Political campaigns tap into the same intrusive adtech tracking systems used to deliver online behavioral ads. We saw a glimpse into how this worked after the Cambridge Analytica scandal, and the system has only grown since then.

In 2020, Open Secrets found political groups paid 37 different data brokers at least $23 million for access to services or data. These data brokers collect information from browser cookies, web beacons, mobile phones, social media platforms, and more.

These political data brokers make a lot of promises to campaigns. TargetSmart claims to have 171 million highly accurate cell phone numbers, and i360 claims to have data on 220 million voters. They also tend to offer specialized campaign categories that go beyond the offerings of consumer-focused data brokers. Check out data broker L2’s “National Models & Predictive Analytics” page, which breaks down interests, demographics, and political ideology—including details like “Voter Fraud Belief,” and “Ukraine Continue.” The New York Times demonstrated a particularly novel approach to these sorts of profiles where a voter analytics firm created a “Covid concern score” by analyzing cell phone location, then ranked people based on travel patterns during the pandemic.

As streaming video services integrate more ad-based subscription tiers, that likely means more political ads this year. One company, AdImpact, projects $1.3 billion in political ad spending on “connected television” ads in 2024.

Political ad spending on Google (mostly through YouTube) is projected to be $552 million, while Facebook is projected at $568 million.

Managing the flow of all this data might feel impossible, but you can take a few important steps to minimize what’s out there. The chances you’ll catch everything is low, but minimizing what is accessible is still a privacy win.

  • @[email protected]
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    281 month ago

    The approach to privacy seems to be blaming people for not guessing how to properly hide their private information from malicious actors when people are also expected to use that same data daily to interact with the world.

    How about we actually punish the ones that collect private data without consent and those that abuse private data? Like actual prison time for CEOs of companies that do these things.

    • prowess2956
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      81 month ago

      I’m all for it. I’m not sure what laws actually exist in the USA related to this, which is, I imagine, why it’s so pervasive. Some states have started passing legislation to help their residents protect their privacy, but until we have something on a national level it’s going to be an issue.

      Even though it seems like common sense, our current society is ruled by profit and extraction, not decency. Throwing CEOs and boards in prison with a lot of publicity sure could be a way to change that…

  • @phoneymouse
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    1 month ago

    If you ever once donate to a candidate or sign up for a candidate newsletter, you are forever on some master list and can never get off it. You can unsubscribe from individual candidate lists, but every year when new candidates join, they’ll just put you on those candidate’s lists and you’ll have to unsubscribe all over again. It’s obnoxious as hell and should be illegal. And, I might be interested to hear from a political candidate from time to time, but it’s not like that. They email you up to 5 times a day with annoying click-spammy titles.

  • /home/pineapplelover
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    41 month ago
    1. My personal phone number is different from the number I use for dmv, documents, banking so I don’t get telemarketer ads or whatever.

    2. I use ublock, vpn with filter block, dns with adblocking

    3. I pretty much only use lemmy and I use ddg for search engine.

    I don’t think I’ve ever seen a political ad. Perhaps when I used youtube’s app but I use libretube, newpipe, youtube piped now.

  • Haus
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    21 month ago

    I’m inclined to believe this, but what I see is laughably bad. I’ve agreed with the premise of Sandy Hook Promise since before the Sandy Hook Massacre, yet they’ve been pounding me with ads for years. Every once in a while, I get a halfhearted “But Trump is pretty cool, isn’t he?” Which will never be clicked. And, when I watched a reaction channel do Buffy the Vampire Slayer, I got a shit-ton of “God hates fagz!” And was pretty glad to see them wasting their money on me.

  • @[email protected]
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    11 month ago

    Lol, “highly accurate”. I get constant political texts, but they have the wrong number. Its fun replying, just sending goatse has gotten boring so its forcing me to be more creative. I’ll never text “STOP”, wasting political resources gives me the warm fuzzies inside.