of your neighbors are registered Democrats? Now you can find out with a new iPhone app developed by the Obama re-election team.
The new app unveiled by the Obama campaign rubs elbows with Google maps, displaying a map with blue flags on it, each representing the closest registered Democrat households to your standing location, reports Newser. Each blue flag also reveals a first name, age, and gender of the registered Democrat who owns the home. Surely, some will react negatively to what seems to be a gross invasion of privacy, but all of the data the Obama app provides has already been publicly available (though to acquire it would involve a visit to a field office).
The Obama app’s primary function is to connect volunteers for the campaign to voters.
Though the New York Times seemingly lauded the new Obama app as “the science-fiction dream of political operatives,” voters are decidedly less taken with it. “I do think it’s something useful for them, but it’s also creepy,” said 58-year-old Brooklyn resident Lori Carena. “My neighbors across the street can know that I’m a Democrat. I’m not sure I like that.”
Answering the hypothetical abuses to privacy, the Obama campaign has reassured users that it will be watching for abuse of the app. “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 a campaign spokesperson. “Any voter who requests not to be contacted again is immediately removed from any provided to volunteers.”
Of course, this isn’t the first time such a canvassing program has been made available to the public, reports ProPublica. In 2008, the Obama campaign used a similar program called “Neighbor to Neighbor,” allowing volunteers to print similar data from their home computers. The 2010 mid-term elections saw what some may call a prototype to the new Obama app, which volunteers used to mobilize Obama’s supporters at that time.
What do you think of the Obama campaign’s Democrat tracking app? Cool and convenient election tool or massive invasion of privacy? Sound off below!