Politics and civics

Do not give @resistbot your personally identifiable info

Less than an hour ago, 11:20 am Pacific, @resistbot asked me (via SMS) if I was registered to vote.*

I do not usually interact with it, but this time, I replied “yes.” That seemed innocuous. I thought the group might be looking for data about percentage of users who are registered.

But no.

They wanted ALL of my personally identifiable information: real first and last name, date of birth, mailing address.

No where do they tell you anything about how they will use or manage your DOB.

That’s the kicker: date of birth.

Yes, they need an address to put on a letter to Congress. And yes you have to have a lot of trust about how they treat that info.

But DOB moves their data-gathering into a whole new realm.

Remember when we were up in arms last year when Kansas politician Kris Kobach asked all 50 states for voter data?


In an insult to trust, the Resistbot Action Fund is the opposite of transparent.

The organization “about” page claims that Resistbot Action Fund is a 501(c)4 but there is no supporting documentation nor any financial report.


The @resistbot privacy page advises that it may use your information for targeted advertising. It says nothing about how it keeps your information safe (security practices) and does not address date of birth.

We and our third party partners may also use cookies and tracking technologies for advertising purposes.

Opaque is the word.

Moreover, as Micay Sifry noted last year (emphasis added):

ResistBot is not genius, it won’t affect Trump’s spirit, and it certainly doesn’t help voters oppose Trump. As designed it does not fill a gap in the existing ecosystem of already-existing and newly designed tools and platforms aimed at getting people to contact their Members of Congress. There are more than 80 new “action-alert” tools alone, according to the ActionAlliance‘s Corinna Kester…

Making it easier to digitally contact your Member of Congress paradoxically makes it more likely that they will discount the value of your opinion. Honest digital organizers have been talking about this problem for years (read the late Jake Brewer on “The Tragedy of Advocacy” and watch Clay Shirky’s talk at the 2010 Personal Democracy Forum on “rethinking representation“). This is why Members pay very little attention to emails and a lot to people showing up at their congressional office or local district office.

Just say no. Do NOT give a basically anonymous organization your name, DOB, and address!

Twitter thread unrolled.

* I have tried to resist noting that the text is grammatically incorrect. Notice the word that is missing?

By Kathy E. Gill

Digital evangelist, speaker, writer, educator. Transplanted Southerner; teach newbies to ride motorcycles! @kegill

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