This App Sends Your Message to Your Congressman’s Voicemail As Well As to the Whole World

If you’re having trouble getting calls through to your member of Congress, an app called Stance says it might help. You just record a message and it keeps trying until it can deliver that message to voicemail. However, there is a big caveat.

Your message, which contains your name, location and personal history, if you followed the instructions of the application, becomes public without the possibility of deleting it.

Ironically, the app was released amid concerns about online privacy. Wired has urged readers to use Stance to announce a privacy vote, and Stance’s Twitter is full of audio files on the same topic.

The only sign that Stance will do this is the short message you receive when you first install the app. Click past him in excitement to write to your representative and you will never see him again. I missed it; a few others have done the same, who have tweeted Stance or his parent Ense. I emailed Stance about this and received a response saying “you are correct, the posts are publicly available on our website and cannot be deleted at this time.”

Even if you knew that your post would be published on the Stance website , you probably didn’t know that it would also end up in the Ense audio bites stream . Messages to representatives now make up the bulk of the posts there.

Stance is suitable as a tool for communicating with your elected officials. He sends messages to your congressman’s voicemail by calling his office in Washington after office hours. It tries again until it passes, but if your representative is in high demand, there is no guarantee that this approach will work. (My Senator’s voicemail is often full at the end of a business day or shortly after.) You also have no way of reviewing your message before it goes out into the world. After you speak, you will simply be presented with a screen with two buttons for “finish” or “send recording”. If you choose to send, just make sure you agree to send the record to everyone .

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