Exposing abuse of personal data in political campaigning

 

In the runup to the 2019 General Election, Open Rights Group (ORG) used petitions, events, candidate letters, webinars, media appearances and subject access requests (SARs) to raise awareness about and challenge the way UK political parties use personal data to profile and target voters with manipulative ads. 

By exercising our rights under the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR), we’re shedding light on these dishonest, inaccurate, and anti-democratic techniques. You can aid our research by using our new web tool which lets you request your personal data in seconds!

What we’ve learned so far suggests political profiling techniques may not only be unethical but illegal. Political parties often rely upon third party data brokers such as Experian, a credit reference company, to ‘trade & grade’ voters. Some parties have failed to be transparent about who they have shared this data with, including political campaigning consultancies. 

The law contains exemptions that allow political parties to process sensitive personal data, but the boundaries of those exemptions are not being enforced which opens the door to abuse.