Are political mobile apps an invasion of privacy?
WASHINGTON, D.C. -- Mobile political apps from both the President Barack Obama and Mitt Romney campaigns are helping voters keep track of their favorite candidate. The programs keep people informed about everything from Romney's VP pick to various campaign events they can be involved in. However, privacy experts say there are many security concerns with these apps.
On the campaign trail, smart phones and tablets are everywhere.
Now, the Obama and Romney teams are taking this technology a step further -- with "apps" that help supporters keep track of campaign activities and more.
These apps are also raising privacy concerns.
The Romney campaign's app allows users to sign in through Facebook and can mine information from the user's friends on the site.
The Obama campaign's app provides data to help volunteers canvass. The Obama campaign app plants blue flags at the homes of registered Democrats.
Some voters say this is concerning.
Apps can also get access to a lot of information from those who download them.
Privacy expert Justin Brookman says app users should beware of data mining.
"Contact lists, friends, telephone numbers -- anything you do with your phone is designed to be exposed to the applications that you download, so whatever on there they think might be valuable, as far as data mining, as far as figuring out how to tailor a message to you, as far as figuring out who's going to give the most money, they have the ability to get. A lot of it you can't say 'no' to," Brookman said.
While the Romney campaign declined to comment, the Obama campaign said:
"This campaign has always and will continue to take great care with the information that people share with us. In this instance, all of the information available comes from publicly available data and the campaign can take legal action against anyone misusing this public data."
While some voters expressed concern with these apps, other voters aren't worried.
"30 years ago, if you worked for any party, any campaign, and you wanted to find out where are the registered Democrats in Georgetown. You would go downtown, make a copy of everybody's registration and go through the annoyance of looking for street addresses. Half a days work, now, 30 seconds. The bottom line is I do not feel that my privacy is threatened by this," one voter said.
CLICK HERE for additional details on the Obama/Romney mobile apps.