Elections watchdog mulls regulation of parties’ voter data banks

OTTAWA – The federal election watchdog is examining whether regulations are needed to control the use — and abuse — of the massive voter identification data banks assembled by political parties.

OTTAWA – The federal election watchdog is examining whether regulations are needed to control the use — and abuse — of the massive voter identification data banks assembled by political parties.

Chief electoral officer Marc Mayrand says technology has enabled politicians to communicate with and engage voters more easily.

But he’s been surprised to discover how easily it can be misused.

Mayrand says he’ll report to Parliament by the end of this fiscal year with recommendations on how to improve elections law to prevent the abuse of technology, including possible regulation of party data banks.

Among other things, he says he’s concerned that little is known about the information parties gather on voters, including how long the data is retained, how secure it is or what it’s used for.

Elections Canada is currently investigating the so-called robocall scandal, in which thousands of voters have complained they received automated calls misdirecting them to polling stations during the 2011 election.




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