Elections fail

OpenMedia r1

Hi Paov,

Canada’s political parties have just failed a big opportunity to protect the highly private data they hold on us.

The recently-passed Elections Modernization Act requires federal parties to develop and post a privacy policy on their websites. It’s not a very high bar for such sensitive information. In fact, dozens of privacy experts spoke out for stronger regulation, but politicians voted down amendments that would have better protected our data.

...

To help restore trust that parties will respect privacy rights, Canada’s own Chief Electoral Officer and the federal Privacy Commissioner issued a set of guidelines for what these policies should contain.1,2

But frighteningly, when the deadline for posting the policies was up, we reviewed the parties’ new policies against key recommendations — and not a single party even came close to meeting these basic best practices. 3

Image of scorecard rating political party policies

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It’s clear that we can’t trust the parties to regulate themselves. The low standards they've set for their treatment of our data just won't cut it.

Unlike companies, political parties are not legally required to follow federal privacy laws, which would require them to do things like notify people of breaches of their personal information.

When challenged to change these laws as part of the recent Elections Modernization Act, many politicians instead fought to keep themselves exempt.

But now, with the federal election looming in October, we have a huge chance to change this. If enough of us speak out right now, we can show the party leaders that votes are riding on their willingness to take action to protect our privacy.4

I have two key ways that you can take action:

The first is by signing on to a quick message to all the major party leaders.

Send a message to party leaders!

And another great way to do a little more to make this issue a big one in the election is to help get it into local papers all over Canada.

Write a letter to your local paper!

Let’s make politicians end this double standard once and for all!

Thanks for all you do, Victoria with OpenMedia

P.S. As well as taking action, can you also share this scorecard on Facebook and Twitter? We need to spread awareness of just how serious the situation is, and get even more people taking action to change it!

Footnotes
[1] Federal parties urged to bolster privacy protections beyond what the law requires ahead of 2019 election:
Globe and Mail
[2] Guidance for federal political parties on protecting personal information:
Office of the Privacy Commissioner of Canada
[3] Canada’s political parties’ privacy policies: an assessment against best practices defined by Elections Canada and the Office of the Privacy Commissioner:
OpenMedia (pdf)
[4] Majority of poll respondents express support for extending privacy laws to political parties:
Globe and Mail

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