Obama campaign app expands despite privacy concerns

“If there is unusual activity on the app, we may become aware of that through how we track our information,” the aide said.

The app gives the first name, age, address and gender of potential voters. All the data is public information obtained through states’ voter rolls. But Justin Brookman, a consumer privacy expert at the Center for Democracy and Technology, told Reuters the app could actually discourage participation.

"The concern is making it available to people who may have bad intent and that fear could deter people from giving money" or otherwise participating in the political process, Brookman told Reuters.

The campaign aide said the app is intended to produce the opposite effect.

“It helps us break down the distinction between online and offline organizing, so no longer is [a] prospective volunteer forced to come into the office. They can do that from their own home,” the campaign aide said.

Shaun Dakin, a voter privacy advocate, said the app was a “privacy fail” and told The Washington Post that just because the information is legal does not make it right.

“Anybody can get this,” Dakin said. “There’s no way to prevent anyone from downloading this.”

In addition to the canvassing tool, the app lists phone banks and volunteer events. It also gives information on voting laws and the president’s impact in certain states.