Currently, political parties are exempted from the privacy laws that they require companies to adhere to. It means there are no laws or oversight governing how political parties collect, use or store our data – and no requirements for them to disclose if our personal information has been hacked or breached.
Our political views and associations are clearly very sensitive, private information, which is why privacy experts including Canada’s Federal privacy commissioner1 have spoken out clearly about the importance of safeguarding that information.2
On top of that, the Standing Committee on Access to Information, Privacy and Ethics, who studied the Cambridge Analytica scandal, recommended3 in their report applying privacy rules to political parties, as an important measure to address digital privacy vulnerabilities and threats to Canada’s democratic electoral process.
It’s not just the experts who feel this way: polling shows that 72% of Canadians want stronger privacy rules for political parties.4
The government had a chance to fix this issue with the recent Elections Modernization Act. However, they chose instead to preserve their own exemptions to privacy laws.
Now, with elections coming up this year, all parties need to commit to addressing this important issue and include protecting our private data in their party platforms.