Unpacking the “Micro” in Political Micro-Targeting

In Parties and Privacy by Colin BennettLeave a Comment

I have often been troubled by the lack of a clear definition of political micro-targeting. There is a lot of discussion of the macro effects of micro-targeting, and of the larger impact of data-driven elections. It arguably serves to fragment political discourse, to accentuate “wedge issues”, to promote “filter bubbles” and leads to a transactional politics where localized claims and …

Cambridge Analytica, Facebook, AIQ and the Data-Driven Election: Statement to House of Commons Committee on Access to Information, Privacy and Ethics (April 26, 2018)

In Parties and Privacy by Colin Bennett1 Comment

The current controversy concerning Cambridge Analytica, Aggregate IQ and Facebook has raised to public and media attention a number of interrelated issues, that need to be carefully distinguished: The monopoly power of companies like Facebook in the “platform economy” and their dependence on personal data for their business models The non-consensual harvesting of information on one’s wider social network through …

So maybe ‘Big Data’ doesn’t work in elections? Maybe it’s time to stop using it?

In Parties and Privacy by Colin BennettLeave a Comment

It is tempting to conclude that what happened in the presidential election last Tuesday was not only a repudiation of the ‘Washington establishment’ and the mainstream media, but also of the use of “Big Data” in elections.   Perhaps people are sick of being considered ‘data points’ in an endless struggle to manipulate their political attitudes and behavior. Among other things, …

View Post

Federal Political Parties and Privacy Protection

In Parties and Privacy by Colin BennettLeave a Comment

The recent controversies over potential vote suppression in key ridings through the practice of “robocalling” have shed light upon some of the previously opaque internal practices of political parties.  The commentary on these controversies has been extensive, and demonstrates a high level of public interest and engagement in the broader issues about Canadian democracy.  Not far beneath the surface, however, …