Obama campaign data mining information for fundraising, voters

Politico reports on how the Obama campaign is using data mining in its quest to win reelection:

Obama for America has already invested millions of dollars in sophisticated Internet messaging, marketing and fundraising efforts that rely on personal data sometimes offered up voluntarily — like posts on a Facebook page— but sometimes not.

And according to a campaign official and former Obama staffer, the campaign’s Chicago-based headquarters has built a centralized digital database of information about millions of potential Obama voters.

It all means Obama is finding it easier than ever to merge offline data, such as voter files and information purchased from data brokers, with online information to target people with messages that may appeal to their personal tastes. Privacy advocates say it’s just the sort of digital snooping that his new privacy project is supposed to discourage…

There’s an added twist for Obama: He’s making these moves at the same moment his administration is pushing the virtues of online privacy, last month proposing a consumer bill of rights to protect it.

This has been brewing for some time: back in July 2011, Ben Smith reported that the Obama campaign was advertising for “Predictive Modeling/Data Mining Scientists and Analysts.”

I really want to ask: what took so long? This is a gold mine for candidates.

I’ll be curious to see how far these hypocrisy charges go. If companies are going to make money off the Internet, don’t they have to have some of these abilities to put information together? Which group do people trust less to have their information: corporations or political parties?

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