7 January 2021

The use of personal data in political campaigning and elections

Consumer and electoral voter data are increasingly being used for ‘data driven’ decision making to strategically target people in the process of political campaigning.  As more and more people connect online and access digital services, the variety, volume and intimacy of data generated and captured about individuals may be used to influence them for political purposes. Data and access to individuals that digital connectivity brings, is a powerful mix in political campaigning enabling the profiling and (micro) targeting of individuals.  But how effective are these new forms of political campaigning and what are the concerns they raise?

This workshop aims to explore and discuss key issues, challenges and considerations in the use of personal data in political campaigns, including voter surveillance, drawing from experiences in Africa and beyond. What lessons can be learnt to support data protection authorities across Africa?

Speakers for this workshop include:

Smith Oduro-Marfo, PhD candidate at the University of Victoria, Faculty of Social Sciences, Political Science and co-author of a report commissioned by the UK data protection authority, Privacy, Voter Surveillance and Democratic Engagement: Challenges for Data Protection Authorities. Drawing on experiences researching the report, Smith will discuss key considerations and conclusions for data protection authorities.

Sigi Mwanzia, human rights lawyer and Digital Policy Consultant at ARTICLE 19 Eastern Africa, actively engaged on research and advocacy in the use of data and technology in political campaigning in Africa, and also the impact of the COVID 19 pandemic on this issue.

Arthur Gwagwa, human rights lawyer and Adjunct Professor, Strathmore University, Strathmore Law School - Centre for Intellectual Property and Information Technology Law, Kenya, and Research Fellow and expert in artificial intelligence at the University College London. He will speak on the use of data in the election process in Zimbabwe, including the use of biometrics, data obfuscation and encryption.

These on line workshops are co-organised with the