General election: ORG launches tool to help people opt out of data processing by political parties

Digital campaigners, the Open Rights Group (ORG) are helping the public to opt out of the processing of their data by political parties in the run up to the General Election.

Political parties collect, buy and process data about people’s views, voting preferences and demographics. Data can be acquired in many ways, including through surveys and doorstep canvassing, and by buying commercially available datasets. Parties process data to try and predict likely voting beliefs and intentions, and to target their messages and communications in ways that they think will yield the best results.

Open Rights Group has created a tool to empower individuals and help them to have more control over whether their data is processed by political parties. Under Article 21 of the UK General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR), individuals have the right to object to the processing of their personal data.

This will likely result in people receiving fewer communications from political parties – which as, ORG warns – may or may not be desirable.

OPT-OUT tool

Use our tool to to opt-out of automated decision-making and profiling by political parties.

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James Baker, Campaigns Manager at Open Rights Group said:

“Political parties are desperate for data that they think will help them to understand the electorate, helping them to target potential voters or even ignore those that they think can’t be persuaded to vote for them.

“Some people might not mind parties processing their data in this manner, but many people are uncomfortable with political parties building profiles about them. ORG’s tool helps the public take back some control over their data and how it is being used.”

Finding out what data parties hold about the public

ORG has also developed a tool to help people access the data that political parties hold about them. This helps us to better understand the types of information political parties use to build profiles about the UK electorate.

In ORG’s 2020 report, Who do they think we are, we found that political parties were combining commercial data and information bought by data brokers with electoral rolls, to build detailed profiles of individuals and target them with “tailored” political messaging, also known as “micro-targeting”.