Trump 2020 Location-Tracking Firm Cashing in on Coronavirus - 2020-04-09
A smartphone tracking firm helping Donald Trump clinch his 2020 presidential reelection recently told investors it's identified a promising new profit opportunity: the global coronavirus pandemic. Phunware is part of a vast galaxy of obscure advertising technology companies that help clients follow and target their customers — to "capitalize on users' daily digital trail," as Phunware's site puts it. By embedding Phunware code in their app, a developer can easily glean detailed records of where a user goes and what they do, creating a rich behavioral history to sell on to others.
Now, at exactly the same time as Trump has repeatedly undermined public health guidelines and overseen a generally botched federal response to Covid-19, Phunware hopes to cash in on the need to enforce pandemic measures like social distancing. In a March 30 call with investors, Phunware co-founder and CEO Alan Knitowski explained that the company was "aggressively pursuing new business opportunities … including remote telehealth and telemedicine triage for health care patient capacity management, virtual rallies for political advocacy during a presidential election year, remote work optimization for corporate campuses and social distance policy enforcement, engagement and asset-tracking for smart cities and government organizations at the local, state, and federal level."