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B.C. political parties collect too much personal information, report says

Last Updated Feb 6, 2019 at 4:39 pm PDT

(Lasia Kretzel, NEWS 1130 Photo)

VICTORIA — A report by British Columbia’s information and privacy commissioner says the province’s three major political parties must each do a better job telling people about the information they are collecting about them.

Michael McEvoy says he’s giving B.C.’s New Democrat, Liberal and Green parties six months to become more transparent with people before deciding if a more detailed audit of party systems, databases or practices is required.

He says the province’s Personal Information Protection Act requires political parties to obtain consent from individuals to collect, use, or disclose information about them.

“We found in a lot of instances parties were gathering a lot of information about voters without asking the permission to record it,” McEvoy says. “Ethnicity, religion, age, gender those kinds of things are being recorded routinely without getting the consent of voters.”

The report makes 17 recommendations for all B.C. political parties, including ensuring the parties tell people the purposes for gathering their information at the point of collection.

“Bottom line from our report is those parties need to do a better job – and when I say parties I mean all the parties represented in the legislature – they need to do a better job in the way they collect and use your information,” McEvoy adds.

Green spokesman Stefan Jonsson said his party is reviewing the report, but has already been making improvements to the security, privacy and integrity of the personal information it gathers.