Politicians come in for a lot of criticism, usually for being disconnected from ‘real people’ and the issues that concern them, jobs, housing, health, and education. The criticism is rarely that they understand us too well, or that they know too much about us. However, that is likely to change in the coming months as GDPR privacy legislation begins to draw attention to how much information politicians do actually hold about us.
Imagine for a moment that you have an issue getting your son or daughter access to mental health services and you have emailed your local politician to help you in this matter. There is a question about what happens to that email correspondence, which is naturally very sensitive information, once the issue has been resolved. Does the politician delete it or does it stay on his/her email server? What happens if an intern is given access to the email account to reply to another constituent? Is the sensitive data at risk of entering the public domain by accident? What happens if the politician is the victim of hackers?
What is voter privacy software?
Voter privacy software is no different to any privacy software employed by businesses or organizations that hold data on citizens. It usually takes the form of a voter database with names and addresses for the purposes of voter mapping and face-to-face outreach. It may also contain logs of voter contact in the form of canvassing responses, survey responses, and email communications. Primarily though, it will have a way of ensuring the protection of any data held through secure servers, data encryption and permission levels for staff who might have access to it. In this way, the database is both protects voters’ information and allows that information to be used to build relationships with voters.
A key element of any voter privacy software is the ability to capture consent from voters to have their information kept on file and for them to be contacted on an ongoing basis. This consent functionality should be in the form of a digital signature captured on a mobile device face-to-face, or it might be in the form of a double opt-in tick box (you opt-in online and then confirm the opt-in when the software emails you to click a confirmation button).
The use of software systems to manage voter databases is a relatively new phenomenon in the EU where the GDPR legislation is being enacted in May 2018. Political parties are likely to start using this type of software to manage their obligations to the legislation but also to ensure there is no reputational damage to them as a result of data breaches in the future.
From a voters perspective, GDPR legislation and voter privacy software have to be seen to be a good thing. They will force politicians to take their responsibilities to voter data more seriously, they will make it much easier to demand any data held on you by a political organization, and it will protect your sensitive information from misuse.
So if you are interested in learning more about our software, why not set up a call with us below.