Tuesday, February 12, 2013

Will Democrats Sell Voter Data to Commercial Marketers?

Will Democrats start selling voter opinion data to commercial marketers? The National Voter File Co-op, formed in 2011 by state Democratic Party leaders to sell voter data to approved nonprofit groups, is looking into whether commercial interests, such as credit card companies or retailers like Target, also will want to buy their voter information, which includes opinions and preferences as well as public record data. The Co-op goal is to recoup money local Democratic parties have spent collecting and updating their local voter lists, which include voters of all parties. Each state Democratic Party will have the final say over whether to sell their voter information for commercial purposes, and sales will abide by individual state laws on how public voting records can be used. But experts note that state political data laws do not apply to opinion information provided by voters to the party, say through campaign canvassers, or collected from primary participation. So there may be controversy ahead for Democratic data marketers. In his "Consumer Privacy Bill of Rights" released last year, President Barack Obama argued that when companies collect personal data from consumers, they should only share it in ways consumers expect. Does that standard apply to a political party? For the full story, go to http://www.propublica.org/article/will-democrats-sell-your-political-opinions-to-credit-card-companies

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