Tuesday, June 05, 2012

Robocalls: A tech question

Guess the Walker recall election in Wisconsin must be closer than I thought. The Walker forces are putting out misleading robocalls which tell voters that they don't have to cast a ballot today if they signed a petition for the recall.

Personally, I would favor a law to insure that any campaign resorting to such tactics automatically loses the election. The problem with such a law is obvious: How would you know which party or person initiated the robocalls?

But that brings us to our tech question. In this day and age, how could we not know? Phone companies keep records. Calls made from computers may be traced, ultimately, to an individual IP address. If a phone call provided a clue to identifying a murderer, investigators would find some way to trace it, no matter how cleverly the caller tried to hide his tracks. Well, why not apply that same investigative zeal to solving the murder of democracy?

Of course, as we've seen in a previous post, even if the robocalls were traced to a specific computer, there is the problem of RATs. A Remotely Accessed Trojan is a type of malware which allows you to commandeer an innocent person's computer for mischievous purposes, such as making phone calls which cannot be traced back to you.

This Canadian article traces robocalls made there to disposable cell phones. But even those can be traced.  

Incidentally, right-wingers are very quick to denounce robocalls when the trick is used against them. See here.

1 comment:

Mr. Mike said...

Limbaugh mentioned the robocalls on his show today. He is of the opinion it's a Democrat dirty trick to get the results of the election overturned if Walker wins. So you know it was a republican operation.

Wednesday the conservatives will be spinning Walker's victor as a referendum on Obama and they will be right.