Privacy concerns over Prime Minister Harper’s Jewish New Year cards

[via Michael Geist] [K: emphasis mine]

The privacy concerns over Prime Minister Harper’s Jewish New Year cards continues as the issue has been raised repeatedly in question period [K: worth a quick read] and is drawing regular media coverage. The issue could be defused by simply answering the question of where the list came from, yet when a Conservative spokesperson was asked if Canadians could see their personal information in party databases, he responded with “what would be their specific need to see?“.

Quoting CTV, [K: emphasis mine]

Any time a constituent is engaged with the member of Parliament, they get zapped into the database,” Turner [K: “the Liberal maverick who was elected as a Conservative in 2006 and subsequently turfed from the party“] said in an interview. “It’s unethical and it’s a shocking misuse of data.

“Because once you cotton on to what’s going on here, it’s not good constituency work at all to allow that data to fall into any kind of hands. But the party is desperate to get more and more data in there because the primary use is fundraising. The secondary use is voter tracking to get out the vote.

Logging constituent files in a central party database that may also be used as part of election planning, fundraising, advertising strategy and policy deliberation appears to be clearly offside, two nationally respected privacy experts told The Canadian Press.

If somebody contacts their MP because they’re having a problem with their CPP benefit or their military pension, they don’t expect to end up on a mailing list for a political party,” said David Fraser, a Halifax lawyer who specializes in privacy issues with the firm McInnes Cooper.

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