A progressive group organized to “protect Medicare” recently tracked the cell phones of protesters who attended rallies in opposition to Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer’s (D) lockdown orders.
The Committee to Protect Medicare used technology to be able to trace the travel patterns of protesters who attended two events in Lansing organized to criticize the governor.
When Breitbart News asked the group if it also tracked protesters in Detroit, Lansing, and Grand Rapids related to the death of George Floyd, it wouldn’t answer.
The group said it tracked the cell phones to determine whether attendees were then spreading coronavirus around the state.
“I think you can absolutely argue that a likely high-risk group of individuals all gathering in close quarters have a high risk of propagating the virus,” Dr. Rob Davidson, executive director of the group and a failed congressional candidate, told the Detroit News.
The paper explained the process:
The tracking, known as “geoharvesting,” is when data is gathered from a smartphone app on a device connected to the internet. That data contains geolocation information that can be queried to show movement on a map.
Michigan Freedom Fund Executive Director Tony Daunt told the Grand Rapids Reporter:
The idea that the Committee to Protect Medicare finds it necessary to track the data of cell phones from conservatives who engage in their first amendment rights and doesn’t necessarily have the same concerns about spreading the virus from those they may be more ideologically aligned with is a form of rank hypocrisy from people like Dr. Davidson, the governor and really large segments, if not all segments, of the Left and Democrats here in the state of Michigan.
During a May press conference, Whitmer seemed to refer to the tracking work of the Committee and concluded it “translates to where we’re seeing hot spots in rural parts of Michigan.”
“I don’t know the group. I’ve not vetted the data. I can’t vouch for it,” she hedged.
The group actually created a gif depicting the travel patterns of those protesters it tracked:
Our committee has reviewed data from Michigan’s second anti-lockdown protest & its attendees’ movements throughout the state. Here’s 👇 a time lapse data visualization of the 4/30 protest at the state capitol. (4/11) pic.twitter.com/3mLo1w9Qab
— Committee to Protect Medicare (@cmteetoprotect) May 18, 2020
Action Network claimed The Committee to Protect Medicare is a “project of the 501c(4) Reinvent Fund.”
Davidson, during his losing congressional campaign, decried “untraceable dark money” in politics.
The group released a new ad on Facebook, and devotes three seconds to health care and 57 seconds to attacking President Trump:
According to Open Secrets, the committee spends the vast majority of its funds on web ads.
The group wouldn’t tell Breitbart News how tracking the cell phones of anti-lockdown protesters would protect Medicare or if it would continue to cherry pick which protesters to monitor.
“People who were made aware of this may think twice about exercising their First Amendment rights and attending a protest in the future,” Daunt told the Grand Rapids Reporter.
Kyle Olson is a reporter for Breitbart News. He is also host of “The Kyle Olson Show,” syndicated on Michigan radio stations on Saturdays. Listen to segments on YouTube. Follow him on Twitter and like him on Facebook.