NDP leader John Horgan speaks to a rally at the Commodore Ballroom in Vancouver during the May 2017 election campaign. (Black Press files)

B.C. political parties profiling with voters’ personal information

Consent needed for social media ‘scraping,’ privacy commissioner says

Profiling and personal data collection by B.C. political parties should be better regulated, B.C. Information and Privacy Commissioner Michael McEvoy says.

McEvoy released a report Wednesday that finds the NDP, B.C. Liberals and B.C. Green party meeting the technical requirements for information collected by petitions, door-knocking and social media campaigning. But he makes 17 recommendations, including getting “express consent of the individual” for sharing email addresses with social media companies.

“Throughout the 2017 election, my office received several complaints about political parties improperly disclosing and failing to take adequate security measures to protect the personal information of voters,” McEvoy wrote.

“The complaints included instances of stolen equipment, lost canvassing lists, and retention of voter data after the election. Those complaints and the changes to the Election Act served as the basis for my office launching this investigation.”

The investigations come after international revelations of Facebook information being collected through online questionnaires, which record not only the user but also his or her “friends” as part of a profile of their tastes and preferences. This database was sold to third parties who used it to target political ads.

RELATED: B.C. company denies link to Facebook data scandal

RELATED: Federal Liberals tried Facebook project, source alleges

McEvoy is checking B.C. political parties for similar activities.

“Some of this collection of information arises from observations made and recorded about a person by a canvasser going door to door, while other examples included ‘scraping’ personal information from social media platforms and disclosing donor lists, birth dates and other data to Facebook,” McEvoy said. “To be absolutely clear, political parties may be allowed to collect and use this kind of information. However, in most circumstances, the political party would need to get the individual’s consent.”


@tomfletcherbc
tfletcher@blackpress.ca

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

Just Posted

Prescribed burns to take place around Lytton, Spences Bridge

BC Wildfire Service will only conduct burns if conditions permit

Flooding hits Highway 97 north of Cache Creek

Recent warm temperatures are causing an increase in flooding on area roads

Golden Country: Fact or legend?

Sasquatch have long been reported in our region, but do the creatures really exist?

B.C. minister says rural internet is ‘railroad of the 21st century’

Jinny Sims talks details about the $50-million provincial and possible $750-million federal funds

Suspected car thieves captured walking down B.C. highway

Three individuals from Williams Lake in custody after Gustafson’s Kia break in and theft

Five highlights in the 2019 federal budget

Latest budget includes a sprinkling of money for voters across a wide spectrum

Facebook to overhaul ad targeting to prevent discrimination

The company is also paying about $5 million to cover plaintiffs’ legal fees and other costs

B.C. mosque part of open-house effort launched in wake of New Zealand shootings

The ‘Visit a Mosque’ campaign aims to combat Islamophobia

‘That’s a load of crap’: Dog poop conspiracy spreads in White Rock

Allegation picked up steam through a Facebook page run by a city councillor

Explosives unit brought in after suspicious boxes left at B.C. RCMP detachment

Nanaimo RCMP issues all clear after packages were found on lawn earlier in the day

Newfoundland man caught after posting photo of himself drinking and driving

The 19-year-old took a photo of himself holding a beer bottle and cigarette while at the wheel

2019 BUDGET: As deficit grows, feds spend on job retraining, home incentives

Stronger economy last year delivered unexpected revenue bump of an extra $27.8 billion over six years

Carfentanil found in 15% of overdose deaths in January: B.C. coroner

Carfentanil is 100 times more powerful than illicit fentanyl and used to tranquilize elephants

Kids found playing darts with syringes in Vancouver Island park

Saanich police is urging people to throw out their syringes properly and safely

Most Read