Use of political texts, robocalls mirror digital age

Tech expert: Hand-held devices 'new platform of choice'

SAN ANTONIO – Getting more texts and robocalls on handheld devices ahead of the upcoming mid-term elections is considered the new political "platform of choice" to reach voters.

David Heard, CEO of Tech Bloc, a tech industry advocacy non-profit, said, "Perhaps the next presidential cycle you’ll see the use and leveraging of people’s smart devices and their phones go even further."

Heard said that’s why he advises voters, "Keep your eyes wide open."

Although many are legitimate campaigns appealing for votes, Heard said: "It is a wild, Wild West when it comes to social media, the internet and certainly information pushed directly to you on the phone."

He said it could be anyone calling or texting voters with unsubstantiated information.

"It’s not been vetted. People don’t know the quality or the believability of it," Heard said. "It can alter the perception of the candidate in a nanosecond and it may not even be true."

He said it could even be a rival campaign.

Heard described technology as a double-edged sword that could help convince voters to support a candidate or alienate and even deceive voters.

Applications are out there and more are being developed to help screen and verify data.

Although many cellular users have to resort to blocking annoying calls on their cellphones, Heard said he’s reminded of the old sign, "No soliciting."

"We need a version of that for our phones," Heard said.

About the Author: