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March 08, 2006

Hillary!, Soros, & Ickes Plan "Able Danger" To ID Democratic Voters

Apparently it's okay to data-mine to determine Americans' likely political preferences so they can be targeted for mailings, but it's a gross breach of the Constitution to use the same techniques to find likely terrorists:

A group of well-connected Democrats led by a former top aide to Bill Clinton is raising millions of dollars to start a private firm that plans to compile huge amounts of data on Americans to identify Democratic voters and blunt what has been a clear Republican lead in using technology for political advantage.

The effort by Harold Ickes, a deputy chief of staff in the Clinton White House and an adviser to Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton (D-N.Y.), is prompting intense behind-the-scenes debate in Democratic circles. Officials at the Democratic National Committee think that creating a modern database is their job, and they say that a competing for-profit entity could divert energy and money that should instead be invested with the national party.

Note the argument is about money, not the principle of data-mining. The DNC suspects this is largely an operation to benefit Hillary! only, and resents that.

So... no problem with using powerful computers to sift through the billions of records stored in corporate and government databases on all of us. It just depends on whether you have an intent important enough to justify such an intrusion. Electing Hillary! president is important enough; finding Mohammad Atta's successors is not.

...

The pressure on Democrats to begin more aggressive "data mining" in the hunt for votes began after the 2002 midterm elections and intensified after the 2004 presidential contest, when the GOP harnessed data technology to powerful effect.

In 2002, for the first time in recent memory, Republicans ran better get-out-the-vote programs than Democrats. When well done, such drives typically raise a candidate's Election Day performance by two to four percentage points. Democrats have become increasingly fearful that the GOP is capitalizing on high-speed computers and the growing volume of data available from government files and consumer marketing firms -- as well as the party's own surveys -- to better target potential supporters.

The Republican database has allowed the party and its candidates to tailor messages to individual voters and households, using information about the kind of magazines they receive, whether they own guns, the churches they attend, their incomes, their charitable contributions and their voting histories.

Those who shriek about government intrusiveness always seem to forget this information is already all out there, able to be collected by anybody with an interest in doing so.


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posted by Ace at 01:25 PM

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