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.

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Oak Bay confirms first heritage conservation area

Heritage bylaw for The Prospect neighbourhood in final phase

Victoria resident says WestJet employee uttered racist comment, refused to let her on plane

Customer claims she was told ‘You guys can’t handle your alcohol’ by WestJet employee

Heavy patches of fog along Malahat Tuesday afternoon

Drivers should use caution, drive slow along Okotoks Drive

West Shore RCMP seek man wanted on four counts of breaching court conditions

Christopher Elliott, 28, described as Caucasian with black hair, brown eyes

Work has started on Malahat Skywalk, expected completion in 2021

$15-million project expected to open in spring, 2021

B.C. reports first coronavirus in Vancouver region

First patient visited Wuhan, China, reported symptoms

POLL: Are you concerned about the coronavirus?

The coronavirus which has sparked concern around the globe has now arrived… Continue reading

Greater Victoria’s wanted list for the week of Jan. 28

Greater Victoria Crime Stoppers is seeking the public’s help in locating the… Continue reading

B.C. reports first coronavirus in Vancouver region

First patient visited Wuhan, China, reported symptoms

Bystander who tried to help dog being attacked not liable for its death: B.C. tribunal

Owner of dog killed tried to get $5,000 in damages from man who tried to save it

INFOGRAPHIC: See how fast your B.C. city grew in 2019

The province’s fastest-growing municipalities were located on Vancouver Island

Landowner hearings begin for Trans Mountain expansion in Alberta

Detailed route talks start in Spruce Grove, in B.C. communities soon

Baby Bear statue returned to be reunited with Mama and Papa in Island Secret Garden spot

Culprit left it near the Henry Road roundabout in Chemainus with a note attached

Most Read