The public's obsession with gadgetry could spur increased political interest this election season. A new iPhone app was released Aug. 22 that detects political TV advertisements using audio fingerprinting and checks the ads for truth.
Developed by Dan Siegel and Jennifer Hollett, former students at MIT's Media Lab, the Super PAC App is free of advertisements, free to download and funded by a $240,000 grant from the Knight Foundation.
The app tells the user which super political action committee (PAC) paid for the advertisement and how much money it is spending on the campaign. This information is considered especially important this year since it is the first presidential election since the creation of Super PACs, which can raise and spend an unlimited amount of money to advocate for or against political candidates.
“With TV advertising consuming a significant amount of the resources we spend on selecting our leaders, it’s important to the future of our democracy that Americans can transparently view who funds these messages,” Michael Maness, vice president for journalism and media innovation at the Knight Foundation, said in a statement.
To verify the information in the ads, the Super PAC App points the users to data from PolitiFact and FactCheck.org after identifying the audio from the TV advertisement in question by using audio recognition technology from TuneSat. According to the official website, the purpose of the application is to improve transparency in politics.