#GE16 candidates warned by DPC over canvassing

2 Feb 2016

Irish government buildings ahead of #GE16, via Wikimedia Common

With Ireland’s General Election 2016 to be called any day now, the Data Protection Commissioner (DPC) has warned candidates of serious “implications” surrounding canvassing.

Knock knock. Who’s there? Leaflets, General Election candidates, requests, time-consuming niceties and, of course, data protection issues.

So says Helen Dixon, Ireland’s DPC, who is advising candidates about how they should handle any personal information they obtain from those whom they meet while canvassing.

Basics, like only posting content to names and addresses of those on the electoral register, or ensuring strict management of harvested names and numbers door-to-door are highlighted.

As are things like proper warnings about website cookie policies and electronic marketing practices.

“In any democracy, candidates must be empowered to engage with the voters whom they wish to represent,” says Dixon.

“However, there are obvious potential data protection implications to canvassing, particularly when it takes the form of contact by text, phone call, email or fax, which constitutes ‘direct marketing’.

“In light of this, I am today issuing guidance to every candidate running for election. The material has also been uploaded to dataprotection.ie.”

General Election canvassing guidelines

Irish DPC #GE16 general election

Gordon Hunt was a journalist with Silicon Republic