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Being the Google of politics cuts both ways

During her appearance at Providence's Central Congregational Church last night, NPR's Mara Liasson noted how Barack Obama has been likened to the Google of politics -- because of his facility with technology and because of his unparalleled audience.

She had not yet read the story about how Obama is going to have to give up his BlackBerry, but Liasson predicted that Obama's socially-networked legion of followers and super-volunteers will be regularly called upon to contact lawmakers and otherwise support his agenda. In response to a question, she said that he has the opportunity to be a great president.

Like Google, however, the technological reach of the president-elect is raising privacy concerns.

Angler, Barton Gellman's Dick Cheney biography, describes how Cheney subjected potential W running mates to unprecedented background examinations before he emerged as the VP candidate, thereby gaining a rich vein of deeply personal information that could be used for less than sterling purposes.

There might be some significant differences, but applicants for Obama's administration also have to lay bare their personal history.

And Ari Herzog (h/t Dan Kennedy) notes that this info will be stored on the server of a private company, not the government's.

Notice the bottom of the page where it says the application system is powered by Cluen technology?

Click the link and be redirected to the Cluen Corporation, an 18-year-old private firm that provides recruiting software solutions.

The basic idea behind the company’s Searchlight technology is a recruiting agency can collect data through online forms that are masked to be at the agency’s website and the data is stored on secure Cluen servers.

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