HomeLatest ThreadsGreatest ThreadsForums & GroupsMy SubscriptionsMy Posts
DU Home » Latest Threads » Forums & Groups » Main » Editorials & Other Articles (Forum) » The Trump 2020 app is a v...

Sun Jul 12, 2020, 10:13 AM

The Trump 2020 app is a voter surveillance tool of extraordinary power


Both presidential campaigns use apps to capture data, but Trump's asks to scoop up your identity, your location, and control of your phone's Bluetooth function. . . .

Trump 2020: A data-hungry channel for disproven claims

. . .

The Official Trump 2020 app, which has been downloaded approximately 780,000 times according to the measurement service Apptopia, launched in mid-April.

The app has “News” and “Social” tabs offering carefully selected feeds of tweets and articles that reinforce the campaign’s talking points, often actively deceiving readers with highly questionable or entirely disproven information under headlines such as “Media Continue to Spread Debunked Theory About Tear Gas,” “Media Mask-Shamers Keep Getting Caught Breaking Their Own Rules,” or “Top 8 Moments from Joe Biden’s Embarrassingly Disastrous, Epically Boring Livestream.” Most messages, articles, and announcements inside the Trump app have no named author; they rarely cite sources beyond government press releases and tweets from Trump’s own supporters and White House staff. The app also has campaign releases that attack social-media companies like Twitter and Snapchat, berating them for perceived bias and lack of transparency on one hand while adopting opaque and attention-driven strategies themselves.

Users are required to provide their phone number full name, email address, and zip code. The campaign intends to collect the cell-phone numbers of 40 to 50 million voters.
Data collection—as Parscale’s comment suggested—is perhaps the most powerful thing the Trump 2020 app does. On signing up, users are required to provide a phone number for a verification code, as well as their full name, email address, and zip code. They are also highly encouraged to share the app with their existing contacts. This is part of a campaign strategy for reaching the 40 to 50 million citizens expected to vote for Trump’s reelection: to put it bluntly, the campaign says it intends to collect every single one of these voters’ cell-phone numbers. This strategy means the app also makes extensive permission requests, asking for access to location data, phone identity, and control over the handset’s Bluetooth function.

The app has already received some criticism, not least from security researchers who found it had left information exposed that could allow hackers to access the user data. The response to this made the campaign’s priorities clear: they rapidly fixed the bug once it had been disclosed, but still maximized the data they themselves could collect. They want as much voter data as possible, even if they don’t want it left vulnerable to outsiders—and will use it in any way they see fit.

A member of our research team discovered that the app was compiled with an older version of Android, which does not include some of the latest privacy improvements, and uses software provided by a company called Phunware, well known for collecting people’s location information and relations with the Trump campaign, a role highlighted by a Wall Street Journal investigation last year. Phunware has come under major scrutiny recently for accepting millions of dollars in federal loans intended to help small businesses cope with the coronavirus, and in May Nasdaq filed paperwork with the Securities and Exchange Commission to delist the company over its finances. Phunware’s invasive tactics for gathering data and reaching voters have drawn comparisons to Cambridge Analytica.

. . . more


1 replies, 1295 views

Reply to this thread

Back to top Alert abuse

Always highlight: 10 newest replies | Replies posted after I mark a forum
Replies to this discussion thread
Arrow 1 replies Author Time Post
Reply The Trump 2020 app is a voter surveillance tool of extraordinary power (Original post)
swag Jul 12 OP
Afromania Jul 12 #1

Response to swag (Original post)

Sun Jul 12, 2020, 10:46 AM

1. Well, at least post hack we'll know which of our neighbors are willing to kill by proxy.

Reply to this post

Back to top Alert abuse Link here Permalink

Reply to this thread