New Obama App Rats Out Neighbors’ Political Affiliation
August 6, 2012
The Internet is abuzz with news of a new Obama campaign smart phone app that identifies all the Democrats in your neighborhood.
Released last week, the app works through Google maps. Upon entering an address, the app reveals the registered Democrats nearby, names them, and notes their sex and age. Consequently, it will also inform you of which households aren’t registered Democrats by process of elimination and by seeing those houses not identified as Democrats!
For each Democrat ID a map “flagpin” appears along with information about the voter that lives there. For instance, you might get info about Lori C., age 58, Female, Democrat. Her info appears on your screen as “Lori C. 58 F Democrat.”
The Obama campaign intends to use this app for door-to-door campaign visits by campaign district walkers, but this app isn’t restricted to just Obama campaign workers. Anyone can get it.
Some voters are a bit uneasy that just anyone can so easily look up their voter information on a smart phone app.
Propublica contacted the “Lori C.” mentioned above and she said she was a bit “creeped out” over the whole thing.
“I do think it’s something useful for them, but it’s also creepy,” said Lori Carena, 58, a long-time Brooklyn resident, when she was shown the app. “My neighbors across the street can know that I’m a Democrat. I’m not sure I like that.”
This is all public information and is the sort of targeted voter info that all campaigns use in some way or another, whether for mailed ads or door-to-door visits. In the past campaigns, had to go to a County Clerk’s office or a Secretary of State’s office to get this voter information and usually this information was doled out to campaign workers only and was not available in such a public manner.
For those curious about safety concerns, the Obama campaign said it has safeguards built into the app. If too many addresses are entered in a short period of time, for instance, the app will shut down. Those identified by the app can also request to be removed from the app’s search parameters, campaign spokesmen said.
“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,” said the [Obama campaign] spokesperson. “Any voter who requests not to be contacted again is immediately removed from any provided to volunteers.”
The ease of using a smart phone app to identify neighbors and their voting affiliation does raise privacy concerns and the “safety” features don’t satisfy everyone.
It is one thing if a campaign has to go to the trouble of going to a government office to obtain all this voting info for their targeted campaign efforts, but quite another if just anyone can do the same thing in seconds on an iPhone.
In fact, Propublica notes a university professor that thinks it’s great that people can easily find out the voting affiliation of their neighbors. He thinks it’s a wonderful idea to be able to harass neighbors that don’t agree with you politically and suggests that such unsolicited interaction should is justifiable under the guise of dialog.
**Written by Warner Todd Huston**
THIS ISN’T THE FIRST TIME SPYING on PEOPLE has been put forth by the OBAMA CAMPAIGN.
READ at blue link below:
Obama Campaign Again Urging Supporters to Report on Non-Believers. Is the Obama Campaign being Gestapo-esque?
OR INTERNET INFORMATION:
A bit of history…….
Although the Gestapo is generally associated with SS Leader Heinrich Himmler, it was actually founded by Hermann Göring in April 1933.
Upon becoming Chancellor of Germany, Adolf Hitler had appointed Göring as Minister of the Interior for the State of Prussia, Germany’s biggest and most important state, which controlled two thirds of the country, including the capital, Berlin, and the big industrial centers. As Minister of the Interior, Göring thereby had control of the police.
The first thing he did was to prohibit regular uniformed police from interfering with Nazi Brownshirts out in the streets. This meant that innocent German citizens had no one to turn to as they were being beaten up by rowdy young storm troopers drunk with their newfound power and quite often drunk on beer. These young Nazi toughs took full advantage of police leniency to loot shops at will and terrorize Jews or anyone else unfortunate enough to be caught in the wrong place at the wrong time.
On April 26, 1933, a decree was issued creating the Secret Police Office (Geheime Polizei Amt) which quickly became known as the GPA. But this abbreviation was far too similar to the GPU abbreviation used by the Soviet Political Police in Russia. Thus, the name was changed to Secret State Police (Geheime Staats Polizei). The actual term ‘Gestapo’ was supposedly created by a Berlin postal official who wanted a name that would fit on a regulation-sized postal rubber stamp. Gestapo was derived from seven letters within the full name Geheime Staats Polizei. Unknowingly, the postal official had invented one of the most notorious names in history.
Göring promptly began using the Gestapo to silence Hitler’s political opponents in Berlin and surrounding areas and also to enhance his own personal power. Much to his delight, Göring discovered that the old Prussian state police had kept many secret files on the private lives of top Nazis, which he studied with delight.
On February 10, 1936, the Nazi Reichstag passed the ‘Gestapo Law’ which included the following paragraph: “Neither the instructions nor the affairs of the Gestapo will be open to review by the administrative courts.” This meant the Gestapo was now above the law and there could be no legal appeal regarding anything it did.
Indeed, the Gestapo became a law unto itself. It was entirely possible for someone to be arrested, interrogated and sent to a concentration camp for incarceration or summary execution, without any outside legal procedure.
Justice in Hitler’s Germany was completely arbitrary, depending on the whim of the man in power, the man who had you in his grip. The legal policy as proclaimed by Hitler in 1938 was: “All means, even if they are not in conformity with existing laws and precedents, are legal if they subserve the will of the Führer.”
Surprisingly, the Gestapo was never actually a very big organization. At its peak it employed only about 40,000 individuals, including office personnel and the plain-clothes agents. But each Gestapo agent operated at the center of a large web of spies and informants. The problem for the average citizen was that no one ever knew for sure just who those informants were. It could be anyone, your milkman, the old lady across the street, a quiet co-worker, even a schoolboy. As a result, fear ruled the day. Most people realized the necessity of self-censorship and generally kept their mouths shut politically, unless they had something positive to say.
Anyone foolish enough to say something risky or tell an anti-Nazi joke in mixed company might get a knock on the door in the middle of the night or a tap on the shoulder while walking along the street. Letters were also sent out demanding an appearance at No. 8 Prinz Albrecht Strasse, the Gestapo headquarters in Berlin, to answer a few questions. The Gestapo prison center in Berlin (the Columbia-Haus) became notorious as a place where pedestrians strolling outside the building could hear screaming coming from inside.