App Identifies Political Ad SponsorsCategory: Science & Technology
Posted: August 28, 2012 08:08PM
Normally I try to avoid writing any news items with an obvious political purpose in them (which fortunately are quite rare from my sources), but this, I feel, is a reasonable exception. The Sunlight Foundation has released a free app for iOS and Android devices called Ad Hawk. This app uses a device's microphone to listen to a political ad and analyzes it like music matching apps, which identify the music you are listening to at the moment.
Once the ad is identified, the app gives you the name of the ad, the sponsor, and some information about the sponsor. This information includes, if Sunlight has the information, a quick "About" for the sponsor, how much money it has received, spent, has on hand, and a quick break down of how the money is spent (do the ads support or oppose Republicans or Democrats).
With so many groups getting involved with producing ads besides the campaigns, this information could be useful for someone trying to keep track of where everything is coming from. Of course that person would also have to still care about the political ads being run, so maybe this app will not see much use.