Senator and presidential hopeful Bernie Sanders during a rally on Saturday announced an online tool that allows anyone to contribute to the campaign's voter database, apparently without the opt-in of the owner of the personally identifiable information.
BERN, the name of the new database, allows supporters to log the names and other information of anyone they choose. The database matches each name to a voter record before noting their level of support, priority issue and even union membership, according to one report.
I reached out to Sanders’ campaign manager to ask about privacy concerns, allowing anyone to enter a person’s name and personal information without their consent, but got no response.
Sanders’ campaign manager, Faiz Shakir, worked as the political director for the ACLU until March 2019. It seems odd that the political director for the ACLU would allow anyone to enter someone’s information without the content of the owner of that information.
It seems, especially these days, that the database should have an opt-in process. No doubt the campaign strategy will focus on using the information to build this database with the intent of more accurately targeting voters with a variety of search, mobile and display media, along with traditional through-the-mail collateral.
Campaign supporters are already being trained on how to collect information at rallies to build up the database of the more than one million people who already signed up.
At each rally, volunteers have been collecting email addresses and phone numbers of every attendee, entering them into the database. About 30% of rally attendees were new to the campaign data lists, the Sanders campaign told NBC News.