Voters angered by stereotyping by UK parties

A report released yesterday by the Open Rights Group (ORG), shows UK political parties are attempting to profile millions of individuals for their income, religion, and political views. [1]

This has led to accusations of “stereotyping” on racial and religious grounds from people who have received their personal files from parties.

Many respondents were shocked that these parties were attempting to profile them in this way. 

One participant said that the profile was: 

“Inaccurate on some important details that might affect credit and other important things in my life.” 

Another said they were:

“stereo-typed … based on characteristics such as gender, race, age, circumstances” . 

Labour, the Liberal Democrats and the Conservative party were found in the study, “Who do they think you Are” to be creating profiles on individual voters en masse. [1]

Nearly every voter on the electoral roll is assigned a profile. This often includes estimated income, education, life status and newspaper readership.

Labour assign individually identifiable computed concern scores to voters ranking them within an electoral ward. These include childcare, housing and austerity. Conservatives assign scores for ‘mysticism’. Lib Dems guess your age based on your personal name. [2]

These profiles may be used to inform parties’ political strategies, likely including attempts to influence voters. 

This is despite politicians’ years of criticism for social media for attempting to do the same thing with micro-targeted political advertisements. 

This profiling is often wholly inaccurate, meaning voters could be excluded from communications with parties that they may support. 

When some individuals who had received their DSAR results were asked how accurate they felt they were, nearly 60% agreed that they were mostly or wholly inaccurate. Only 3% agreed that they were completely accurate. 

Pascal Crowe, Data and Democracy Project Officer for Open Rights Group, said: 

“Labour the Lib Dems and the Conservatives should practice what they preach when it comes to voters’ personal data, particularly when so much of the profiling is inaccurate. Equally, the law needs to be clarified for the benefit of all.

“UK political parties should review and reform the way they use personal data, in conversation with civil society, academia, and the private sector.”

For further information please contact Pascal Crowe, Data and Democracy Project Officer at +447801238024 at

Notes to Editors

[1] The report in full can be found here:

ORG’s report “Who Do They Think We Are?”, draws on a campaign from the 2019 General Election where members of the public were encouraged to send Data Subject Access Requests (DSARs) to UK political parties. 

This right, enshrined in data protection law, allows individuals to request a personal file of the information held about them. Labour refused to reply meaningfully to respondents within the time limit which may have been in breach of their legal obligations. 

The personal files were analysed by ORG.

The report shows that intense profiling is created by parties against nearly every individual on the electoral roll. The profiling is generated from commercial information, the electoral roll data, and other information collected directly by the parties.

[2] Summaries of the scores assigned to individual voters can be found at