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New online tool allows voters to request info political parties have on them

Last Updated Oct 4, 2019 at 6:36 pm PDT

A man at a voting booth. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Graham Hughes
Summary

A new online tool helps you request the information parties have gathered on you

Using My Political Data, voters can ask each party to disclose exactly what has been collected on them

VANCOUVER (NEWS 1130) – Not only do Canadian voters have no clue what political parties know about us, we don’t know how they are using the information.

That’s a warning from the executive director of Open Media, Laura Tribe, as the advocacy group launches a new privacy tool to help shed light on the problem.

My Political Data, an online tool, helps voters request all the personal information political parties have gathered on them using the parties’ own policies.

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“So if you’ve ever interacted with a party, someone came to your door asking you to vote Conservative and you said you would never vote Conservative, then they would probably mark somewhere on your supporter record that they think that you are very unlikely to vote for them, very left wing,” Tribe says.

That data can be kept, sold and used to target you in the future, she adds.

“And there’s a lot of assumptions that they’re making about us, they’re buying information from lists, potentially selling or sharing information we don’t know. We don’t know what analysis they’re running on it, but we know that there’s a lot of work being done on our data to, manipulate that data.”

Using the tool, voters can ask each party to disclose exactly what has been collected on them. Tribe is hoping that even if none of the requests are answered, it will send a message that political groups are not exempt from the law.