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.

BC legislature

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

Just Posted

Entangled gopher snake freed from netting in Coldstream

Local wildlife expert offers a reminder to homeowners following the snake’s rescue

Spallumcheen road blocked following truck collision

Both sides of Salmon River Road have been closed

Two Buddha statues stolen from Vernon yards

One owner said her statue had been left undisturbed for more than 10 years

Water levels starting to recede in Shuswap River

Though a positive trend, City of Enderby high-water restrictions are still in effect

Vernon woman seeks replica of treasured children’s toy

Monique Lee hopes someone has a replica of the Winnie the Pooh toy they’d be willing to part with

VIDEO: B.C. dentist gets grand welcome home after two months in hospital fighting COVID-19

Michael Chow was given a surprise send off by hospital staff and ‘welcome home’ from neighbours

‘Like finding a needle in a haystack’: Ancient arrowhead discovered near Williams Lake

The artifact is believed to be from the Nesikip period between 7,500 BP to 6,000 BP

Indigenous families say their loved ones’ deaths in custody are part of pattern

Nora Martin joins other Indigenous families in calling for a significant shift in policing

Friends, family mourn Salt Spring Island woman killed in suspected murder-suicide

A GoFundMe campaign has been launched for Jennifer Quesnel’s three sons

PHOTOS: Anti-racism protesters gather in communities across B.C.

More protests are expected through the weekend

Indigenous chief alleges RCMP beat him during arrest that began over expired licence plate

Athabasca Chipewyan Chief Allan Adam calling for independent investigation

‘I’m pissed, I’m outraged’: Federal minister calls out police violence against Indigenous people

Indigenous Minister Marc Miller spoke on recent incidents, including fatal shooting of a B.C. woman

UPDATED: Pair accused of ‘horrific’ assault at Vancouver’s Oppenheimer Park arrested

Police say Jason Tapp, 30, and Nicole Edwards, 33, did not show up to meet their bail supervisor this week

Most Read