Why are so many campaigns tripping over the internet? Campaigns are about collecting, controlling and disseminating information. The internet has a lot of rules about information transfer. These rules include complicated “unauthorized access” statutes, copyright law, trademark law and domain-name regulations.Campaigns are down-and-dirty struggles for power. Leaking favorable information and researching your opponent are fundamental tools in the contest. The internet provides a wealth of new outlets and sources of information, but the ethics of internet use are in flux, if only because it is still relatively new and does not always match up well with the ethics of campaigns, or of the rest of society.
Read Politics Get Caught in the Web from WIRED
UPDATE: Politicians Grow Wary of Survey as Internet Spreads Attack Ads (summary of the article available from the Benton Foundation with links to the subscription req’d article from the Wall Street Journal)
With the election approaching and the Internet growing as a powerful tool for negative campaigning, there’s one good-government group trying to harness Web technology for the noble purpose of better informing voters on the issues. Unfortunately, the group, Project Vote Smart, is being undermined by the same negative forces it’s trying to combat. Working out of a former dude ranch in Montana, Vote Smart runs a Web site and a toll-free number that tracks more than 10,000 candidates running for federal and state offices. Along with gathering voluminous data on voting records, speeches and endorsements, the nonprofit conducts an exhaustive survey of the candidates’ positions on issues ranging from abortion to welfare. For years, the survey was catching on with incumbents and challengers alike. But lately, the number of candidates taking the survey has dropped dramatically. The reason: Many are afraid their opponents will use the information against them in attack ads.
PLUS: Candidate disavows ‘friends’ on his MySpace page from Mercury News, Schwarzenegger exploiting microtargeting of voters from ZDNet