The UK’s Information Commissioner has written to all major political parties reminding them of their obligations when contacting potential supporters during the General Election campaign.
Elizabeth Denham has also invited them to a briefing session to hear details of updated guidance on the use of personal data in political campaigning.
The guidance covers the rules around data protection and electronic marketing. It includes a section on the use of data analytics and associated technologies by political parties for campaigning purposes.
Ms Denham said: “Engagement with the electorate is vital to the democratic process. But if a party or campaign group fails to comply with the law, it may face enforcement action as well as reputational damage to its campaign.
“The rules around nuisance calls, texts, emails and data protection are the same – General Election or not. People have a right to expect that their information will be used in line with the law and my office is here to uphold that right.”
The updated guidance and briefing is in response to an increase in complaints from members of the public about the promotion of political parties, their candidates and their views during political campaigns.
In recent years, the ICO has received complaints about the use of surveys to gain support for campaigns, spam texts and recorded marketing calls. People have also reported concerns that their personal information has been shared between national and local organisations.
The ICO’s message to the public is that there are things they can do to protect themselves: