Pittsburgh Legal Back Talk

Legal topics of interest to lawyers and consumers with a Pittsburgh and Western Pennsylvania focus.

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Beware Visiting Anybody’s Campaign Websites If You Are Worried About Data Mining.

Posted By Cliff Tuttle | April 12, 2018

No. 1,469

Marginal Revolution warns that the Facebook campaign website of Senator Patrick Lahey, who vigorously interrogated Mark Zuckerberg, is engaged in the same kind of of data retrieval and use. If true, chances are that Senator Lahey didn’t even know about it, because those details are generally left to consultants they hire. I have read comments that the Congresspeople demonstrated their ignorance of the mechanics of data mining during the interrogation and let Mr. Zuckerberg off the hook.

I’ll go out on a limb and predict that similar revelations are forthcoming about other political websites on both sides.

Once you get on a political list, your name will be passed around, especially if you make a contribution. If you are contacted by a so-called pollster, be aware that the poll is probably partisan and they are collecting data about your political beliefs for future use by their client, not to determine public opinion.  Do not talk to pollsters.  Tell them to take you off their list. It doesn’t hurt to act mildly cranky about being disturbed, either.

The same goes with the door-to-door variety.  Once more, they are probably studying you, not public opinion. You can be polite, but not too polite.  “Get off my lawn,” may be a little over the top.



CLIFF TUTTLE has been a Pennsylvania lawyer for over 45 years and (inter alia) is a real estate litigator and legal writer. The posts in this blog are intended to provide general information about legal topics of interest to lawyers and consumers with a Pittsburgh and Western Pennsylvania focus. However, this information does not constitute legal advice and there is no lawyer-client relationship created when you read this blog. You are encouraged to leave comments but be aware that posted comments can be read by others. If you wish to contact me in privacy, please use the Contact Form located immediately below this message. I will reply promptly and in strict confidence.

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