) on Sunday August 05, 2012 @11:38PM (#40891165) Journal

    Yet another way Democrats and Republicans have devised to drive voters to register (and vote) as independents. Let's hope this trend keeps up!

  • by Anonymous Coward on Monday August 06, 2012 @12:45AM (#40891505)

    Lets see, Obama will turn America into a true police state

    Stop going to Infowars. That shit will rot your brain faster than cable news.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Monday August 06, 2012 @01:58AM (#40891829)

    You don't have to register for any party, because you can select independent. You have to register with a party if you want to vote in their private elections. The primaries aren't official government election. They're elections held by the parties to see who will represent them in the official elections. Some of them don't require you to register, but most do.

  • You can (Score:4, Informative)

    by Quila ( 201335 ) on Monday August 06, 2012 @02:01AM (#40891843)

    The two parties own our political process. They make it difficult for anyone but them to get on the ballot. They even have "straight ticket" checkboxes on ballots so you don't have to go through the trouble of voting for individuals based on their qualifications, but simply vote for every Democrat or Republican on the ballot.

    But in the end, you can vote for whoever you want to vote for in the general election.

    The biggest reason for the party registration is that most states don't allow you to vote in a party's primary unless you're registered to a party, and a person registered for one party can't vote in another party's primary (vote for the weakest candidate). Yes, that's another way the two parties have owned our system: The government actually runs and pays for their primary elections when it should be their own business who they put up for election, and entirely with their own money.

  • by ArcherB ( 796902 ) on Monday August 06, 2012 @02:42AM (#40892097) Journal

    Or you might be scared of right wing domestic terrorists murdering you... as just happened to some Sikh's today

    You mean like the right winger that shot Gabrielle Giffords, the one that flew the plane into the IRS building in Austin or the one that just shot up a Batman movie.

    Oh, right! None of those guys were right wingers, but they were all reported to be, just like you are trying to report this guy to be.

  • by TheRaven64 ( 641858 ) on Monday August 06, 2012 @03:15AM (#40892261) Journal
    The difference is that party membership in the UK is just as private as being a member of any other group - for good reason, the early members of the labour movement were harassed and arrested. Making the membership records public makes any number of abuses easy. There was a lot of furore last year when the BNP membership list was made public, for example. Membership lists are also now covered by EU and UK data protection legislation, so the party must ensure that they are not shared with other companies without explicit permission of the individual. The 'usually accessed only by political campaigns and companies that sell consumer data' bit of the summary would be completely illegal in the UK.
  • by sumdumass ( 711423 ) on Monday August 06, 2012 @04:43AM (#40892645) Journal

    is your google finger broke or something? the mayor of boston said he was going to stop a fast food chain from expanding in boston, the mayor of Chicago said the same chain didn't fit in have the same values as Chicago while one if his alderman lackies said he was intentionally blocking the opening of a new restaurant in his district. The mayor of san fransycso made comment implying he was going to pull the same crap.

    If you don't know what is happening, perhaps you shouldn't be commenting?

  • by Impy the Impiuos Imp ( 442658 ) on Monday August 06, 2012 @05:27AM (#40892829) Journal

    Or Republicans for that matter. A few years ago Democrats requested a list of people who signed a petition to get something on the ballot. Their admitted intent was to hassle and intimidate these people.

    The Supreme Court upheld the request, as that is technically public information, but expressed geat concern over gros. That's a hint to Congress that they maybe might wanna do something about it.

  • by makomk ( 752139 ) on Monday August 06, 2012 @05:43AM (#40892881) Journal

    Probably because not enough people paid attention to the fact that Chick-Fil-A was donating to anti-gay groups until their COO publicly talked about their stance on marriage.

  • Re:You can (Score:5, Informative)

    by jbolden ( 176878 ) on Monday August 06, 2012 @07:42AM (#40893273) Homepage

    That was the argument of the Texas Democratic party in Smith v. Allwright. That it was a private event and therefore they had every right not to allow blacks to participate. The supreme court found that primaries are a compelling part of the American electoral system and therefore not entirely private matters.

  • by AngryDeuce ( 2205124 ) on Monday August 06, 2012 @07:43AM (#40893281)

    Yeah, why would you all care if someone knew what party you registered with.

    You know, I didn't used to care. Then recall season hit here in Wisconsin, and happy groups like this [] started popping up on Facebook, not to mention tons of veiled threats online (I received plenty just commenting on during the height of the circulation)...and even a few open ones. Then, of course, the employers started getting harassed over their employees having signed the recall petitions and shit like this [] started happening.

    While I'm not afraid of those people when it comes to violence against me (they're largely trailer park living, welfare collecting, hypocritical cowards), when those signatures were released I was definitely worried about repercussions in the workplace. [] How do you prove you were terminated in response to political ideology? Even if you could prove it, political affiliation is not considered a protected class [].

    Maybe if you'd lived up here in Wisconsin over the last year you would understand better why shit like this being made public could intimidate some people.

  • by jbolden ( 176878 ) on Monday August 06, 2012 @08:08AM (#40893395) Homepage

    It's not public. It's only public because the dems disclosed it. You can't tell who is and is not registered republican in that way.

    Yes you can. You can go down to your local office and get the voter registration rolls for your town, including Republicans anytime you want. This information is legally public. It is not private and then disclosed.

  • by ganjadude ( 952775 ) on Monday August 06, 2012 @11:06AM (#40894899) Homepage
    pretty much. Once they were put in their place for not respecting the first amendment, they couldnt just stop. So they dug deeper and tried to find some reason to justify their hate.

    the only hate I have seen, has been coming from those who disagree with mr cathy

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