Voter Privacy and Big-Data Elections

Forthcoming, Osgoode Hall Law Journal

Ottawa Faculty of Law Working Paper No. 2021-12

64 Pages Posted: 11 Dec 2020

See all articles by Elizabeth F. Judge

Elizabeth F. Judge

University of Ottawa - Common Law Section

Michael Pal

University of Ottawa - Common Law Section

Date Written: December 10, 2020

Abstract

Big data and analytics have changed politics, with serious implications for the protection of personal privacy and for democracy. Political parties now hold large amounts of personal information about the individuals from whom they seek political contributions and, at election time, votes. This voter data is used for a variety of purposes, including voter contact and turnout, fundraising, honing of political messaging, and microtargeted communications designed specifically to appeal to small subsets of voters. Yet both privacy laws and election laws in Canada have failed to keep up with these developments in political campaigning and are in need of reform to protect voter privacy. We provide an overview of big data campaign practices, analyze the gaps in Canadian federal privacy and election law that enable such practices, and offer recommendations to amend federal laws to address the threats to voter privacy posed by big data election campaigns.

Keywords: election law, privacy law, big data, data protection, PIPEDA, Canada Elections Act

Suggested Citation

Judge, Elizabeth F. and Pal, Michael, Voter Privacy and Big-Data Elections (December 10, 2020). Forthcoming, Osgoode Hall Law Journal, Ottawa Faculty of Law Working Paper No. 2021-12, Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=3746632 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.3746632

Elizabeth F. Judge (Contact Author)

University of Ottawa - Common Law Section ( email )

57 Louis Pasteur Street
Ottawa, K1N 6N5
Canada

Michael Pal

University of Ottawa - Common Law Section ( email )

57 Louis Pasteur Street
Ottawa, K1N 6N5
Canada

HOME PAGE: http://www.commonlaw.uottawa.ca/index.php?option=com_contact&task=view&contact_id=799&Itemid=151

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