General Election: Profiling of voters is off limits

Personal data about you is held by all the major political parties. They harvest it, process it on an industrial scale and use it to target individuals across all regions of the UK. Before the Dec election has kicked off, The Information Commissioner’s Office has warned all political parties, they need the explicit consent of all voters to profile them and process their data fairly and transparently.

Our local candidates standing in the forthcoming election probably have little knowledge of, or understanding of their own parties Privacy Policy. They maybe unaware that any data they receive from their respective head office, to target voters on the ground, here in the district, may or may not have used automated processing, including profiling, as this produces legal or similarly significant effects on the rights of you the voter.

In 2016 Tory Mayor Candidate for London, Zac Goldsmith was accused of ‘racial profiling’ voters.

In August 2018 a marketing business flogged data of over a million new mums to the Labour Party, via Experian and they used it.

In mid Oct 2019,  Rowland Manthorpe published the fact – The Liberal Democrats are using software which estimates the age and first language of voters by analysing their names.

In Nov 2018 the Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO) were concerned enough to issue formal notices to eleven political parties (Conservatives, Labour, Lib Dems, Greens, SNP, Plaid Cymru, DUP, Ulster Unionists, Social Democrat, Sinn Féin and UKIP) regarding their processing of personal data because they were: assuming ethnicity and/or age and combining this with electoral data sets they hold. They to raised concerns about data accuracy; a lack of fair processing information; the use of third-party data analytics companies with insufficient checks that those companies have obtained correct consents for use of data for that purpose, and more.

All Political parties have been warned by the ICO that they cannot use “behind-the-scenes profiling” to target voters without their explicit consent in the Dec 2019 election. An ICO spokesperson  said: “People can only make truly informed choices about who to vote for if they are sure those decisions have not been unduly influenced by behind-the-scenes use of algorithms, analysis, data matching and profiling. We are consulting on a framework that will clarify how personal data can be used in political campaigning to ensure it is used fairly, legally and transparently.”

Rowland Manthorpe’s article proves beyond all reasonable doubt the Lib Dems continue to use software which estimates the age and first language of voters by analysing their names, even though this raises serious concerns for the ICO about data accuracy and a lack of fair processing among other things.

We ask all the general election candidates who are standing in the Folkestone & Hythe District the following questions:

  • Where have your parties got the information from to profile residents?

  • What data have your parties used to profile residents?

  • How have your parties processed residents data?

  • With regards you parties transparency obligations regarding profiling, will you make it easily accessible for the residents and ensure it is brought to their attention?

We suspect this will fall on death ears and that MP’s sitting, and hoping for a seat, will ignore this reasonable call, thus ensuring their failure to  be transparent about their privacy policies..

The Shepwayvox Team

Journalism for the People NOT the Powerful

We are grateful to Tim Turner

About shepwayvox (1801 Articles)
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1 Comment on General Election: Profiling of voters is off limits

  1. Whatever their profiling informs them, the Conservatives are currently unaware that the rank dishonesty of their Prime Minister, and the tacit acceptance of the Party in this dishonesty, render me unable to give them my vote. Despite my unfailing Conservative vote for some 53 years, this year my vote is not theirs. Instead I will review tactical voting to attempt to rein-in their arrogance over the British people.

    Brexit, in my view, is probably a given and I accept this. However, democracy is what it says. Where now is democracy to be found?

    Obviously we cannot afford any form of Labour inadequacy but some form of coalition may form the framework of a way to progress.

    In my view a vote for any Party close to the Conservative Party, thus giving a coalition, may be expedient as I cannot see any single Party being triumphant.

    December will either elate me or leave me angry beyond belief.

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