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Wednesday, 30 July 2014

Political E-canvassing and E-campaigning in Ireland

A Politics.ie thread I started on the wider subject but has anyone noticed the product made by enterprising Fianna Fail councillor Brendan Finucane from Cork Brendan Finucane, Local Area Rep | Fianna Fáil

Vconnecta Mobile Ecanvasser.

he has been working on it at UCC tech incubator for a couple of years and has launched the app recently

Ecanvasser explained basic area segmentation

Ecanvasser features

He's obviously hoping to replicate a part of the Amercan Democratic Party success in a managing canvassing campaign digitally ( the other part being the MyObama type social network/email tracking campaign )

Of course he's excited about the being able to manage political campaigns, and hold information on people, I'm interested in will this make it easier for us to request and find out how much information political parties hold on us.

He's obviously looking to sell it any party that wants it but could this give a head start to FF renewal

Political Parties are exempt from some of the Data protection act.


Data Protection Acts 1988 and 2003: Informal Consolidation


1.-(1) In this Act, unless the context otherwise requires-

"direct marketing" includes direct mailing other than direct mailing carried out in the course of political activities by a political party or its members, or a body established by or under statute or a candidate for election to, or a holder of, elective political office;
2B- (1) Sensitive personal data shall not be processed by a data controller unless

(x) the processing is carried out by political parties, or candidates for election to, or holders
of, elective political office in the course of electoral activities for the purpose of compiling
data on people's political opinions and complies with such requirements (if any) as may be
prescribed for the purpose of safeguarding the fundamental rights and freedoms of data
subjects

6A. Right of data subject to object to processing likely to cause damage or distress
6A - (1) Subject to subsection (3) and unless otherwise provided by any enactment, an indi-vidual is entitled at any time, by notice in writing served on a data controller, to request him or her to cease within a reasonable time, or not to begin, processing or processing for a specified purpose or in a manner specified by the individual any personal data in respect of which he or she is the data subject if the processing falls within subsection (2) of this section, on the ground that, for specific reasons-
(3) Subsection (1) does not apply-
(c) to processing carried out by political parties, or candidates for election to, or holders of
elective political office, in the course of electoral activities, or

Vconnecta say they are Data processors not Data Controllers.


Ecanvasser in the 2014 local elections: some key stats | Vconnecta Blog

In total, we now have over one million constituents registered on our system. Based on the last (2012) census population statistics which placed the population at 4.589 million, this means that 22%, or slightly over one in five Irish citizens, is attached to a canvasser account on our system as a registered occupant.

but will anyone admit to using, non-one has so far...?

Another popular e-campaigning product from America is Nationbuilder, examples of Nationbulder being used in Ireland,

Jack chambers Fianna Fail Castleknock Fingal. (only exmaple I could find of someone using a campaigning website like this but he hasn't de-Americanised it entirely).

Paul Murphy/Socialist Party for scambridge site


Activists boast but then clam up.

One time a political activist boasted here about the amount of information that the party held on people they canvassed, I queried his boast and he clamed up, I've never been canvassed personally at my home, but if anyone has you should be able to request what information they hold on you under data protection laws.


Marked Register
I noted a councillor talking about looking through the marked register ( the register of electors with the names of those who voted marked ) for the recent local elections, she says she found a person who she knows is dead voted and found another who voted twice at a new and old address, to me this seems like some evidence of electoral fraud that she should give to the Gardai to investigate further?

am I right is this the right course of action one should take if you find suspicious stuff in the marked register, you wouldn't just boast about it on twitter?


Guidance to Political Parties on Electronic Direct Marketing in upcoming Elections
The Office of the Data Protection Commissioner has this week written to all political parties reminding them of the restrictions on Electronic Direct Marketing in the upcoming European and Local Elections.
reminding them not to use list of contacts they got from other sources like sports club text lists etc, I wonder did they punish anyone for doing this last time.


Sunday, 27 July 2014

Reduced Seanad sittings is the governments fault not the Senators

In reponse to this article Seanad sittings down 10% since referendum - RTÉ News and the other malicious, lazy and contextless reporting on reduced Seanad sittings, that don't question the governments power to determine the schedule. Counting sitting hours would be fairer but I suspect it would still be significantly down. Catherine Noone says they sat late recently, as ever the last minute rush of legislation before the summer, never a good thing.

See also my other blog post with the attendance of Senators for 2013 and 2014 (so far) visualised.
Senators Oireachtas Attendance 2014 January to May
Senators Oireachtas attendance 2013

Seanad Calendar 2013-2014
Seanad calendar winter to summer 2012-2013 and winter summer 2013-2014 for comparison.



The Seanad sat less days because the government didn't have legislation for the senators to debate, this is their primary job and in our system the government produces legislation.

Government has yet to publish any of the 42 Bills it has promised for first half of the year
Irish Times March 20 2014

New system
A spokesman for Mr Kehoe said the hiatus was partly due to a new system for bringing legislation through the Dáil. It is designed to achieve a “better flow” of legislation through both Houses of the Oireachtas and minimise the number of debates on legislation where the Government applies a guillotine (effectively curtails debate).
He added that a small number of Bills had been approved by Cabinet but their publication had been held back until next week.

Even the Ceann Comhairle isn't told what's happening.
Barrett kept in the dark on new Dail reforms as relations worsen


Reduced weeks of sittings days

8th - 10th October
Order of Business: 8 Oct 2013: Seanad debates (KildareStreet.com)
Before we commence, I wish to notify Members that the reason for the two-day sitting this week is that it was, naturally, very difficult to predict how this week would work out.
The Seanad sat for just two days this week TheJournal.ie October 10th 2013

Governments fault for having a referendum on Seanad abolition.

19th - 21st November
The Seanad sat for just two days this week… again

However, Bruton’s trade mission to India means discussion on the report and final stages of the mammoth Companies Bill has been moved to next Wednesday.

Meanwhile, Fitzgerald is due in the Dáil to oversee the passage of the Child and Family Agency Bill, meaning she cannot provide what’s officially titled as ‘An Update on Youth Justice Policy’. This has been deferred to an unspecified later date

Governments fault.

4th - 6th and 11th - 13th February

John Whelan: “The Seanad cannot put in place even three sitting days as normal this week as there is no legislation forthcoming from the Dáil or any Ministers available to take debates on policy, pending legislation or important public consultations.”

Two day sitting - Thejournal.ie

Order of Business: 4 Feb 2014: Seanad debates (KildareStreet.com)
Maurice Cummins: Senators Cullinane and Kelly raised the sittings of the House. I said last week during the debate on Seanad reform that Departments will have to address the situation where we have little or no legislation at the beginning of a term and a rush of legislation towards the end of a term. These peaks and troughs have existed for as long as I have been a Member of the House but they need to be addressed. On many occasions, we hear that the Government is responsible and accountable to Dáil Éireann and I cannot demand that Ministers come to the House for statements on any item within their remit. Some Ministers are co-operative but others, for many reasons, have been unable to give the time Members expect.


Governments fault.

25th - 27th March

Government has yet to publish any of the 42 Bills it has promised for first half of the year
Irish times March 20 2014
New system
A spokesman for Mr Kehoe said the hiatus was partly due to a new system for bringing legislation through the Dáil. It is designed to achieve a “better flow” of legislation through both Houses of the Oireachtas and minimise the number of debates on legislation where the Government applies a guillotine (effectively curtails debate).

He added that a small number of Bills had been approved by Cabinet but their publication had been held back until next week.

Governments fault.


Bills started by government in 2014 and 2010 for comparison. Data


June


Seanad Calendar Attendance Heatmap 2014 Click to embiggen and interact. This tells me around 70% of Seantors were in the days that sittings were cancelled, anyway.


Red:Non-Sitting Days(includes committees)/Blue:Sitting days.
Seanad Dates Data
Can't show useful percentage sittings for full 2013 year as only up to 120 sittings and non-sittings days are recorded.

http://www.kildarestreet.com
Gooole Heatmap Calendar

Senators Oireachtas Attendance 2014 January to May
Senators Oireachtas attendance 2013