Does the Obama Campaign Violate Voters’ Privacy?

Barackobama.com gives donors’ personal contact information to “other organizations”

Most people don’t want their home addresses and phone numbers given to total strangers, but Barack Obama’s “Neighbor to Neighbor” program seems to do exactly this. In addition, it has been alleged that the Obama campaign is giving out people’s voter ID numbers as well as their home phone numbers. Barackobama.com says openly, meanwhile, that it gives donors’ personal information to other organizations.


Neighbor to Neighbor: Reach Out to Voters in your Community
says openly that the Obama campaign gives out people’s private information to total strangers–anyone who signs up can get personal contact information for dozens of neighbors.

    You can go door to door or make calls at any time that’s convenient for you.

    When you log in you’ll see that we’ve prepared all the resources that you need, including:

    * A list of voters in your neighborhood who we need to reach out to

This, and the campaign’s stated position that it will give donors’ private information to other organizations, compels us to ask whether Barackobama.com is a safe place to be on the Internet.

Here is what Barack Hussein Obama tells his online users.

    Our Online Privacy Policy

    We at BarackObama.com are committed to protecting the privacy and security of your visits to this website. Outlined below is our online privacy policy. If you have questions about this policy, please let us know.

    Collection and disclosure of information:

    The Federal Election Commission requires us to collect certain information from every donor who gives money to us. For these reasons, we collect some information that can be directly associated with a specific person. We call this “Personal Information,” and it includes, by way of illustration, names, addresses, telephone numbers and e-mail addresses.

    We collect Personal Information from donors and other eligible individuals who affirmatively request to receive e-mail or other services from us. We collect this Personal Information in order to provide these eligible individuals with timely information via e-mail regarding political events, resources and issues. We also collect Personal Information from those who make online contributions to the campaign, in order to process and report the contributions.

    It is our general policy not to make Personal Information available to anyone other than our employees, staff, and agents. We may also make personal information available to organizations with similar political viewpoints and objectives, in furtherance of our own political objectives.

In other words, Obama is talking out of both sides of his mouth or, as Native Americans might put it, “he speaks with forked tongue.” In one sentence, his campaign says it does not make personal information available to anybody but employees, staff, and agents. In the next, Barackobama.com says it gives your personal information, including presumably home address, phone number, and E-mail to “organizations with similar political viewpoints and objectives.” We do not know what, if anything, prevents those organizations from giving or selling your name, home address, phone number, and E-mail address to junk mailers, telemarketers, and/or spammers. We don’t know if the Obama campaign knows either, or if it cares. The privacy page continues,

    Privacy of our email lists:

    As noted above, we maintain e-mail lists to keep interested, eligible individuals informed about important topics, and individuals must affirmatively request to join them. We configure our list server software to refuse to divulge the email addresses of our list subscribers to anyone other than those whom we authorize. However, we are not the author of this software, and are not responsible for any failures in the software to preserve subscriber anonymity.

Right, Barry, it’s “above your pay grade” or, as Al Gore might say, you have “no controlling authority.” This is typical of Barry’s management of his campaign Web site. Local talk show host Steve Corbett says a threatening E-mail was sent to him via Barackobama.com, and my.barackobama.com is on record as hosting anti-Semitic, ageist, and misogynist hate speech. My.Barackobama.com also tries to disclaim responsibility for hate speech, libel, and even death wishes for Bill and Hillary Clinton, President Bush, and John McCain, even though the moderators’ exercise of editorial control makes it at least morally responsible for its content.

Remember, Barackobama.com says “We are not responsible for any failures in the software to preserve subscriber anonymity,” and the privacy page says openly that it shares personal information with “other organizations.” Why don’t we just shorten it to “We are not responsible” and leave it at that, while allowing readers to judge for themselves whether Barackobama.com is a safe place to be on the Internet?

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