Data Driven Elections and Political Parties in Canada: Privacy Implications, Privacy Policies and Privacy Obligations
Canadian Journal of Law and Information Technology, Forthcoming
46 Pages Posted: 25 Mar 2018 Last revised: 21 Apr 2018
Date Written: April 12, 2018
A comparative analysis of the privacy policies of federal and provincial political parties in Canada reveals that these policies are often difficult to find, their scope is often unclear, and with a couple of exceptions, they do not address all the privacy principles. Accountability and complaints mechanisms are often not clearly publicized. Many are silent on procedures for the access and correction of data, and unsubscribing from lists. Vague and expansive statements of purpose are quite common. However, parties could comply with all ten principles within the CSA's National Standard of Canada, upon which Canadian privacy law is based, without difficulty. But it will require a thorough process of self-assessment and a commitment across the political spectrum to greater transparency. The early experience in British Columbia, where parties are regulated under the BC Personal Information Protection Act, suggests that this process is beneficial for all concerned. So there is no inherent reason why parties could not be brought within the coverage of the Personal Information Protection and Electronic Documents Act (PIPEDA). In an era of heightened publicity and concern about the role of voter analytics in elections in light of the revelations concerning Cambridge Analytica, parties in Canada need to enhance their privacy management practices and commit to complying with national privacy principles to all their operations.
Keywords: Privacy, Political Parties, Voter Analytics, Micro-Targeting
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