Will Big Winners in Facebook Privacy Flap Be Politicians?

We've written a bit about how the furor over Facebook's opening of more user data to prying eyes could cost Attorney General candidate — and former Facebook Chief Privacy Officer Chris Kelly.

But for politicians who don't have high-profile Facebook gigs on their resume, easier access to potential voters' personal data could turn out to be a huge benefit.

Think of all the useful things a politician can learn from his “Facebook fans,” said San Francisco political consultant Jim Ross. He uses the Facebook group FixMuniNow — of which he is a “fan” — as an example. The keepers of that page can now access far more of their fan's information than before. “They could run all of us folks against the voter file, right?” says Ross. “They could say, 'Jim, you're not registered to vote.' Or 'Hey, Jim — you live in precinct so-and-so. Would you be a precinct captain?' They wouldn't have known that stuff before.”

Indeed, the Electronic Frontier Foundation decried Facebook's new setup as being a boon to data-miners — and what's a good politician if not a data-miner of his would-be constituents' interests?

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