Political Parties and Data Privacy

The political power of data has attracted a lot of attention in the news media recently. Questions have been raised regarding how political parties are collecting and using personal information. To date, however, little research has been done to explore federal political parties’ collection and use of electors’ personal information, and the effects on political trust and willingness to interact with political parties during elections. To fill this lacuna, our project sought to answer three questions:

  1. Are Canadians aware that federal political parties collect their personal information?
  2. Does awareness of parties’ collection of personal information make a difference in electors’ willingness to speak with party campaign personnel?
  3. Do party privacy policies affect electors’ willingness to speak with party campaign personnel?

This study is now complete and a press release outlining the results was published on March 5, 2020. It is available for download, or can be viewed below:

The researchers would like to acknowledge the support of Elizabeth Dubois, Taylor Owen, and the Digital Ecosystem Research Challenge, for financial support that made this project possible.  This work was made possible by an award from the Digital Ecosystem Research Challenge, funded in part by the Government of Canada, and by the support of McMaster University and the Canada Research Chairs program.