Data and Democracy

Open Rights Group’s Data and Democracy project seeks to prevent digital technologies from eroding public trust in the democratic process.

The UK’s electoral systems are undergoing a stress test of a sort that they have rarely experienced. On one hand, innovations such as online deliberation present an opportunity to open up policy making. On the other, political actors are using personal data to make conflicting promises to discrete demographics – with no accountability or consent. These practices can help, or hinder, the ability of elections to be free and fair in the digital age.

To mitigate these threats and restore integrity to our elections we aim to influence debate, conduct research, mobilise supporters and develop principles to shape the ethical use of these technologies.

Click here for our latest blog post on how Covid-19 can make or break digital democracy.


Want to know what political parties think about you?

Find out here.

What data do political parties hold on you?

Online, political parties want to be your best friend. In reality, they don’t know you at all.

Who do they think you are? Click here.

The Story So Far

The DPDI Bill Threatens the Integrity of the UK General Election

In our latest briefing, Open Rights Group raises the alarm over changes in the Data Protection and Digital Information Bill (DPDI Bill) that could open the floodgate for the abuse of data analytics and new technologies for electoral manipulation.
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Blindspots in new guidance on use of data in campaigning

The Information Commissioner’s Office published their new “Guidance for the use of personal data in political campaigning”.
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ORG Takes Political Parties to Privacy Watchdog

On 11 December 2020, the eve of the anniversary of the 2019 General Election Open Rights Group submitted complaints, represented by the data rights firm AWO, to the Information Commissioner’s Office on behalf of data subjects on the processing of personal data by the Labour Party, the Conservative and Unionist Party and the Liberal Democrats.
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10,000,000 voters racially profiled by Conservatives

The summary report of ICO’s audits of UK political parties have finally been published.
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Digital Imprints, GDPR and Enforcement

Yesterday ORG submitted its response to the Cabinet Office’s technical consultation on digital imprints.
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Bigger than Cambridge Analytica

ORG’s view on the ICO’s personal data and political campaigns investigation.
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Hot Take: the Russia Report and Elections

Amongst the many revelations in the Russia report, a battle is playing out for the future regulatory landscape of UK elections.
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Winners, losers, and unanswered questions

In their report released on Monday the House of Lords’ Democracy and Digital Technologies Select Committee produced a comprehensive overview of problems it considers to be of high importance to a functioning democracy.
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Political parties: listen to your members

ORG’s Data and Democracy Project has been working for over a year to limit the use of personal data by political parties.
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Democracy and Covid-19

The Covid 19 epidemic has disrupted our economic and social life unlike anything seen in peacetime.
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Imprints: who’s responsible?

Many proposed electoral reforms are highly contested.
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We need political accountability more than ever- and the ICO can lead the way

We are living in an unprecedented historical moment.
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APPG on Electoral Campaigning Transparency adopt ORG reforms

Last summer, Open Rights Group gave oral evidence to the All Party Parliamentary Group (APPG) on Electoral Campaigning Transparency.
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Profiling, Political opinions, and Data Protection – The Legal Background

We’re campaigning to stop political parties abusing personal data in their rush to try and win elections.
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Out for the count : the £9 million white elephant in London’s next election

Electronic counting in London – the subject of criticism from the Electoral Commission and Open Rights Group for many years – is now spiralling in cost.
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Hunting for a solution? If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it

It seems apt that it was at this week’s ‘digital hustings’ for the Conservative Party leadership that Jeremy Hunt unilaterally came out in favour of online voting.
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