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

Flood warning issued for Boundary as Kettle River expected to rise to 20-year return level

RDKB: This amounts to a high flood risk for low-lying properties in the region

RDKB issues evacuation orders for some residents on Granby River near Highway 3 bridge

The RDKB also issued evacuation orders for areas of Manly Meadows, Johnson Flats

RDKB issues evacuation alert for 1,100 Boundary properties

Warm weather and heavy rain could cause sections of Kettle River system to swell beyond 2018 levels

RDKB launches survey to address housing needs in the district

Communities in the district include Trail, Grand Forks, Rossland and Fruitvale

Possible Kermode Bear spotted near Castlegar

A local resident spotted the white-coloured bear while on an evening trail run on May 27

COVID-19: B.C. landlords can’t evict if they decline rent assistance

Emergency order ‘incentive’ for federal program, Carole James says

Investigators probe death of CN employee at Surrey rail yard

Transportation Safety Board is investigating an ‘occurrence that took place during switching operations’

Trans Mountain starts B.C. leg of pipeline twinning project

Mostly finished in Alberta, Burnaby terminal expanding

NDP getting COVID-19 wage subsidy ‘indirectly,’ B.C. Liberal leader says

Andrew Wilkinson says he’s heard no concerns from public

Love flourishes at Peace Arch Park, but COVID-19 concerns loom

South Surrey park becomes only place for international couples to meet

UPDATE: B.C.’s Central Kootenay issues evacuation orders for hundreds of residents due to flooding

An evacuation alert covers all areas except the Cities of Castelgar and Nelson

Most Read