Blown To Bits

McCain-Palin Campaign Blackberries

Wednesday, December 17th, 2008 by Harry Lewis

Opinions differ about whether digital technologies transformed the Obama campaign into something inclusive and empowering that had never been seen before, or whether it was really an old-style, top-down campaign that made masterful use of the new technologies to get its message out and to coordinate the troops, while making them feel included.

Either way, no one seems to be disputing that the McCain-Palin campaign was much less clued in on how to use the technologies. And the evidence continues to accumulate after the campaign is over. The campaign auctioned its Blackberry phones without wiping the memory clean — so those who bought them bought phone numbers of donors, lobbyists, and journalists too. Apparently they were not amused when the purchaser called them up.

As we explain in Chapter 3 of Blown to Bits, it’s not hard to reset a phone by pressing a few buttons — though even following the vendor’s instructions may not really wipe the memory clean enough to keep the information out of the hands of a determined snoop.

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