If you begin to receive weird phone text messages, Facebook contacts and weird emails from the Cruz campaign, it’s probably because one of your “friends” is a Ted Cruz supporter – and he or she has you in their contact list.
An alarming article from the Associated Press explains how Ted Cruz has moved his campaign from direct cyber contact to data-mining and spyware within the contacts on phones and social media of Ted Cruz supporters.
According to the Associated Press outline the Cruz campaign has launched an app which targets the “friends” list of Facebook supporters of Ted Cruz, and extracts their information for use:
[…] The Cruz app prompts supporters to register using their Facebook logins, giving the campaign access to personal information such as name, age range, gender, location and photograph, plus lists of friends and relatives. Those without a Facebook account must either provide an email address or phone number to use the app. (link)
But the Cruz campaign doesn’t limit themselves to just social media. According to the media report the campaign is also retrieving, extracting and targeting those names and phone numbers within the supporters cell phone:
[…] The Cruz app separately urges users to let it download their phone contacts, giving the campaign a trove of phone numbers and personal email addresses. The campaign says that by using its app, “You hereby give your express consent to access your contact list.”
[…] Cruz’s app also transmits to the campaign each user’s physical location whenever the app is active, unless a user declines to allow it. The campaign said it does this “so that we can connect you to other Cruz Crew users based on your particular geographic location.”
In essence if you have a family member, friend or colleague, who is supporting Ted Cruz, the campaign now has access to your personal information for campaign targeting.
This is a remarkable level of intrusion of personal and private information coming from a presidential candidate who purports to be an advocate constitutional privacy and limits on the data-mining of intrusive government. A particular hypocrisy not lost on the Associated Press:
[…] Protecting the privacy of law-abiding citizens from the government is a pillar of Ted Cruz’s Republican presidential candidacy, but his campaign is testing the limits of siphoning personal data from supporters.
His “Cruz Crew” mobile app is designed to gather detailed information from its users’ phones — tracking their physical movements and mining the names and contact information for friends who might want nothing to do with his campaign. (read more)
So now when you begin receiving unsolicited demands for campaign contributions, at least you’ll know where they are coming from.
It would appear the only way to safely insure you are not part of the Stazi-esque spy campaign would be to ask your friends if they support Ted Cruz and immediately delete them from your contact lists. Well, if it’s not too late that is….
And to think, you thought only President Obama was a risk to your privacy !
We’ll be watching comrade citizen in South Carolina…. and if you don’t vote correctly, well, you know what comes next: