There’s an organization out there calling itself the National Political Do Not Call Registry which says you should register your phone number with it if you don’t want to get political phone calls. When I heard this I was interested because as an Ohioan in an election year I’ve been getting a lot of phone calls. Most of these have been “robocalls” which are just recorded voices trying to extol the virtues of a candidate but only succeeding in annoying me and keeping me from stirring the spaghetti or brushing my children’s teeth. Boy, would I like to be rid of those!
I’d like to be able to recommend the National Political Do Not Call Registry, but something seems fishy about the outfit. It’s not a public effort like the National Do Not Call Registry you probably know and love — it’s the brainchild of a registered political organization. It’s free to simply add your phone number to the registry, but the organization is selling “charter founder memberships” that require you to pay them money for the “privilege” of adding more information (like your name, your e-mail address, your street address, your partisan identification, the list of political issues that you care most about and so on). I put “privilege” in quotes because the FAQ section of this organization discloses that its plan is to sell its database to campaigns, charging a fee to a campaign to disclose information about you — which, if you’re a charter member, includes all the ways in which you prefer to be contacted as well as not to be contacted, along with micro-targeting information about your political sensibilities. Notice how the registry turns from a “do not call” list to a “how to contact me” list? And what will this organization do with all the money they get from “charter founder membership” fees and from selling your information? Sure, part of the money will go to cover expenses, but there will also be “excess revenue” that “will be invested in research and in foundations that promote the mission of civil political discourse.” Those investments would include a lot of salaries and expenses and such.
This organization smells fishy to me. Is there anything else I ought to know about it?