Data Digger Arms Pols With Dirt on Voters

Gives scoop on your friends, arrests, finances, web habits
By Jonas Oransky,  Newser Staff
Posted Dec 17, 2007 11:00 PM CST
Data Digger Arms Pols With Dirt on Voters
Hillary Rodham Clinton campaign staffer, Mary Beth Dolecki, leaves a house during a neighborhood canvass of Clinton-supporting caucus goers in Ames, Iowa, Wednesday, Dec. 5, 2007. Clinton, Barack Obama and John Edwards are locked in a tight three-way contest in Iowa, and lesser-known rivals Bill Richardson,...   (Associated Press)

Political data miner Aristotle Inc has worked for every president since Reagan, 200 House candidates last year, and several current presidential hopefuls. Now the firm’s founder is debuting technology that breaks ground in accessing private information—revealing voters’ income, house value, conviction history, and even online behavior. One privacy hawk calls such new levels of intrusiveness, “the scourge of our age.”

Inspired by personal difficulties obtaining voter rolls during a congressional run, John Phillips labors to fill other politicians in. Aristotle 360 will arm canvassers with “a computer-generated picture of [a] person’s political personality,” Vanity Fair says. The firm was instrumental in Bush’s 2004 Ohio strategy, yet Phillips says he’s most concerned about access for insurgent candidates, a la Ross Perot. (Read more Orange Revolution stories.)

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