Thursday, 12 July 2018

Labour Caught Up In Cash For Voter Data Scandal


Facebook has already paid off the fine handed to it by the UK data regulator for its role in the Cambridge Analytica scandal.

But while most of Wednesday was taken up with chatter largely criticising the paltry sum - the maximum the Information Commissioner could under previous laws - another company had also been handed a penalty for allegedly illegal data practices.

During the regulator’s investigation into how data is being used for political purposes, the Information Commissioner found that the owner of a popular parenting website, Emma’s Diary, had illegally sold on the data of one million Britons to the Labour Party ahead of the 2017 general election.

WHAT DATA?

The 1.065.200 records included pregnant women, new parents and even their children.

Details included the name of the parent who joined the website, their home address, whether they had young children and the birth dates of the mother and children.

The parent company of Emma’s Diary, Lifecycle Marketing, has been fined £140,000 but denies any wrongdoing.

DOES IT MATTER?

Amid the Facebook probe findings, the Information Commissioner also revealed its concerns about the legality of political consultancy groups using data to target people with adverts ahead of the European referendum, including the Vote Leave campaign, it alleged.

The official Remain campaign - trading as Britain Stronger in Europe - may also face a penalty because it used a third party data broker that did not have adequate consent and “similar issues as we have explored on the Leave and wider political parties side of our investigation”.

As more details on the use marketing and digital data played in politics ahead of landmark votes comes out, it appears that the Cambridge Analytica debacle was just the tip of the iceberg. Whether serious ramifications will follow is in the hands of the data regulator and the Electoral Commission



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