RUSH: This is Matt from Miami and it says you are an exec in the telecommunications industry, right?
CALLER: Yes, that’s right, Rush. Thank you so much. It’s been 15 years listening to you, and I’m thrilled that my expertise and your expertise may actually intersect and allow me to make you look good.
RUSH: Well, thanks very much. That is the purpose of a caller, and let’s hope you can do it.
CALLER: Well, first off, I think it’s important to think about motivations. Our president, like all the Democratic presidents, would love to be Bill Clinton after he leaves office, and to do that you need to have power. You need to be a kingmaker. A database can do that. I left a multibillion-dollar phone company to start a smaller company, and our core product is a product that looks up phone numbers instantly when people make or receive phone calls and uses that information to populate details on the screen for people to use in selling or supporting customers, like their name, their address, the value of their home, their marital status, approximate income, approximate assets, cards they have registered to the address they live at, whether they’re in foreclosure, Facebook profiles, LinkedIn profiles, Twitter profiles associated with that number. The advent of mobile phones has created a situation where a phone number equals a person, so the phone number’s a much better index for getting everything you know about a person than something that’s less easy and less public like a Social Security number. And so my company sells that information to companies so that they can know who is calling and route that call better and offer appropriate products or not.
RUSH: Wait a second. I want to be able to follow this. You have a company that sells databases based on phone numbers to other companies. When they get a call from somebody, what happens?
CALLER: When they get a call from somebody, we get that incoming or outgoing number through a database, we pull up a record with that phone number —
RUSH: Where? Who’s seeing this at the time the call comes in, where does this go?
CALLER: The person can display it on an iPad, can display on the screen on a computer, you know, any screen.
RUSH: So just the phone number of somebody calling a business, for example —
RUSH: — somebody calls the reception number at a business, your software tells that receptionist, whoever gets the call, everything knowable about that number?
CALLER: That’s right. That’s right. Anything that we can get from any public records databases, so that’s, you know, political registrations, party affiliation, whether you’ve donated to any organization that listed your name publicly —
RUSH: What you do on Twitter, what you do on Facebook, this kind of thing?
CALLER: Exactly. Pull up the last two or three things you put on Twitter or Facebook recently so I could use that to schmooze you as a client, say, “Hey, I see you’re interested in fishing,” or whatever.
RUSH: How long does it take for this information to display once the number is input to your software?
CALLER: The information displays before the phone even rings.
RUSH: Before the phone rings. Okay, let’s say that I am an executive somewhere at a business and I’ve got a phone here on my desk —
RUSH: — and I’ve got my computer terminal and my iPad or whatever, and I’m gonna get a phone call, the number originating that call, what happens? How do I see this data? Even before I answer it I know who it is on the other end of that number?
CALLER: Yeah. Here’s what’s happening, Rush. There’s a trigger that’s either in your device or it could be in your telephone company’s switch.
RUSH: And this is your proprietary software, this is your app, in other words.
CALLER: That’s right.
CALLER: That trigger sends the phone number that you’ve just made or received a phone call to, to an application, and you’ve signed into that application with your e-mail address and password. And so those two apps in a sense are linked, one app telling the other app what phone number has made or received a phone call to your device. Your IP phone or your smartphone or —
RUSH: So while I, the executive, am on the phone talking to whoever calls, I can actually see on my display who they are?
CALLER: Yep. Yep. You can see what their FICO score is. You can see if they’ve ever had a foreclosure or a bankruptcy against them. You can decide whether they’re a good fit for you even to be talking to.
RUSH: While I’m talking to them I can have all that. I don’t have to wait ’til I hang up and send somebody out to find this data, bring it to me; I can see it while I’m speaking to them?
CALLER: Correct. You can act on it during the call.
RUSH: How widespread is this?
CALLER: Well, that’s what I’m working on. The app has been developed. The databases exist. These aren’t my databases. I’m licensing databases from companies that are in the business.
RUSH: Is anybody reluctant to take this — I mean, if you were trying to pitch me on this, I’d say, “How do you have all this information? How are you using it and how do you expect I’m going to?” I guess your real point here is if you can put all this together just based on a phone number —
RUSH: — then government officials can certainly do this and more, right? That’s really what your point is.
CALLER: Right. See, I can go one further. If I know that I have a contributor to let’s say the DNC, then I can look at who they made calls to, and see if those people they called are also contributors. I can make the assumption that they might be fellow travelers but maybe they’re not currently donating or currently registering or currently voting. I can target those people because they’re friends of somebody that I’m using as sort of a starting point, and then I can microtarget marketing, canvassing, at those other people —
RUSH: Now, I would assume that all this data that your app is collecting is public?
CALLER: Yeah, absolutely. We’re not hacking into databases. There’s nothing shady about it. This is all information that you’ve made available through whatever relationships you’ve had with credit card companies, credit reporting agencies, marketing companies, people you subscribe to, magazines, that sort of thing. Everybody in our database, and everybody’s in it, has given their permission. And we don’t have all the information on every single person, but we have all the basic information. We have name, address —
RUSH: Okay. So, what you really called about was to tell us what Obama is doing, what you think he’s doing with all this data being collected. They’re telling us, “Don’t worry, it’s metadata. It’s nothing.”
CALLER: That’s right.
RUSH: You’re telling us it is something, right?
CALLER: Right. I think he’s creating a tool that will give him 30 years of significant wealth and influence, because if I want to win a race in a scenario, I can go to Obama and I can kiss his ring, and he can help me target the people that will help me get over the top, people that aren’t currently donating, aren’t currently voting or registered to vote, and he can tell me who they are, and he can help me go get them. And he can even have an organization that actually goes and gets them for me, and that’s even more of a complete service on his part.
RUSH: Okay, so when you see that Obama is partnering with, say, Eric Schmidt from Google, and that Google is investing in Organizing for America, it’s this kind of thing that they might be doing?
CALLER: I think so, Rush. This is the tool that businesses use to drive product sales, and the better data —
RUSH: Well, look, just on a supermarket shelf, just you taking a product off that shelf with one scan can tell the inventory person so much: what they need to stock, how much of it they need to stock, to keep their inventory costs down. It is amazing what can be done and is being done with this data. Well, this is fascinating. Matt in Miami is who this is, and he’s working on selling an app to people that does all of this, and, believe me, data and information about people that you’re dealing with is gold. And that’s why all of this does matter. Who has it, and why.