Friday, October 15, 2010

A Spoonful Of Investigation Helps The Election Go Down

I get quite a few press releases from both right and left wing groups - helps me in my journalistic work.

Just received this from Pajamas Media (affiliated with the National Tea Party):

"Democrats’ Online Phone Bank System Compromises Americans’ Identity Security" which goes on to charge that the DNC and Organizing for America (President's Obama's election campaign staff and volunteers) are exposing Americans to identity theft.

So I checked out the website they are criticizing ( and found that this charge is completely unfounded. The information provided to potential phone bankers is LESS than what is routinely provided by whitepages dot com.

But it sounds much worse in the Pajamas press release because they spin it as an invasion of privacy:

"Notice that you didn’t have to put in any of your information to get real information on voters that the Democrats want their phone bankers to call. You didn’t have to tell them who you are, where you are, or anything. You can use their info to call anyone on their list, and you don’t have to tell the DNC or OfA what transpired in the conversation. Or even if a conversation transpired at all.

Now, you can put location info in there, such as your zip code to find people near you to call. But you don’t have to, and you don’t have to log in to the system to get any of that information.

This is a massive security problem for anyone whose name is on that list, which appears to include identified Democrats and Independents. And it’s caused by the Democrats and Organizing for America. With full names and phone numbers easily available, there’s probably enough there for identity thieves to go to work."

Well, there's "probably" enough information printed on the outside of my mailbox for "identity thieves to go to work."

Best available version of the truth this is NOT!


Blogger rasqual said...

OK, so what if nefarious Obama opponents wish to script clicks on the forms? That's pretty simple to do. Even if it were not an invasion of privacy, it's pretty stupid. For example, Republicans could call all the numbers and say "I got your number from the Obama web site, who's posting your private information there. Here, I'll even tell you the link so you can see what they've done. Do you really want folks like that securing your health records and managing your insurance?"

October 16, 2010 at 2:04 PM  
Blogger Radioview said...

Rasqual: Well, to be honest, I'm still not buying this whole "internet thing" and claims that our bits of information are really secure. But life is a series of choices along a risk/benefit spectrum. I wish more people would hit the streets instead of sitting in front of their computers, but having said that - as I type away at my keyboard - I think on-line organizing offers potentially more benefit than cost. And don't forget: the Democrats are being criticized here for performing many of the same tactics the Republicans have utilized for years; to great success. How hypocritical. Your comparison, by the way, to single payer health care, seems dubious to me. A system of universal health care financing would OF COURSE need a strict set of rules regarding personally identifiable information (PII) much different than the rules on engaging potential voters. - dave goodman

October 22, 2010 at 4:21 PM  
Blogger wooo said...

The old tactics still work ... fear fear and more fear ... quite powerful when combined with the ignorance most people have about technologies like security and the web. I think it would be worthwhile (and maybe it's already been done) to find a cheap antidote to fear. Education is the expensive one so maybe there isn't a cheap one, I dunno.

November 13, 2010 at 6:54 AM  

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