BANNERMAN, DUBOIS, ZHAN, KALININA and GOODMAN: Electronic tracking of voters is a thorny topic in a tight federal election race

Nicole Goodman, Associate Professor of Political Science at Brock University; Sara Bannerman Associate Professor and Canada Research Chair in Communication Policy and Governance at McMaster University; Elizabeth Dubois, Associate Professor of Communication at University of Ottawa; Jenny Zhan, Research Co-ordinator at McMaster University; and Julia Kalinina, Research Co-ordinator at McMaster University, had a piece recently published in The Conversation about research they conducted to see if people were less likely to interact with political parties if they knew the parties were tracking them and keeping their personal information in databases.

They write:

“This federal election is a tight race that is driven, in part, by data. What happens to your information when you click on a party ad on social media, add your email address to a political party’s campaign, request a lawn sign, speak to a party representative by phone or speak to a door-to-door canvasser?

 Quite possibly, your information is added to (or already in) a party database. This database may then be used to inform canvassers about your political interests and positions, inform party strategy, help parties decide where to send volunteers or to target political ads.

 This data is valuable to parties. There are, however, potential risks for privacy and democratic engagement.”

Continue reading the full article here.

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