Posts tagged "digital bill of rights"

Electoral Commission finds Vote Leave broke the law, Fair Vote UK calls for immediate action.

17/07/2018 Posted by News, Press Releases 0 thoughts on “Electoral Commission finds Vote Leave broke the law, Fair Vote UK calls for immediate action.”

In light of the Electoral Commission’s report on Vote Leave, BeLeave and Veterans for Britain, confirming Shahmir Sanni’s whistleblower evidence of overspend and illegal campaign coordination, it is more clear than ever that the EU referendum was won by cheating and law-breaking. We must have a fair vote and Parliament must act now to ensure our future elections are not marred by cheating and corruption.

Kyle Taylor, Director of Fair Vote UK said: “The Electoral Commission has uncovered far more law-breaking than even we had believed occurred. The Government needs to take urgent action to deal with the fact the referendum is now illegitimate. We need to wake up and start fighting for our democracy.

These problems will not solve themselves. Until there are adequate deterrents against cheating, bad actors will continue to take advantage of our democracy and break the law. This is unacceptable. Elections and referenda have serious consequences and cheating in these campaigns must be punished.

When the Electoral Commission suspects wrongdoing in elections, these allegations should be promptly and thoroughly investigated by the police. The cap on fines should be lifted. Currently, fines given by the Electoral Commission are small enough that they are just the cost of doing business. We must build a system that holds people accountable for their actions.

Parliament must act immediately to implement common sense electoral reforms. The Electoral Commission found that Vote Leave, BeLeave, and Veterans for Britain misreported their campaign spending. Campaigns should be reporting their spending online, as MPs do with the Independent Parliamentary Standards Authority. In referenda, the designated campaign should no longer be allowed to donate money to other groups. Perhaps most importantly, we should regulate paid political digital advertising in the election period with a Digital Bill of Rights for Democracy.”

We must have laws which reflect our current realities. The Electoral Commission’s report makes clear that our current system is not fit to purpose. With such monumental decisions such as Brexit at stake, we cannot stand by and allow our democratic processes to be denigrated and our votes cheated. Parliament must act and we must have fair votes for all.”

British citizens are preparing a damages claim against Facebook

11/07/2018 Posted by News, Press Releases 0 thoughts on “British citizens are preparing a damages claim against Facebook”

Information Commissioner Elizabeth Denham has today published a scathing report into how British Citizens’ data and privacy has been violated.

 

Kyle Taylor, Director of Fair Vote UK, said “Under new GDPR laws, the ICO could fine Facebook for £479 million. Unfortunately, because they had to follow old data protection laws, they were only able to fine them the maximum of £500,000. This is unacceptable. Facebook must be held accountable for their violations of British citizens’ data. Fair Vote UK is preparing a class action claim against Facebook, which already has 84 claimants. All 1.1 million British citizens impacted by the Cambridge Analytica data breach can join the claim. People can check if they were impacted and join the claim on our website.

 

When it comes down to our democracy we should not be negotiating with private companies. Until now, Facebook has been allowed to make their own rules. It is time for Parliament to fulfil their legislative duties and regulate data barons like Facebook.”

 

With regard to the ICO’s call for a pause of digital political ads: “The ICO has called for an ‘ethical pause’ on digital advertising until regulation is brought in that will robustly protect fairness in our democratic processes. This is exactly what Fair Vote UK has been calling for since whistleblowers revealed damning evidence about how UK democracy was manipulated using voter microtargeting and misuse and abuse of data. It is shocking that even the ICO cannot implement the recommendations it sees fit but instead relies on political will that seems to be sadly lacking in order to restore trust in democratic processes.”

 

And on SCL Group, Cambridge Analytica and AIQ: “Furthermore, criminal proceedings for SCL Group mean those who committed these offenses may now be brought to justice. Similarly, a notice to Aggregate IQ to stop processing British citizens’ data raises further concern that such data may still be held overseas. While this is a start, there is still more to be done to hold these companies to account.

 

The Information Commissioner herself said that citizens have little idea of what is happening behind the scenes about how the average voters’ data is being used and also how personal data may have impacted the outcome of the Brexit referendum in ways that broke electoral law. These issues are of great concern and need to be dealt with urgently – especially in light of recent resignations and cabinet unrest – before we consider having another poll of any sort – whether it is another referendum or a general election.”

Letter to the Prime Minister

05/07/2018 Posted by News 0 thoughts on “Letter to the Prime Minister”

Electoral Commission urges Parliament to act

26/06/2018 Posted by News, Press Releases 0 thoughts on “Electoral Commission urges Parliament to act”

Electoral Commission agree that our democracy is under threat, ask for urgent reform

For the last four months The Fair Vote Project have been campaigning for necessary Electoral Commission (EC) reform to protect our democracy after whistleblower evidence came to light suggesting cheating in the Brexit referendum. On Monday the EC, themselves, announced that ‘urgent’ reforms were needed because our democracy “may be under threat” by the very campaigns that fought for Brexit.

Kyle Taylor, Director of The Fair Vote Project, said: ‘After the recent revelations about alleged cheating in the Brexit referendum and the Cambridge Analytica scandal, it’s more clear than ever that our electoral system is not fit to purpose.

We applaud yesterday’s announcement by the Electoral Commission – the authority on UK elections – demanding their powers be strengthened. Civil society and our election watchdog not only agree that reform is needed but also on what reform should be. Now, Parliament must respond and implement these reforms to protect our democracy. Until these reforms are instituted, our democratic systems will remain vulnerable to cheating. We cannot in good conscience have another election without ensuring our polls are free and fair.”

The People v Facebook

10/05/2018 Posted by News, Press Releases 0 thoughts on “The People v Facebook”

The Fair Vote Project prepares a class-action claim against Facebook over its misuse of data that may have been used to manipulate UK and global elections

The Fair Vote Project has been contacted by some of the 1.1 million people whose Facebook data was harvested by the “This Is Digital Life” app created by Aleksandr Kogan and subsequently passed on to Cambridge Analytica, at which point it is unclear how this data may have been used and potentially misused.

All individuals and companies involved have deliberately obfuscated on the question of how exactly this data has been used though evidence brought forward by whistleblowers suggests it was used to manipulate voters.

Some people may have consented to having their data taken but most did not, as the app “scraped” the data of Facebook friends of those who downloaded the app without their knowledge.

The Fair Vote Project is preparing a damages claim for breaches of the data protection act and they will be running adverts on Facebook asking users who had their data taken to join the class action claim. If successful, Facebook could face damages in the billions of pounds.

Kyle Taylor, Director of The Fair Vote Project said “A few weeks ago, I found out that I was one of the 1,079,031 people in the UK whose data was harvested by Aleksandr Kogan’s This Is Your Digital Life app, and subsequently passed on to Cambridge Analytica.

Facebook had no right to give away this data. If your data was taken in this way, you could be a claimant. Facebook is the data controller of the data you have on Facebook and they effectively allowed it to be transferred to a third party without your knowledge or consent. This is wrong and shouldn’t go unpunished.

The implications of this data being handed to third parties are in no way minor and may have changed the course of elections around the world.

We also very worryingly still do not know the extent of data taken or exactly what is was used for. There is absolutely no indication that Facebook has taken this issue seriously, as we see – right now – voter manipulation has been happening in Ireland using Facebook, which they just recently have taken action regarding. It’s quite late in the game for them to finally apply the measures we know we needed since the revelations brought forward by whistleblowers.

If Facebook won’t take it seriously and if governments aren’t moving quickly enough then it’s up to us to hold these companies to account.”

PS – The Fair Vote Project is working with Bindmans LLP to gather claimants. Every pound we raise will be used to find more claimants and cover legal costs. We are using digital ads to find claimants. If you have seen one of these ads, you fit one of the following categories: you studied policy studies, political science, public policy, or you have expressed interest in activism, civil service, electoral reform, equal opportunity, feminism and equality, government, local government, policy, political science, public policy, public sector, social equality, social movements, or voting.

Cambridge Analytica Shuts Down — What Now?

08/05/2018 Posted by News, Press Releases 0 thoughts on “Cambridge Analytica Shuts Down — What Now?”

Cambridge Analytica closes its doors but a new company already exists. Time to stop this once and for all with a digital bill of rights enshrined in law

Nigel Oakes, founder of SCL Elections, announced that SCL and Cambridge Analytica will be shutting their doors and filing insolvency proceedings. The Fair Vote Project asks does this mean data they hold could be destroyed and can we be certain that they will be held to account?

In the six weeks since whistleblower Christopher Wiley – supported by The Fair Vote Project – came forward with evidence of Cambridge Analytica’s widespread misuse of Facebook data, evidence has continued to grow about the ways SCL, Cambridge Analytica, and partner companies such as AIQ, have been using misappropriated data to create sophisticated and highly personalised microtargeting tools which have been used in elections all around the world. Investigations into Cambridge Analytica’s activities are ongoing in several countries, including the U.K.

Kyle Taylor, Founder and Director of The Fair Vote Project, said: “The Fair Vote Project has been working tirelessly across this data issue and its implications. While this is a welcome development, it is essential that governments and media outlets do not stop here. The real story is this:  While SCL and Cambridge Analytica are shutting their doors, some of the key players involved have already moved on to a new company: Emerdata. Current CA CEO Julian Wheatland and Chief Data Officer Dr Alexander Tayler are both listed as Directors of Emerdata, and disgraced former CEO Alexander Nix was the founding CEO. Rebekah and Jennifer Mercer, daughters of billionaire Robert Mercer, one of the creators of Cambridge Analytica, are on the board.

This is exactly what you’d expect from individuals and entities like these – dump the organisation (and responsibilities, note CA have filed for insolvency) and spring up under a new name doing the same morally corrupt work. That’s why The Fair Vote Project are demanding consequential reform to the Electoral Commission and aim to enshrine a digital bill of rights for our democracy to make sure these entities – whatever they’re named – are never able to infiltrate our elections again.

Without proper laws and systems in place to prevent the misuse of data and the circumvention of traditional law online, companies like Cambridge Analytica can continue to spread misinformation in elections worldwide.  Recent news about Facebook’s failure to stem the spread of fake news in the Irish referendum only further illustrates that this problem will not go away with the closing down of Cambridge Analytica and SCL. We cannot trust companies like Facebook to “self-regulate.” It’s time government’s did their job and intervene immediately to ensure people in the U.K. and around the world are safe from predatory practices.

The future of democracies everywhere hinge on our ability to create strong protections for digital information. The Fair Vote Project’s proposed digital bill aims to permanently protect our democratic institutions from this malfeasance because the type of work Cambridge Analytica has engaged in will continue until we stand up for our very way of life.”

 

The Fair Vote Project was set up to tackle the issue of data misuse, voter manipulation and lack of transparency in elections head-on. We are committed to ensuring the institutions that protect our democratic processes are fit for purpose in a digital age.

Digital Crisis In the Irish Referendum

08/05/2018 Posted by News 0 thoughts on “Digital Crisis In the Irish Referendum”

The Fair Vote Project has learned an investigation carried out by Claire Provost and Lara Whyte at openDemocracy 50.50 suggests that foreign and ‘alt-right’ activists are using social media to target Irish voters during the upcoming referendum on the 8th amendment – an amendment that restricts abortion under most circumstances.

It is against Irish law for foreign actors to donate to Irish campaigning groups however this law does not apply to digital adverts of a political nature on social media platforms – this loophole could allow foreign citizens and groups to influence elections by targeting voters.

openDemocracy 50.50 said it had “analysed newly-released data compiled by the Transparent Referendum Initiative (TRI) which show that 145 groups and individuals have bought more than 350 Facebook ads about the referendum. Most of the advertisers appear to be based in Ireland but there are also foreign organisations on the list. Several of the Irish advertisers, including both anti-abortion and pro-choice groups, also have significant international connections.”

The Fair Vote Project has been focussing on similar issues in the United Kingdom and believes it is imperative to both draw attention to this issue and advise on urgent action that can be taken: An immediate suspension of digital political advertising across social media platforms until new legislation is updated so that it can effectively regulate the use of data and targeting during elections and prevent foreign meddling in the democratic processes of other nations that are meant to be sovereign.

On the list uncovered by openDemocracy 50.50 most foreign groups are based in the United States and Canada. One group based in Virginia called the Radiance Foundation is known for creating highly shareable social media content and using language similar to Black Lives Matter to attack black women who have abortions.

Our Platform of Electoral Reforms

24/04/2018 Posted by News 0 thoughts on “Our Platform of Electoral Reforms”

The Fair Vote Project has spent the past few weeks spreading the evidence released by whistleblowers which suggest cheating in the referendum. We must ensure this does not happen again.

The Fair Vote Project has developed a simple four-part platform of necessary electoral reforms to strengthen and protect our democracy:

 

These reforms are vital and attainable. We must demand our Members of Parliaments act to create fair laws to protect our rights of democracy and sovereignty. Contact your MP and let them know where you stand.

Share our platform on twitter and Facebook to take a stand for electoral reform.