Politico: “Hackers apparently affiliated with Russian intelligence have launched a cyberattack targeting donors to the Democratic Party’s House campaign arm, sources and news reports said Thursday night, adding to the troubles unleashed by last week’s disclosure of embarrassing internal emails from the Democratic National Committee.”
Ad Age: “The Donald Trump email that helped the campaign generate $3.3 million didn’t score well by accepted email measures… Nearly 60% of those first-ever fundraiser emails, however, never reached inboxes. Instead, they were automatically relegated to recipients’ spam folders, according to Return Path, which evaluates email campaigns using estimates based on its panel of 2.5 million active email users.”
“The email tracker also reported that just 12% of recipients opened the email and 6% deleted it without reading it.”
“Google battled accusations that it manipulates its predicted-searches function to favor Hillary Clinton, the latest dust-up over the influence large tech companies exert in modern life,” the Wall Street Journal reports.
“Pop-culture news website SourceFed posted a video Thursday alleging that Google’s autocomplete service, which tries to predict queries as users type, is biased toward Mrs. Clinton, the presumptive Democratic presidential nominee.”
Donald Trump was quoted by Business Insider: “If this is true, it is a disgrace that Google would do that. Very, very dishonest.”
“We can’t fetishize our phones above every other value. The dangers are real. This notion that sometimes our data is different and can be walled off from these other trade-offs is incorrect.”
— President Obama, quoted by The Next Web, backing the FBI’s efforts to force Apple to unlock an iPhone used by the San Bernardino terrorists.
Associated Press: “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.”
“That information and more is then fed into a vast database containing details about nearly every adult in the United States to build psychological profiles that target individual voters with uncanny accuracy.”
Reuters: “An independent computer security researcher uncovered a database of information on 191 million voters that is exposed on the open Internet due to an incorrectly configured database… The database includes names, addresses, birth dates, party affiliations, phone numbers and emails of voters in all 50 U.S. states and Washington.”
The DNC has told the campaign of Sen. Bernie Sanders “that it was suspending its access to its voter database after a software error enabled at least one of his staff members to review Hillary Clinton’s private campaign data,” the New York Times reports.
“The decision by the party committee is a major blow to Mr. Sanders’s campaign. The database includes information from voters across the nation and is used by campaigns to set strategy, especially in the early voting states.”
Washington Post: “Having his campaign cut off from the national party’s voter data is a strategic setback for Sanders — and could be a devastating blow if it lasts. The episode also raises questions about the DNC’s ability to provide strategic resources to campaigns and state parties.”
First Read: “But the DNC has to walk a careful line here: If the Sanders campaign takes appropriate action and disposes of the data it obtained, the DNC can’t look like it is slow-walking giving Sanders access again or they’ll get accused of tipping the scales.”
Jeb Bush said that “encryption makes it harder for law enforcement to track down ‘evildoers’ — and called for a ‘much better, more cooperative relationship’ with Apple, Google, and other tech companies that are building uncrackable private communication apps into their new products,” First Look reports.
Said Bush: “If you create encryption, it makes it harder for the American government to do its job — while protecting civil liberties — to make sure that evildoers aren’t in our midst.”
New York Times: “While it is no surprise that campaigns are devoting a greater share of their budget and energy on digital initiatives, Facebook, already a major player in past cycles, has been working to expand its digital dominance in the political realm.”
“Facebook — which has 189 million monthly users in the United States — has pitched its tools and services to every presidential campaign in the 2016 race, not to mention down-ballot races, to showcase new features as candidates seek to reach and recruit new supporters and potential donors. Some estimate that 2016 will usher in roughly $1 billion in online political advertising, and Facebook says it is on track to increase its revenue from previous cycles.”
National Journal: “Thanks to powerful new features unveiled since the 2012 campaign, Facebook now offers a far more customized and sophisticated splicing of the American electorate. And, for the first time in presidential politics, it can serve up video to those thinly targeted sets of people.”
“That unprecedented combination is inching campaigns closer to the Holy Grail of political advertising: the emotional impact of television delivered at an almost atomized, individual level. It makes the old talk of micro-targeting soccer moms and NASCAR dads sound quaint.”
Just out: How to Use the Internet to Win in 2016: A Comprehensive Guide to Online Politics for Campaigns & Advocates by Colin Delany.
“Incorporating important lessons from the 2012 and 2014 U.S. elections, this book is essential for anyone running for office or trying to influence public opinion and public policy in 2016. It’s also extremely useful for individual activists, nonprofit political advocates and journalists covering political campaigns.”
New York Times: “The criticism after the 2012 presidential election was swift and harsh: Democrats were light-years ahead of Republicans when it came to digital strategy and tactics, and Republicans had serious work to do on the technology front if they ever hoped to win back the White House.”
“Now, with the 2016 campaign already underway, Republicans are eager to show they have learned the lessons of past cycles and are placing a premium on hiring top digital talent to build the tools they deem necessary to compete. But their immediate problem is slightly more low-tech: the basics of supply and demand.”
Boston Globe: “Digital in 2016 will be faster, more intense, and more mobile than it was in 2008, and that has repercussions for how this season’s crop of presidential candidates will behave and how their campaigns will unfold in New Hampshire and beyond. Candidates will still shake hands, give speeches, and pose for photos, but successful campaigns will also need to amass a suite of high-tech tools.”
“What’s changed in recent years… is the ease of producing, sharing, and watching online video. Instead of just reading about a candidate’s speech, voters can see it for themselves anywhere they can connect to a Wi-Fi or 3G signal. And, thanks to live streaming apps like Meerkat and Periscope, video is likely to be even an even bigger part of 2016.”
“The availability of video has shifted the tenor of campaign events in early states like New Hampshire… Candidates used to be able to slip into a remote town hall to quietly test a few sections of a stump speech. Now, anything they say has the potential to go viral online.”
Brad Phillips reports on a new opposition research firm which analyzes political staffers’ online media presence for indications of how their postings might embarrass their bosses.
“Frankly, I’m surprised it took this long for somebody to advertise the service specifically for political staffs, because staffers’ social media accounts have caused trouble in the past for countless politicians.”