Dear political campaigns: Just leave me the &%#*! alone

You may not be able to stop political junk mail, spam, or robocalls, but you can slow them down. Here's how.


This can be a difficult thing to do. Rules for doing this vary widely from state to state, but you can typically only do this in extreme circumstances – like you’re a victim of domestic violence and need to shield your address from an abusive spouse, or you’re a cop who doesn’t want criminals with a vendetta showing up on his doorstep. Start with your State Board of Elections to see if this is possible and what you need to do.

The amount of data collected by the campaigns is yet more evidence that we need a consumer privacy bill of rights, as proposed by the Obama administration last February, says Coney. But that alone isn’t enough. We also need the ability to see what data campaigns have collected about us and how they’re using it, as well as the ability to say “No thanks.”

When the dust settles on Wednesday, November 7 (at least, I hope it’s settled by then – I don’t think my heart could take a replay of Bush-Gore 2000), the question becomes: What happens to all this data?

“Does that data go away?” asks Coney. “Does it get inherited by the candidate’s political party? Is it passed on as currency to the next candidate? Will it be brokered to third parties?”

And once political candidates have used data mining to predict how we’ll vote, what’s to keep commercial companies from doing the same things to predict what brand of toothpaste we’ll buy or what cars we secretly crave? Nothing, says Coney.

“This is going to be a part of life as we know it going forward,” she says.

Unless, of course, we manage to elect someone willing to do something about it. What are the odds?

Got a question about social media? TY4NS blogger Dan Tynan may have the answer (and if not, he’ll make something up). Visit his snarky, occasionally NSFW blog eSarcasm or follow him on Twitter: @tynanwrites. For the latest IT news, analysis and how-to’s, follow ITworld on Twitter and Facebook.

Now read this:

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