Three important studies examine the threats to free, impartial and transparent elections
The UK Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO) published today three new studies regarding personal data analysis for the promotion of political campaigns.
The first report is entitled “Democracy Disrupted? Personal information and political influence”. The objective of the study is to shred light on the use of personal data in the context of political campaigns. Moreover, this report includes ten (10) proposals for the legal and transparent use of personal data during political campaigns by political parties of the UK in the future.
The second report is entitled “Investigation into data analytics for political purposes – update”. The objective of the study is to inform the public on the new findings of the Authority in the context of its investigation, initiated on May 2017, regarding the processing of personal data in political campaigns. This investigation was launched subsequently to claims for secret processing of voters’ personal data and use of targeted political advertisements during the referendum on Brexit.
Furthermore, the report includes an analytical reflection on the recent regulatory acts of the UK regarding companies involved (Facebook, Cambridge Analytica, etc.), political parties, data brokers, organizations supporting political campaigns, etc. It is for sure that one of the latest acts of the Authority, which has caught the attention of the press, is the notice to Facebook, with which it informs the company of its intention to issue a fine of 500,000 pounds against it (around 565,000 Euro) for the violation of the Data Protection Act of 1998. It must be underlined that this fine was the maximum, which could be issued according to the then legislation.
The third report was concluded in cooperation with the investigation team DEMOS and is entitled “DEMOS report – The future of political campaigning”. This study analyzes the modern and future trends regarding the way in which various data are used during political campaigns.
Furthermore, the report describes the methods, which are widely known in the online advertising sector, and the way in which these methods are already being used or might be used in the near future for political campaigns. Finally, it mentions the risks and challenges which stem from data analysis for political campaigns.