Obama Database Sharing ‘Extremely Worrying’

Monday, 28 Jan 2013 09:45 AM

By Lisa Barron

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Organizing for Action, the new political outreach effort set up to push President Barack Obama's second term agenda, is capitalizing on not only his campaign’s ties to big-money liberal organizations but also its vast computer database containing personal information on millions of voters.

The group has gained access to the data under a leasing agreement with the president's 2012 campaign, Katie Hogan, a spokeswoman for the new outreach effort, told NBC News.

Hogan said the information will be used to unleash an “army of the door knockers” as well as raise money for “issue ads,” especially in key congressional districts.

But the sharing of the campaign database with what essentially is a new lobbying arm of the president is a concern to some privacy advocates.

“It’s extremely worrisome,” Lillie Coney, associate director of the Electronic Privacy Information Center, told NBC News, adding that Obama supporters most likely do not know that personal data they shared is now being used for purposes beyond the campaign.

Published reports show that the database, dubbed the “nuclear codes” by campaign aides, contains the names of at least 4 million Obama donors as well as millions of others compiled from voter registration rolls and other public databases.

In comments last week unveiling the new outreach group, former Obama campaign manager Jim Messina suggested the size of electronic database was "20-some-million."

Hogan, however, told NBC that anyone concerned about privacy issues can always have their name taken off the electronic database by simply hitting the "unsubscribe" button on e-mails sent to them asking for their help.

Organizing for Action took its new database out for a spin over the weekend by urging supporters to call their elected officials and press them to back White House gun control proposals.

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