Political party privacy

 Privacy rules for political parties now

Canada’s Minister of Democratic Institutions, Karina Gould, has just said that she will refuse to apply privacy laws to our political parties.1

This means that there would continue to be no laws or oversight governing how political parties collect, use or store our data – and no requirements for them to disclose if our sensitive political information has been hacked or breached.

This is a huge threat to our privacy, and makes Canadians less willing to participate in politics and elections. But it’s not too late – the government hasn’t officially responded yet, and we can still change her mind. Send an urgent message now to demand these crucial protections for our private data!

Read the full petition here

To: The Honourable Karina Gould, Minister of Democratic Institutions
CC The Right Honourable Justin Trudeau, Prime Minister of Canada

Today, we are asking you fulfill your role as Minister of Democratic Institutions, and take steps to ensure that people in Canada’s personal information is protected by our political parties.

Canada’s political parties must be made subject to federal privacy laws in order to protect our privacy and build trust in our democratic processes.

Our current rules provide no laws or oversight governing how political parties collect, use or store our data – and no requirements for them to disclose if our sensitive political information has been hacked or breached. This is unacceptable behaviour from those who seek to represent Canadians, and run our democratic institutions. We deserve better.

This view is supported by the Privacy Commissioner of Canada, Daniel Therrien, who has stated that “Information about our political views is highly sensitive and it’s clearly unacceptable that federal and provincial parties are not subject to privacy laws.”

Polling commissioned by OpenMedia shows that a large majority — 72% — of people in Canada support changing the law so that political parties follow the same privacy rules as private companies.

Developing specific privacy rules for political parties, or making them subject to PIPEDA, is a straightforward fix to this problem that has also been endorsed by MPs from the three major parties on the Access to Information, Privacy and Ethics Committee. This is not a partisan issue; it’s common sense.

People in Canada need assurances that our political parties’ interests will not take precedence over our privacy and security. And with federal elections due in 2019, we need to safeguard our democracy and protect against undue influence stemming from online privacy violations.

Please commit to making political parties subject to federal privacy laws.

Thank you.

[Your Name Will Appear Here]

This campaign is hosted by OpenMedia. We will protect your privacy, and keep you informed about this campaign and others. Find OpenMedia's privacy policy here.

More information:

Political parties are not currently covered under Canada's existing privacy laws.

Bill C-76, the sprawling, 300+ page electoral reform bill aimed at boosting democratic participation and limiting foreign influence in our elections, has failed to address this omission.

Instead, the only change Bill C-76 makes is to require that parties publish their privacy policies. These policies have no standards or oversight built in, and provide no guarantees that our sensitive information will be treated appropriately.

This omission has been slammed in a joint statement from Canada’s federal, provincial and territorial privacy watchdogs, saying “Political parties are gathering significant amounts of personal information on voters as they adopt new targeting techniques. Information about our political views is highly sensitive and it’s clearly unacceptable that federal and provincial parties are not subject to privacy laws.”2

MPs from the three major parties on Access to Information, Privacy and Ethics Committee have also recommended, in a study investigating the Cambridge Analytica scandal, that the government should either develop a set of privacy rules for political parties or bring them under existing laws.3

Polling commissioned by OpenMedia shows that a large majority — 72% — of people in Canada support changing the law so that political parties follow the same privacy rules as private companies.4

The government has yet to officially respond to the committee’s recommendation, however a spokesperson for Democratic Institutions Minister Karina Gould indicated that they intend to simply require a privacy policy rather than making political parties subject to privacy laws.5

This action is hosted by:

Footnotes:

[1,5] Liberals won’t put political parties under privacy laws in wake of Facebook’s Cambridge Analytica scandal: The Star

[2] Political parties need privacy rules, watchdogs say: The Star

[3] House committee says privacy laws should apply to political parties: CBC

[4] 72% of people in Canada support stronger privacy rules for political parties: OpenMedia

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Press: Laura Tribe | Phone: +1 (888) 441-2640 ext. 0 | Office: +1 (844) 891-5136 | laura@openmedia.org