Writers: Sophie Ashford, Daniel Gayne, Connor MacDonald, Joshua Watts
This paper discusses the challenges associated with data use in both political and commercial contexts. In particular, we discuss how organizations and corporations (particularly political parties and telecommunications firms), have used data in recent controversies and elections. In addition, we consider the legal regimes governing data arrangements and usage in a number of jurisdictions, notably Canada, the United Kingdom, Australia and the United States. In particular, we note that legal regimes have not kept pace with data usage, particularly in the political sphere. In some cases, notably Australia, this takes the form of under-regulation. In other cases, including both Canada and the United Kingdom, this involves improper regulation or regulation not fit for the purposes of electioneering, with the result that political parties are unnecessarily impeded while electors are not properly protected. In terms of commercial settings, the paper highlights that current regulation disempowers consumers and provides companies with ample opportunity for abuse. In Part 1, the paper details policy proposals to improve political data usage regulations. In part 2, policy proposals are put forward to empower consumers and protect privacy, with a particular emphasis on privacy agreements and customer-corporate relations.