PERSECUTING.US - Where Data Mining meets Political Judgment.
ONE MILLION AMERICANS SORTED BY POLITICAL AFFILIATION
A DATABASE THAT OPENS UP NEW OPPORTUNITIES FOR PERSECUTION TO EVERYONE
YOU MAY BE INCLUDED IN THIS DATABASE IF YOU OR A FRIEND TWEETED ABOUT THE 2012 U.S. PRESIDENTIAL ELECTION
ABOUT - SOCIAL SORTING - ANTISOCIAL MEDIA - SOCIAL SCULPTURAL PERFORMANCE - HOW - CONTACT - PRESS
Social Sorting
Political parties have begun to equip themselves with databases of millions of potential voters’ personal details to target them with individualized messages and monitor trends in opinion which they can then manipulate. The Republicans’ Themis and the Democrats’ Catalist are only the largest databases actively collecting personal information on hundreds of millions of American citizens.

An entire new industry of political technology is growing with big, centralized databases of voters’ information created for profit and political control. These databases gather massive amounts of information on voters from several sources and from trawling their traces left on online platforms like Twitter, which still have poor privacy protections.

George W. Bush won two presidential elections by targeting voters with a database called VoterVault, a model later copied by the Democratic party with their database, Catalist, helping Barack Obama to win the elections in 2008 [1]. In 2011 the Republican party secretly created a new database [2], Themis, with the aim of significantly impacting the 2012 elections. Huge investments in advertising on traditional media platforms are shifting to sophisticated digital tools to create persuasive personalized messages. This shift keeps those with the economic means [3] in control of the political process, while moving their hegemony to the most influential contemporary media space.

These voters never gave permission to log their data like this, but that’s not the only concern. The main threat is to the democratic process itself and malicious use of this data could even lead to future anti-democratic politics. Profiling citizens politically means exploiting people’s opinions for political gain; it allows new forms of effective political manipulation and starts a process of monitoring every aspect of each person’s life to collect material for political sorting.

Persecute.US is an artwork that will show people the extent to which their political privacy has been compromised for political gain. The artwork raises concern through press and personal reactions to an artificial scenario with hundreds and thousands experiencing the purgatory of being exposed by social profiling.


[1] Democrats Take Republican Database Model to Target Swing Voters
http://www.bloomberg.com/apps/news?pid=newsarchive&sid=aIxU19LXZBa4
[2] Koch-backed activists use power of data in bid to oust Obama from White House
http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2012/oct/18/koch-backed-activists-americans-for-prosperity
[3] Why we must 'follow the money' of 2012's political ad spend
http://www.guardian.co.uk/commentisfree/cifamerica/2012/may/03/follow-political-ad-spend-money

ABOUT - SOCIAL SORTING - ANTISOCIAL MEDIA - SOCIAL SCULPTURAL PERFORMANCE - HOW - CONTACT - PRESS