Saturday, October 17, 2009

Undocumented lobbying

Here's a little tidbit I learned at the conference that wasn't presented in a panel: it is possible to send a text message from one Blackberry to another that leaves no electronic record. These are called PIN-to-PIN messages, which allow users to contact each other by identifying the unique PIN number associated with each Blackberry rather than using a phone number.

How does this relate to politics? Members of legislatures and their staffers will give out their PIN numbers to lobbyists. The lobbyists, watching legislative proceedings from through a window or even on TV, can directly instruct the members how to vote via text messages. No money changes hands, no meeting takes place, no communication is recorded. But lobbying has occurred.

I'm guessing you don't have the PIN numbers for your elected officials' Blackberries. Just sayin'.

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