“Campaigns to Track Voters with ‘Political Cookies'” @ MIT’s Technology Review

Posted on June 28, 2012

Jessica Leber — June 27, 2012: “Many of the advertisements people see online today are customized. Using so-called browser cookies, advertisers can track a given Web surfers’ habits and serve them relevant ads.

This election year, a related type of targeted ads—one relying on “political cookies”—is coming into widespread use.

The technology involves matching a person’s Web identity with information gathered about that person offline, including his or her party registration, voting history, charitable donations, address, age, and even hobbies.

Companies selling political targeting services say “microtargeting” of campaign advertising will make it less expensive, more up to the minute, and possibly less intrusive. But critics say there are downsides to political ads that combine offline and online data, and not just a possible invasion of privacy. “These are not your mom and pop TV ads. These are ads increasingly designed for you—to tell you what you may want to hear,” says Jeff Chester, executive director of the Center for Digital Democracy…………………………………”

Read more at Technology Review.