Steve Bannon The Latest To Abuse Consumer Location Data - 2019-07-22
The latest case in point: a new investigation by Think Progress found that Steve Bannon also managed to get a hold of this data and use it for political targeting purposes. According to the report, Bannon and a group dubbed CatholicVote used the cell-phone location data of people who had visited Roman Catholic churches in Dubuque, Iowa, in 2018 to target them with get-out-the-vote ads:
"If your phone's ever been in a Catholic church, it's amazing, they got this data," Bannon told director Alison Klayman as they sat in his Washington, D.C., home on the eve of the 2018 midterm elections. "Literally, they can tell who's been in a Catholic church and how frequently," Bannon added. "And they got it triaged."
Given this data is valuable to everybody from political operatives to city planners and marketing departments, the gold rush to sell this data has resulted in an idiotic stampede where privacy and consumer rights were a distant afterthought, if they were thought about at all. And while much of this data is "anonymized," numerous studies have documented how that doesn't really mean all that much. When the report authors contacted CatholicVote, their response was, basically, "everybody does it":