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Senator Dianne Feinstein introduced the Voter Privacy Act, a bill that would give voters control over how their personal information is used by political candidates and campaigns in federal elections.
Currently, there is no federal law regulating the collection and use of voter data by political organizations.
“Political candidates and campaigns shouldn’t be able to use private data to manipulate and mislead voters,” Feinstein said. “This bill would help put an end to such actions. Today, campaigns are legally able to conduct sophisticated online surveillance of everyone in our country in order to influence individuals based on their unique psychological characteristics. This targeted manipulation not only undermines our democracy, it’s a threat to basic individual freedom.”
During the 2016 election, the political consulting company Cambridge Analytica misused sensitive personal information from 87 million Facebook users in order to influence voters to support Donald Trump’s campaign, according to Feinstein’s office.
Most voters are unaware that their information is being secretly collected and used to influence their opinions and behavior.
This bill would give voters five basic rights regarding their personal information. This includes a right of access, a right of notice, a right of deletion, a right to prohibit transfer and a right to prohibit targeting. These requirements would not apply to information obtained from publicly available state and local voter registration databases, which include the voter’s name, address and party affiliation. Campaigns would maintain access to sufficient data in order to communicate with voters. The bill’s requirements also would not apply to anonymous polling information.
For information, visit feinstein.senate.gov.
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