Campaigns to Track Voters with “Political Cookies”

Candidates match voter records with sophisticated online tracking to target their ads. Are they going too far?

Many of the advertisements people see online today are customized. Using so-called browser cookies, advertisers can track a given Web surfers’ habits and serve them relevant ads.

This election year, a related type of targeted ads—one relying on “political cookies”—is coming into widespread use…

Most major campaigns this year will use cookie-based political advertising, says John Phillips, CEO of Aristotle International, which sells voter records combined with information like people’s hobbies and income brackets. Last week, Phillips announced a partnership with the online advertising firm Intermarkets that will let political campaigns select their online audiences based on more than 500 demographic and behavioral factors…

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