A bulk of the political ads this election cycle are paid for by outside groups not affiliated with official campaigns, making it difficult to keep track of who's actually footing the bill for all the campaign commercials flooding the airways.
Ambiguous names like "Strong America Now," "Leaders for Families" and "Citizens for Prosperity & Good Government" flash briefly on the screen at the end of these ads, but tell viewers precious little about the groups behind them, which allows superpolitical nonprofits to spend millions on campaign speech with little transparency.
The Sunlight Foundation, a Washington-based good government group, launched a new smartphone app called "Ad Hawk," which picks up the audio of political television or radio ads and immediately provides more information about the organizations behind them and what they stand for.
The program uses technology similar to "Shazam," which music lovers use to find out the name of a song and the artist by just holding up their phones to a speaker. The app is available on iPhone and Android phones.
Here's more about how it works: