October 18, 2012, 4:30 PM —
There are less than 20 days left in our election cycle, but it feels more like 200. I don’t know about you, but between TV ads, junk mail hit pieces, political spam, volunteers knocking at my doors, and robo calls for or against one candidate or another, I’m about ready to go postal. I’m sure the residents of Massachusetts, Florida, Ohio, and Pennsylvania feel likewise.
As The Daily Show’s Jon Stewart implored the other night, “Please God, make it stop.” But Jon is appealing to the wrong deity. This is clearly the work of Satan. And the devil has no interest in leaving us alone this close to the first Tuesday in November.
As the New York Times’ Charles Duhigg noted in a report last week, both presidential campaigns are amassing more data about us from more sources than ever before, and they are using it in more insidious ways.
Consultants to both campaigns said they had bought demographic data from companies that study details like voters’ shopping histories, gambling tendencies, interest in get-rich-quick schemes, dating preferences and financial problems. The campaigns themselves, according to campaign employees, have examined voters’ online exchanges and social networks to see what they care about and whom they know. ….
The campaigns have planted software known as cookies on voters’ computers to see if they frequent evangelical or erotic Web sites for clues to their moral perspectives. Voters who visit religious Web sites might be greeted with religion-friendly messages when they return tomittromney.com or barackobama.com.
What are they doing with all that data? They’re using it to target you with very specific campaign pitches. And I do mean you, Mr. loves the Boston Red Sox, hates clam chowder, shops at Target, drinks Red Bull, and Likes Honey Boo Boo’s Facebook fan page.
At this point it’s too late to get these a****s to stop harassing us. But there ways you can limit some of the information the campaigns get about you the next time round. Let’s start with the presidential campaign Web sites where, frankly, the news isn’t very good.