Obama Campaign Uses Big Data to Target Voters Block by Block

As reported by Richard McGregor in the Financial Times, one voter whose name, age, and address were published in the “Obama for America” app, which helps canvassers target doors to knock on, was decidedly nonplussed about having his personal information downloadable by anyone with a smartphone. “Everything is an invasion of privacy these days,” he said. “If I got excited about it, I would have had a coronary by now.” Others are less sanguine about the ways the Obama campaign is using technology, and data culled from social media, to micro-target voters. But both campaigns have tools that tell them a lot more about voters than their ages and addresses, and they’re using them to “slice and dice” the voting population in a way Barack Obama could have never envisioned when he gave his seminal 2004 convention speech.

As reported by Richard McGregor in the Financial Times, one voter whose name, age, and address were published in the “Obama for America” app, which helps canvassers target doors to knock on, was decidedly nonplussed about having his personal information downloadable by anyone with a smartphone. “Everything is an invasion of privacy these days,” he said. “If I got excited about it, I would have had a coronary by now.” Others are less sanguine about the ways the Obama campaign is using technology, and data culled from social media, to micro-target voters. But both campaigns have tools that tell them a lot more about voters than their ages and addresses, and they’re using them to “slice and dice” the voting population in a way Barack Obama could have never envisioned when he gave his seminal 2004 convention speech.

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