The Toronto Star reports on a leaked Conservative party document setting out the strategy for the 2015 election. Of particular note is the party’s plans to engage in widespread social media monitoring that seek to identify users based on social media activity for follow-up and engagement. The Star reports:
the document showed how the party can mine information on â€œnon-CPC brandedâ€ websites, using a friendly media “Illustration.” The slide show points to radio station CFRA’s Lowell Green, whom it identifies as an “Ottawa based conservative leaning talk show host.” It says a “recent Facebook posting – non-issue” received 55 Facebook “likes.” The document says the party was able to “positively identify 38 constituents (70 per cent ID rate).” Of those 38, it said five “are current members/donors.” The result, it said: “33 Canadians who would be a ‘warm contact’ for engagement.”
Note that these uses appear to run counter to the Privacy Commissioner of Canada’s recommendation on using social media information in her recommendations on privacy protection and intelligence. Those recommendations included:
Develop specific guidelines for collection, use and dissemination of intelligence products built upon use of online sources and social network sites. The position of the OPC is that the public availability of personal information on the Internet does not render personal information non-personal. It is our view that departments should not access personal information on social media sites unless they can demonstrate a direct correlation to legitimate government business.
While the Conservative party usage is not the same as CSEC, the same concerns may well apply.