The communication set forth below is from a fine organization, one of the good guys. They are admitting to, even extolling certain monitoring data gathering capabilities. Nevertheless we are disturbed by the concept. WE HAVE NO DOUBT other good guys are/will be using it including the Trump campaign.  If they can do it anyone can make the same data buy and of course BIG GOV probably has it as well.  Read the communication and ponder the implications yourself.  We have some comments that follow it. Your comments, as always are encouraged.

catholicvote email logo

Dear CV Friend,

Remember the marketing gimmick:

“This is not your father’s Oldsmobile?”

Well, the Wall Street Journal just discovered that CV is not your father’s non-profit political organization.

The WSJ published a lengthy front page story today highlighting the use of location data from mobile phones purchased by political candidates and organizations. The story noted: “Campaigns can track down and segment potential voters based on apps they use and places they have been, including rallies, churches and gun clubs.”

I suspect you already know that the vast majority of cell phone users have agreed to share their location data in order to unlock extra features on popular apps. Big corporations like Macy’s, Home Depot, big sports franchises and many others purchase this data to reach potential customers.

So we decided to do the same thing … but with Catholic voters.

Starting last year, we created ad campaigns targeted to mobile devices that have been inside of Catholic churches. In a specific example cited by the WSJ, we told Catholics in Missouri the truth about then-Senator Claire McCaskill — that she was pro-abortion, was unwilling to protect the Little Sisters of the Poor, and opposed Catholic judicial nominees because of their religious beliefs.

And she lost.

The Journal reported:

During the 2018 midterm election, the conservative advocacy group CatholicVote drew on information harvested from [software development kits] in mobile apps to identify people who had set foot in Catholic churches at least twice within 60 days and assigned them a “religious intensity score” based on the frequency of their visits, according to the group and a consulting firm that worked for it. CatholicVote used that information to target roughly 600,000 people with ads for five Senate races, mostly in the Midwest. One ad in Missouri in support of Republican Josh Hawley for U.S. Senator called his opponent, Democrat Claire McCaskill, “anti-Catholic.” Sen. Hawley won.

I understand some of these efforts make people uneasy.

BUT CONSIDER THIS: pro-abortion politicians like Claire McCaskill, Nancy Pelosi and Joe Biden have masqueraded as faithful Catholics for decades. And NOTHING ever happens. Our churches forbid the distribution of outside voter guides and flyers in parking lots, and often say little to nothing from the pulpit, while warning of losing their tax-exempt status.

Meanwhile, last night Beto O’Rourke told a national television audience that he wants to strip the Catholic Church of its tax exempt status if we refuse to perform same-sex weddings!

We’re done tiptoeing around the Church hoping something will change.

The laity need to step up. And it’s our job to deliver the truth.

And we are not going to apologize.

We’re going directly to our fellow Catholics with the truth about these lying politicians!

And we’re going to triple our efforts in 2020.

YOU can help us create the biggest Catholic voter outreach ever assembled. Invest in this historic effort now!

We don’t need permission to reach millions of voters. You and I can now reach our fellow Catholics — especially Catholics who regularly attend church and proudly vote for pro-life candidates — with the bold, inspiring truth.

We’re measuring the impact of these innovative campaigns.

And I promise you they are making a big difference.

Just ask former Senator Claire McCaskill.


P.S. The media knows what we’re doing is effective. And so do pro-abortion politicians. We’re leading the way in helping to mobilize Catholics across America. Your support is helping make it happen.

Donate online now or send a check to:

CatholicVote 2020
PO BOX 259837
Madison, WI 53725

V’PAC comments and questions (not necessarily conclusions on our part):

Note that what the CV article above brags about involves smart cell phones which comprise the majority of cell phones in use (and maybe all cell phone use is subject to some such “data mining? ). The assignee (you) of a cell phone number can be determined, including your address and an extensive dossier of activities and (at least imputed) contacts based on geography not to mention the records of phone dials.

Some assumptions:

Cell phones are now potentially if not default virtual big-government / big-brother/ corporate monster GPS “ankle” monitors capable of monitoring your activities whereabouts, internet and phone contacts minute by minute.

Whether or not you have geo-specific apps operating on your phone the data reflecting your geographical associations via cell tower operations are still monitored by BIG CELL and becomes available to others.

Because the air-wave frequencies cell phone operations rely on are assigned/ licensed the authority exists to regulate.

This is far worse than robo calls as robo calls can be only an irritant providing data only when you specifically engage a call.

Policy considerations for discussion:

A lot of apps gather this data even though they do not need this for app-specific operations.  It is an add-on that they may or may not insist on in order for you to use their product — and perhaps artificially downgrading service for those who opt out of geo-location, if they offer such an opt-out.  This is done in order to establish a profit center of marketing and may be the reason in some cases for “free” apps.

Liberal agitators use this information and may have, or as a matter of course do have, an inside track to data metrics that others do not.

We understand the argument that such ilk could use the data to target not only their own activists but suppress conservatives with false information.

We understand the argument that conservatives must be competitive, use modern low cost tools, and that this may offer opportunities not otherwise available at a cost that can be met to reach conservatives and keep them informed and motivated.

We also understand that even some liberals oppose this sort of monitoring, of default data collection and even the propriety of opt-in as an affront to the security of the individual because opt-in can be so easily manipulated.

We believe opt-in/ opt-out provisions are often too vague and cumbersome and that normally any geo-data identifiable to the phone and therefore the owner should have opt-in /opt-out capabilities prominently and continuously available as a simple toggle on/off on every screen, or on an easily accessible pull down window with such availability displayed on each screen.

We believe restrictions on the use or trade of such data are properly imposed as a matter of protecting civil liberties and the security of the person, protecting anonymity is a competing social good that deserves presumptive consideration. If some company wants a dossier they can sit with the customer or ask them to fill out a survey.  What is being done now surreptitiously and without regulation is data mining for profiling and monitoring of activities as a business in and of itself.

As an adjunct to appropriate regulation certification agencies should be created (private) to inform and insure that no data is sold and to advice cell-phone users of compliance by all apps downloaded to the phone.

One or another policy consideration above might obviate another.

R Mall

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