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Trump campaign app is a ‘voter surveillance tool’: MIT

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About 800,000 people have downloaded the Trump 2020 campaign’s app. According to a study by the prestigious Massachusetts Institute of Technology, better known as MIT, users are handing over a massive amount of personal information – and an astonishing amount of access – to the Trump campaign.

MIT, which investigated both the Trump campaign app and the Biden campaign app says the Trump campaign app is a “voter surveillance tool” with “extraordinary power.”

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The Biden campaign app also collects data but far less than the Trump campaign app.

“Data collection,” MIT Technology Review reports, “is perhaps the most powerful thing the Trump 2020 app does. On signing up, users are required to provide a phone number for a verification code, as well as their full name, email address, and zip code. They are also highly encouraged to share the app with their existing contacts. This is part of a campaign strategy for reaching the 40 to 50 million citizens expected to vote for Trump’s reelection: to put it bluntly, the campaign says it intends to collect every single one of these voters’ cell-phone numbers. This strategy means the app also makes extensive permission requests, asking for access to location data, phone identity, and control over the handset’s Bluetooth function.”

That’s not all.

The Trump 2020 re-election app is “often actively deceiving readers with highly questionable or entirely disproven information under headlines such as ‘Media Continue to Spread Debunked Theory About Tear Gas,’ ‘Media Mask-Shamers Keep Getting Caught Breaking Their Own Rules,’ or ‘Top 8 Moments from Joe Biden’s Embarrassingly Disastrous, Epically Boring Livestream.'”

Security researchers “found it had left information exposed that could allow hackers to access the user data,” MIT reports.

And there are more concerning revelations from MIT.

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The Trump campaign app uses software from a company, Phunware, that “has come under major scrutiny recently for accepting millions of dollars in federal loans intended to help small businesses cope with the coronavirus.”

“Phunware’s invasive tactics for gathering data and reaching voters have drawn comparisons to Cambridge Analytica,” MIT adds.

Last week Trump campaign manager Brad Parscale bragged he has a secret weapon that would help them communicate with 100 million Americans.

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2020 Election

Trump ripped as a ‘traitor’ by veterans for his mask photo-op at Walter Reed Hospital

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The veteran advocacy organization Vote Vets on Sunday blasted President Donald Trump for holding a photo-op at the Walter Reed National Military Medical Center.

After a round of golf on Saturday, Trump traveled to the hospital to be photographed by the press pool wearing a mask, which was a first since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Vote Vets, which says it has raised over $120 million since being founded in 2006 and made over 50 million voter contacts, released a new video on Trump's visit.

The ad says it shows "what wounded warriors see when Trump comes for a photo-op."

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2020 Election

Trump’s push to reopen schools prematurely is an assault on states’ rights that may prove deadly

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It’s hard to avoid a sense of déjà vu as the Trump regime threatens to withhold federal education funding from states that refuse to re-open their schools this fall. The contours of the “debate,” such as it is, perfectly align with the one we had a couple of months ago about re-opening businesses in the midst of a pandemic.

Then, as now, conservatives tried to frame the issue as a choice between re-opening and staying stuck in quarantine indefinitely. Those less moored to reality, including the President, insisted that proponents of quarantines were only motivated by a desire to undermine Trump’s prospects for re-election. The real divide at the time was between those of us who wanted to follow the science, build up adequate testing and contact-tracing capacity and re-open safely once the rate of infection had declined, and those, mostly on the right, who wanted to re-open prematurely either because they believed we’d achieve herd immunity if we let the outbreak run its course or because they thought Covid-19 was a “hoax” that was no more serious than the seasonal flu.

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2020 Election

How 68,000 COVID-19 survivors created a world-class patient resource group in just four months

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Diana Berrent was one of the first people in her hometown of Port Washington, New York, to get COVID-19. Back then, in early March 2020, only immunocompromised and seniors were believed to be high-risk; hence, as a 46-year-old yoga practitioner and runner, Berrent was "shocked" when she woke up with a 103-degree fever and respiratory infection — symptoms that strongly suggested she had coronavirus, which was later confirmed by a test.

This article first appeared in Salon.

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