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Republican National Committee Outlines New Voter Data Sharing Strategy

BY Sarah Lai Stirland | Wednesday, May 1 2013

The Republican National Committee on Wednesday said that Liberty Works, the new Silicon Valley group formed by private equity investor Dick Boyce and supported by Karl Rove, is going to build the new data-sharing platform for the party going forward.

Data Trust, which is the outside entity that manages the RNC's voter data, will still be involved in managing the information, and establishing the rules of access, said RNC Spokeswoman Kirsten Kukowski in an interview.

Liberty Works will both build and pay for the technology platform, which will provide access to the RNC's voter files and other information to authorized third parties. The RNC is hoping that third party developers and other Republican party committees will build applications on this platform using the RNC's data. Those third parties in turn will be obligated to share whatever information they gather about voters back into the central database run by Data Trust.

The projected cost of the project is estimated to be between $10 and $20 million, Kukowski said.

“Our venture will change the game with a Republican, free enterprise approach to data and technology. We are building an open platform to increase access to data for the entire Republican team as well as to bring creativity and technological innovation to our party through new great applications that can be built off the platform,” Boyce told Roll Call.

May 1 is also the deadline the RNC had set itself in its autopsy report to find a new chief technology officer. Kukowski said that the party is in the final stages of choosing a candidate.

"They've certainly picked a team with both business and technological acumen, which suggests that they're making all the right moves," said Cyrus Krohn, CEO and Founder of Crowdverb, a tech company in Bellevue, Washington, and a former RNC digital strategist.

Young GOP operatives and state party leaders have complained that the RNC doesn't have any voter database organization as sophisticated as the Democrats' NGP VAN. This, and other RNC efforts currently underway are meant to narrow and possibly leapfrog that gap.

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