View Full Version : Voter privacy? What a quaint concept...

01-31-2008, 02:33 PM

“What we do is help a campaign run more and more like an effective business,” Phillips says as he types on his laptop, bringing up on a large projection screen the profile of an actual voter in Atlanta, whom we’ll call John Smith.

Phillips hits a button and up pops Smith’s basic information—address, phone number, etc. A click of the mouse brings more personal information—his photograph, his age and occupation, the names of his adult family members, his party affiliation and approximate income. Another click summons the exact amounts of political donations he has made. Phillips clicks once more, and a kind of molecular model appears on-screen, showing every political donor and potentially influential person Smith is linked to, in Atlanta and beyond, with dozens of interlocking nodes. Each node leads to the profile of another voter, about whom Aristotle knows just as much or more. ...

Aristotle’s massive private database contains detailed information about roughly 175 million American voters.

Aristotle can tell its clients more than just the predictable stuff—where you live, your phone number, who lives with you, your birthday, how many children you have. It may also know how much you make, how much your house is worth, what kind of car you drive, what Web sites you visit, and whether you went to college, attend church, own guns, have had a sex change, or have been convicted of a felony or sex crime. It can pry into every corner of your life.

And while it’s true that millions of Americans have grown comfortable with the idea of posting their own personal information on social-networking sites such as Facebook and MySpace, what Aristotle does is far more comprehensive—and anything but voluntary. “[Aristotle’s] records go back to the beginning of computers, in the 1970s,” says University of Washington professor Philip Howard, the author of New Media Campaigns and the Managed Citizen. “If people got to see how much data on their personal credit cards, driving records, magazine subscriptions, and political contributions—20, 30 years’ worth of history—is collected in these places, that would be very upsetting to most Americans. And there’s no chance of opting out of or accessing these political databases. We don’t have access to our electronic political identities.”Kaa

Bruce Hooke
01-31-2008, 02:41 PM
Voter privacy! HELL, privacy itself seems to be a quaint concept!

George Roberts
01-31-2008, 02:43 PM
What his information does not show is that a legislator was at my wife's business last week. (He pays for tax returns. We do not donate to his campaign.)

Some of the conversation was about some state issues that would affect my wife's business. The legislator handled the matter.

Voting is worthless. Face time is priceless.

01-31-2008, 02:47 PM
Voting is worthless. Face time is priceless.

"Don Corleone, I am honored and grateful that you have invited me to your home on the wedding day of your daughter."