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Canadian Minister Mined Data To Target Email To Gay Voters 145

Posted by timothy
from the state-is-not-your-friend dept.
An anonymous reader writes "Has Immigration Minister Jason Kenney been emailing you? Maybe it's because you're gay. The minister sent out an email on Sept 24 lauding the government's efforts to protect and promote queer rights abroad. It highlights the 'emphasis . . . on gay and lesbian refugee protection, which is without precedent in Canada's immigration history.' The Ottawa Citizen's Glen McGregor broke the story, complete with reaction over the 'creepy' letter. For many who received an email from Citizenship and Immigration Minister Jason Kenney about gay refugees on Friday, the message raised one important question: How did he know I'm gay? The Conservatives have targeted written messages at minority communities in the past, most notably using direct mail lists to send out greetings to Jewish voters on religious holidays. Some recipients were alarmed by the prospect of the government assembling lists based on ethnicity or religious beliefs. Surely creating such a list will become easier when you are forced to use your real identities on social sites."
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Canadian Minister Mined Data To Target Email To Gay Voters

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  • internet (Score:4, Insightful)

    by masternerdguy (2468142) on Tuesday September 25, 2012 @08:54AM (#41448285)
    tracking your browsing might clue them in I suppose.
    • Re: (Score:2, Funny)

      by Anonymous Coward

      I would like to remind my representatives that I only hang out at TwinksandBears.com for the free t-shirts and coffee mugs.

    • Re:internet (Score:4, Interesting)

      by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday September 25, 2012 @09:09AM (#41448379)

      http://www.ctvnews.ca/politics/critics-accuse-kenney-of-pinkwashing-in-targeted-emails-1.970259
      >Kenney's office has not responded to a request for comment Tuesday, but in an email sent to the Ottawa Citizen his press secretary said the mass mailing was only sent to people who had contacted the minister's office in the past.

      >In 2011, nearly 10,000 people added their names to an electronic petition aimed at stopping the deportation of gay artist Alvaro Orozco.

      That's probably where the SPAM list came from. That's the problem with online partition. Not only they don't take you seriously, they also harvest your email address and put it in the SPAM list. A dead tree snail mail to your MP is free.

      • Re:internet (Score:4, Insightful)

        by flyingsquid (813711) on Tuesday September 25, 2012 @11:05AM (#41449591)
        I know spam is annoying and all... but you Canadians should really take a moment and consider how amazingly lucky you are. Consider that in your country, the conservatives are shamelessly pandering to homosexuals, instead of trying to deny them the rights everybody else has, and treating homosexuality as some kind of failing to cure with prayer. Maybe some day people in this country will get emails about how Republican politicians have promoted gay rights abroad. It could be 20 or 30 years, as the kids who are now in college move up into political positions. Then again, given how things have changed rapidly on the gay marriage front, it may not be quite so long.
        • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

          by eddy the lip (20794)

          As a Canadian, I am glad that we don't have to deal with the same kind of nonsense on this issue as our neighbours to the south.

          It should be noted, though, that this isn't out of any ethical conviction on the part of the Conservatives. After the last Liberal government passed the Civil Marriage Act in 2005, the Harper Conservatives campaigned on a promise to re-open the debate and hold a free vote (where members of parliament would be allowed to vote their conscience rather than along party lines). After

          • Re:internet (Score:4, Interesting)

            by Beardo the Bearded (321478) on Tuesday September 25, 2012 @12:27PM (#41450985)

            I'm also Canadian, and I'd like you to consider this:

            The Conservatives (CPC) were never interested in banning gay marriage (or as we call it up here, "marriage") but they were interested in getting the votes from the people who wanted to ban gay marriage. Here's how the vote was done:

            The CPC put the motion in, but then did not use the whip or even require attendance at the vote. (For the Americans, the whip means you're forced to vote with the party or you can lose your seat and it's unlikely that you'll be re-elected. It's not a real whip, all the pity.) Anyway, not forcing people to even show up for the vote would mean that the rest of the House of Commons could vote down the motion with ease BUT then those that didn't show up wouldn't have voting for or against the motion on their record. It was a huge "fuck you, you neanderthal thug" to the people that voted for the CPC with the purpose of banning same-sex marriage.

            After three more elections (long story Yanks, look it up on wikipedia) they still haven't brought it up even as a backbench motion.

            Further, after StatsCan released (several years ago) census data on how few same-sex marriages there are in Canada, several of the lobby groups disbanded. One of the groups was quoted as saying, "After looking at the numbers, we will focus our efforts elsewhere." I think there were more people in the lobby group than there are same-sex marriages.

            They're doing the same thing now with these backbencher motions w.r.t. abortion and when life begins. They aren't going to open the debate, they want to get the votes of people that want them to open the debate. It's a "leash" issue, it keeps that part of their base from looking too hard at the rest of the platform. "Well, they want me to wear an orange jumper and get an implant, but they PROMISED they'd get around to looking at gay marriage / abortion / gun control / etc"

            Also, fuck you and the horse you rode in on for making me, even obliquely, defend those assholes.

            • Also, fuck you and the horse you rode in on for making me, even obliquely, defend those assholes.

              :) If you knew me, you'd know how funny that was - I really do apologize! For what it's worth, you put up a pretty left handed defense.

              I tried to allude to the purely power oriented nature of all this:

              The cynical among us might say that despite the Conservatives desire to repeal the Civil Marriage Act, they've seen that that's not the way the political winds are blowing, and aren't interested in threatening the

              • Re:internet (Score:4, Insightful)

                by Beardo the Bearded (321478) on Tuesday September 25, 2012 @01:17PM (#41451727)

                Every once in a while I hear what idiots Harper's Conservatives are; they are not. They are frighteningly politically savvy, and they are playing the game like no other party here is yet.

                I agree with you. The CPC is the most policitally savvy party we've had in Canada for a very, very long time. Harper is incredibly intelligent and highly underestimated.

                They play Canadian politics like I play D&D. I've made DMs leave town.

                • by J Story (30227)

                  I wish I had mod points to sprinkle on this thread, but slashdot seems to bestow them to me on "boring topic" days only.

                  I will agree that the Conservatives have been able to play up their "stupidity" for the media and non-conservative voters, while stupidly pulling off victory after political victory. However, no small part of that is thanks to the ineffective opposition parties -- who, it must be admitted, got that way after being smacked around by the Conservatives. My concern, however, is that the Conser

                  • No, you're absolutely right. The CPC is the only viable party in Canada right now.

                    The Liberals are hoping that they'll find that One Great Leader and they'll rule the country again. They don't have a plan, and they don't have a platform. Iggy could have won the last election if he'd hammered the CPC on the economy, but instead they ran on improper procedures and "him or me". We're $120B deeper in debt than when Jim ran his first budget. With the SoCreds taking the Liberal name in BC, they won't get man

            • by DarthVain (724186)

              I agree, I agree.

              My favorite which doesn't surprise me at all: "I think there were more people in the lobby group than there are same-sex marriages."

              Though they did ram the gun registry thing through recently, though as a result some provinences simply said they would start their own then. Though I thought it was particulary spiteful that the conservatives wanted/did (not sure result) delete all the data, making prov. start afresh.

              For supposedly "fiscally" responsible conservatives, they are nothing more th

        • You say that like it's impossible to visibly pander to a group while you try to undermine them.
      • by roc97007 (608802)

        > Not only they don't take you seriously, they also harvest your email address and put it in the SPAM list.

        I'd make the argument that they *do* take you seriously, (IE participating in a mailing list gathering scheme, which is important to them) just not in the way you had hoped (IE, actually interested in your opinion).

    • Re:internet (Score:5, Funny)

      by Sepodati (746220) on Tuesday September 25, 2012 @09:11AM (#41448401) Homepage

      How does a targetted email from public info instantly transform into a "government list". You really think there's a secret gay list that your names are on now? Is Santa checking it twice?

      I get penis enlargment emails all the time. I don't wonder "How did he know I have a small dick?"

      • by roc97007 (608802)

        How does a targetted email from public info instantly transform into a "government list". You really think there's a secret gay list that your names are on now? Is Santa checking it twice?

        Ok, that was funny. But... the meaning I'm getting from his response is that (a) people respond to an online petition, and (b) the government then uses the compiled list of emails for targeted spam. How is that *not* a government list? It's the government... they have a list... it's a government list. Quod erat demonstratum.

        I get penis enlargment emails all the time. I don't wonder "How did he know I have a small dick?"

        Maybe he's reading your slashdot posts.

      • by AdamWill (604569)

        Right, I was kinda sad to see Slashdot just regurgitated the massively simplified mainstream media take on this story.

        What actually seems to have happened is that people signed an 'online petition', by providing their email addresses. What the petition code actually *did* with that information was auto-generate emails to the minister's office, from the addresses that 'signers' provided.

        A lot of people and a lot of media outlets still don't really understand that there is precisely zero validation of the Fro

    • Oh NO! The government is trying to figure out the numbers in demographics, so it can help form policy.

      We really need more data.

      For example, are a particular groups of people located in a particular area where they can be better served with State or City services, vs the large overhead of a Feds. Or perhaps this group is distributed uniformly across the country and needs Federal Mandate to serve them.

      What part of that 48 percent that doesn't pay taxes are actually low life free loaders, and what percentage

      • Re:internet (Score:5, Insightful)

        by Nerdfest (867930) on Tuesday September 25, 2012 @09:25AM (#41448535)

        There's a big difference between targeting demographics and specific people.

        • Yeah? What is it? Help me understand the huge scandal here.
          • Demographics would be swaths of folks based on generalities like age, income, or (at most) gender. It gets dangerous when you start compiling lists of folks based on characteristics that can be actively discriminated against by future governments (e.g. LGBT, conservative/progressive, Jewish/Muslim/Catholic, hispanic/black/white/whatever, etc.)

            • I guess its me, but I'm just not bothered by a guy looking for targeted votes. Yes, I suppose the government machine he works in could grab the list. But a guy looking for gay votes? Old votes? Asian votes, diabled, veterens, obtuse people, oblong peole... Not so much.
              • by Dr Caleb (121505)

                In Canada, none of that information is recorded on the voters lists, and no statistics are kept with respect to sexual orientation. A prominent member of the LGBT community recieved this email, and said on the radio this morning that she never emails government, nor participates in online petitions.

                Now does it bother you?

                • I didn't receive it... and I am a fairly prominent member of the LGBT community here in Ottawa, having been interviewed on the subject a couple of times by CBC's The Current, and also having worked with some government departments to help develop their sensitivity training (most recently, Corrections Canada's transgender awareness/rights program). I'm also personal friends with a few members of parliament, one of whom is a Conservative... I also write to my MP, Gordon O'Connor, on a regular basis, and have

      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by causality (777677)

        Oh NO! The government is trying to figure out the numbers in demographics, so it can help form policy.

        Is there a reason you cannot form policy by treating all people equally, without prying into what they do behind closed doors?

        For example, are a particular groups of people located in a particular area where they can be better served with State or City services, vs the large overhead of a Feds.

        In the long run, all people are better served when federal resources are used only when that's the only way to get the job done. For example, only the federal government can fight a foreign war. Yes I realize that big tax purse held by the feds can look mighty tempting, but you wind up creating a monster in the long term (just look at the current US government versus what the Found

        • by Hatta (162192)

          The problem is when the percentage who pay no taxes exceeds 50%, they become a tyranny to the minority who do

          Oh, those poor oppressed rich people. Don't they benefit enough from the political and economic structure that enables them to earn vastly more than the average honest hard working laborer?

          If you want people to pay taxes, pay them enough so that they can pay taxes without taking food from their mouths. If you object to class warfare, stop the rich from waging class warfare on the rest of us.

          Let's

          • by causality (777677)

            Oh, those poor oppressed rich people. Don't they benefit enough from the political and economic structure that enables them to earn vastly more than the average honest hard working laborer?

            I believe your bitterness towards those who might be gaming the system is distorting your judgment here. I didn't say any of that because my heart bleeds for some billionaire and his fleet of private jets. I said it because allowing one group to systematically become a tyrant to any other group is the death of the nation. If you destroy the nation this way, everyone is worse off, rich and poor alike. As a matter of fact, the rich can relocate to another country easily enough, so really it is the poor wh

      • Oh NO! The government is trying to figure out the numbers in demographics, so it can help form policy.

        'Twould be nice, but they killed the long form census.

        This is more likely based on opinion polling.

  • Yes, we can. (Score:2, Insightful)

    by mevets (322601)

    Our current government is peculiarly amoral. Fuelled by a fundamentalist background, if it is not written down (ie. law), then there is nothing wrong with it. Even when it is written down, if it is for the greater glory, it gets an exception.

    These lists will come in handy when phase II of their minority targetting comes to pass.

    • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

      by Anonymous Coward

      Why is this flamebait? It's actually even worse. According to the Harper government, if it's written in constitutional law, there must be something wrong with it. I don't think they've passed a single bill that hasn't been shot down by the supreme court for being unconstitutional. All the current debates also fall into this. They will waste months of debate to try to pass laws that the courts will simply say no to.

      • by mevets (322601)

        It is flamebait because it is critical of the reform party. What else could it be?

      • by daem0n1x (748565)
        What happened over there in Canada? I mean, you actually voted for this scum. Were you bored of having one of the best standards of living in the world?
        • Many feel that the election was stolen due to illegal robocalls by conservatives. But yes, it is a point of national shame that even 40% of the country voted for these sickos. Especially after they were judged in contempt of parliament and should rightly be in jail. The main problem is that the canadian economy never collapsed as the american one did. Housing in vancouver and toronto is still in a bubble. The economy is hanging by a string basically and all it will take is most likely one moderate jar to se

    • Your tinfoil hat has slipped off.
  • by Anonymous Coward

    Looks like it's time for Privacy Commissioner Stoddart to investigate the Con's! It's a bit like putting Capone away for tax evasion, but I'll take what I can get, if it hastens the demise of Harper's quisling government.


    • They responded to the people who gave them their contact info during a petition for Gay rights. In the same government department.

      They went, looked at the email, replied to everyone with the new pro-gay email that the government wanted to send out, and it was done.

      There was no breach of privacy. There was no unauthorized transfer of personal information between government ministries (which requires written consent by the individual), and since that ministry already had the petition, they are legally fre
  • Seriously, stop trying to sneak in how unfair it is that social sites have a real name policy. If you don't like them, don't use them - it's pretty easy.

    • If you don't like them, don't use them - it's pretty easy.

      That's easy to say, but hard to do. More and more sites are using social media sites as their login credentials. It's getting harder to not use them.

      • If a site is asking for your social site login credentials its a good sign you shouldnt do business with them. If they cant at least offer you a chance to make up your own credentials, they have no business operating globally.
  • They probably hired the same guy who some time ago devised the criteria for how to find out that an on-line user is pregnant. :-)
    • by garcia (6573) on Tuesday September 25, 2012 @09:04AM (#41448349) Homepage

      But that was via assembling data people chose to submit to Target through their purchases. This is the government assembling data that their citizens probably didn't want to submit.

      Remember, you have a choice not to support private business intrusion, you don't have a choice not to support government intrusion.

      • Remember, you have a choice not to support private business intrusion, you don't have a choice not to support government intrusion.

        Sure you have a choice whether you support government intrusion or not. The penalties might just be a bit harsher if you choose not to. But you always have a choice.

      • you don't have a choice not to support government intrusion.

        That's bull. You can vote out the intruders and they have to leave. A business can keep on intruding as long as it can afford to.

        • by garcia (6573)

          That's bull. You can vote out the intruders and they have to leave. A business can keep on intruding as long as it can afford to.

          Not necessarily. Politicians are voted in, staff are not and many times staff are the ones who have direct access to your data, not the politicians themselves.

      • by Qzukk (229616)

        Remember, you have a choice not to support private business intrusion, you don't have a choice not to support government intrusion.

        The government didn't ask you, they asked the private businesses you supported.

    • by MarkGriz (520778)

      Or maybe they bought the data from TiVo

    • by Anonymous Coward

      How does he know you're gay?

      Well:

      :-)

      The big happy face is a sign!

      Why, see a definition of "gay": [reference.com]

      having or showing a merry, lively mood: gay spirits; gay music. Synonyms: cheerful, gleeful, happy, glad, cheery, lighthearted, joyous, joyful, jovial; sunny, lively, vivacious, sparkling; chipper, playful, jaunty, sprightly, blithe.

      He's just looking for happy people, give him a break!

      And as far as the other defintions, well, the happy homosexuals are called gay. The sad ones are just called homosexuals.

      sad but

  • So... (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Sqr(twg) (2126054) on Tuesday September 25, 2012 @09:02AM (#41448333)

    People sent email to the minister of immigration telling him they were interested in gay rights. The minister took note, and then wrote back to tell them about the work he's doing to promote gay rights. Is this not how democracy is supposed to work? Should he ignore his incomming email in order to protect the sender's privacy?

    • Re:So... (Score:5, Interesting)

      by vlm (69642) on Tuesday September 25, 2012 @09:10AM (#41448387)

      People sent email to the minister of immigration

      The funny part is the attempt to cover up "real" data mining. Eh, data mining, don't worry about it, it just means collecting a mailing list.

      Its all to cover up real data mining... mushing your private gmail emailing patterns against your amazon purchases combined with a detailed analysis of every other website you've ever visited and all your facebook friends.

      I wouldn't worry about a guy creating or purchasing an email list. I'd worry about trivializing 1984 style surveillance by calling that action "data mining".

    • Actually, no:

      Green says she never communicated with Kenney's office. However, she did sign what she believed was an online petition about a refugee claimant who was about to be deported.

      Source [www.cbc.ca]

      • Re:So... (Score:5, Interesting)

        by Sqr(twg) (2126054) on Tuesday September 25, 2012 @09:42AM (#41448677)

        Actually yes:

          From TFA: "Whenever someone “signed” the petition, the site automatically sent a form letter by email to Kenney’s office with the signatory’s reply email address."

        So Kenney only sent out email to addresses from which he had previously received email on the same theme. If change.org did not inform the people signing the petition that they were sending out email their behalf, then that's hardly Kenney's fault.

        • Re:So... (Score:5, Insightful)

          by ToadProphet (1148333) on Tuesday September 25, 2012 @10:03AM (#41448885)

          There's a big difference between addressing a specific concern in a constituents correspondence and compiling a list of constituents sexual preferences to use for communication/propaganda/whatever. I've signed petitions regarding copyright reform - that doesn't give the government the right to put me on a list of potential pirates.

          • Re:So... (Score:4, Interesting)

            by Sqr(twg) (2126054) on Tuesday September 25, 2012 @10:49AM (#41449425)

            Nobody compiled a list of sexual preferences. The mailing list in question contained people who had expressed concerns about gay refugees' rights. Those people then received an email concerning gay refugees' rights. Some of the people on that list may have been gay, refugees, or both, but the email did not imply that they were.

            Also: You have signed petitions to the goverment stating your opinion, but you don't want the government to note your opinion? Then, why the hell did you sign the petition?

            • Also: You have signed petitions to the goverment stating your opinion, but you don't want the government to note your opinion?

              You do understand the difference between an official addressing a specific correspondence and compiling a list of people who are interested in X, right?

              In Canada we have the Privacy Act which states very specifically what the government may or may not compile lists on. The government may not compile any list of my interests/preferences/etc, for good reason. In this case if a government official is keeping a list of 'those with concerns about gay refugees' rights' it is in violation of the Privacy Act.

              • by Sqr(twg) (2126054)

                You do understand the difference between an official addressing a specific correspondence and compiling a list of people who are interested in X, right?

                Actually, no. The distinction between "correspondence" and "a list" may have been clear once upon a time, when everything was on paper. But in a digital world, processing an entire email archive can be done in seconds, so there's little practical difference between "keeping your correspondence" and "keeping a list".

                Or are you saying that Canadian officials are required to delete their incomming emails whenever they state personal interests/preferences/etc ?

                • No, Canadian officials are by law only allowed to use constituents correspondence to address that specific correspondence, unless the constituent agrees otherwise. That's covered in the Privacy Act, and on the surface it appears that this MP violated it.

                  This has nothing to do with retention of emails, and I do understand how easy it is for anyone to compile a list of individuals who emailed on a specific topic. The point is they aren't allowed to keep lists of people interests/preferences/etc. There was a r

                  • by Sqr(twg) (2126054)

                    If I were a Canadian politician who received email by the thousands, I'd for sure have a python script that allowed me to send out a generic response to everybody who wrote me on a particular subject in a given time period. This can be done without compiling a list of those people as an intermediary step.

                    (I don't know if this is what he did, but it seems a plausible scenario.)

              • by AdamWill (604569)

                There's a difference between 'the government' and 'a member of parliament'.

          • by Comboman (895500)

            It's not a list of constituents sexual preferences, it's a list of constituents who have expressed an interest in LGBT immigration issues in the past, which the Immigration Minister used to inform those constituents about a current LGBT immigration issue. If you think that everyone concerned about LGBT issues is gay, then maybe you're the one with the problem.

  • by martas (1439879) on Tuesday September 25, 2012 @09:04AM (#41448343)
    This seems more akin to targeted advertising by private entities than "the government assembling lists". They're don't seem to be doing it in any official capacity, but rather as a tactic for promoting their party. Not that I'm saying it's not creepy or a cause for concern! But the implication that this is akin to something the NSA might be doing is, I think, out of place.
  • It's especially ironic that you'd take to the Internet to complain about this. You're more concerned about government using demographic data to target messaging, than google (or, erm, Dice)? One on these is accountable to voters, and the other is a private business.
  • by dskoll (99328) on Tuesday September 25, 2012 @09:10AM (#41448389)

    Political parties of all kinds have been targeting specific groups for years. This is nothing new. What is new is that the Canadian Conservative party has a really kick-ass CRM system that lets them do this kind of targeting very efficiently.

  • by crazyjj (2598719) * on Tuesday September 25, 2012 @09:11AM (#41448397)

    Apparently, this was the source of the email list:

    nearly 10,000 people who electronically signed a 2011 online petition supporting a gay artist from Nicaragua, who was then facing deportation.

    I think it's perfectly reasonable to assume that those opposing the deportation of a gay artist would also be supporters of gay rights in general (though not necessarily gay themselves).

    • Sure, but do you really think it's appropriate for the government to be compiling lists of 'potential X's' based on petitions? Potential drug addicts because they signed a petition to legalize pot, potential pirates because they signed a petition for copyright reform, potential child molesters because...

      Governments aren't supposed keep lists of peoples habits or preferences, and for good reason. Those lists can easily be abused or compromised.

      • The point of signing a petition is that you're willing to go on the public record with a position. Don't want to be on the public record with that position? Don't sign the petition!

        If petitions were anonymous, they'd carry _very_ little political weight, and no government would listen to them. They only listen because you're willing to stand up and _be counted_.

        • Certainly, but it does not mean I I give consent for the state to record me within any demographic and compile a list of individual's sexual orientation. That's the slippery slope here.

          • by Macthorpe (960048)

            They're not recording your sexual orientation. They recorded your interest in gay rights, nothing more.

            Slippery slopes are a fallacy for a reason.

      • by cowboy76Spain (815442) on Tuesday September 25, 2012 @09:53AM (#41448801)

        You are confusing terms.

        The GP didn't say that the government assumes the people who signed the petition is gay, he said that the government (or the minister) thinks that the people that signed the petition worrying about a gay immigrant may be interested in the rights of gay immigrants. I think this is a logic process (except for those who signed because they were relatives/friends/admirer of that particular person, and would not care for any other gay immigrant).

        The logic for "anyone who promotes legalization of drugs is a drug user" is a far more twisted. It involves making assumptions (like that only "current drug users" would support such a law).

        Also, the government didn't compile anything. Probably an association requested the people to sign in and it was that association who did compile the list and gave it to the government. The government just used it.

        The only concern about this issue is the government used data available only to them (that is, that no other political party had access to) and public means to publicite their gestion only for electoral reasons(instead of having the government run the country and the party prepare the elections). But that seems the usual conduct everywhere, so it is less of a news.

        • You are confusing terms.

          No, actually I'm not. I'm merely extrapolating the potential for abuse.

          Governments should not compile lists of individuals opinions/preferences/etc for good reason - that can, and likely will, be abused. Note that this is different than demographics and certainly not the same as addressing a constituents specific concern by responding to specific correspondence.

          Also, the government didn't compile anything. Probably an association requested the people to sign in and it was that association who did compile the list and gave it to the government. The government just used it.

          That's a big assumption - the list was likely compiled based on emails directly sent to the MP via a petition.

      • by dskoll (99328)

        Governments aren't supposed keep lists of peoples habits or preferences, and for good reason

        I'm not sure that the government kept the list. I think it might have been the Conservative party. Now seeing as they Conservatives have a majority in parliament, this is a very grey area... but still: The government isn't really keeping tabs.

  • by Anonymous Coward

    How did Kenney know you were gay? He asked John Baird.

  • by Chrisq (894406) on Tuesday September 25, 2012 @09:18AM (#41448465)
    The only thing that worries me is, how are Gay Jewish Canadian's supposed to vote?
    • by alexo (9335)

      Same as everybody else.

      I truly believe that once the NDP gets to head a minority government (*) for 4 years, both the Libs and the Cons will clean their act faster than you can say "general elections".

      (*) No Canadian party (**), present or future, should ever be given a majority government.

      (**) That should hold for other nations as well.

      • by Chrisq (894406)

        Same as everybody else.

        I truly believe that once the NDP gets to head a minority government (*) for 4 years, both the Libs and the Cons will clean their act faster than you can say "general elections".

        (*) No Canadian party (**), present or future, should ever be given a majority government.

        (**) That should hold for other nations as well.

        I'd have said the same thing in the UK - until I we got the Con-Lib coalition and I saw how fast the liberals would ditch their principles [hurryupharry.org] in order to be given a position of power.

        • by digitig (1056110)
          I don't think you remember quite how bad the Tories were when they didn't have another party to restrain them, even if they can only restrain them a little. That's the point about coalitions and non-majority governments. They still tend to have very much the flavour of the largest party, but at least the other party or parties manage to limit some of the more severe extremes.
  • by samazon (2601193) on Tuesday September 25, 2012 @09:21AM (#41448495)

    Ok, so, I studied PSC and worked for a statewide campaign here in the USA last year. That said, there is very, very specific databasing/tracking software used by the political parties (We used NGP-VAN [ngpvan.com]) to do this exact thing. We used data from previous Dem campaigns (this was a gubernatorial race; we got the AG, a couple lists from previous governors, and some lists from unsuccessful previous campaigns for various state and local positions) as well as data we collected from cold-calling and anything we found on the internet. Early in the campaign, my role was to track down contact information for our database, as well as any relevant info on where people worked and what their strong political leanings were (Southern Dems are much different from Northern ones). It's easy, especially when it's for calling for contributions.

    There are only about 4M people in my state, so there are more competitive mayoral races in large cities. However, when you're dealing with 10M+ people, you have to rely on outsourced data. I get junk email from a bunch of social action campaigns because of petitions I've signed. I emailed all my state reps over a couple issues. So they know who I am. They also know who you are if you have been politically active online at all.

    This is not an inherently bad thing. Expecting privacy on the internet, expecting your actions not to have unforeseen consequences, is the mark of a person who doesn't understand how the world, and the web, and people in general, work. Just for funsies, go request a dump of your Facebook ad topic data.

  • But when governments make the lists, you know the ones that have power to put you in prison or deny you accesses to services or locations or permits or can tax you, to gets creepy. We have seen targeted political action before and we still have a collective nightmare over it. Lets stop that and have governements blind to things like race, creed, sexual orientation..

  • by pod (1103)

    Something to think about next time you fill out an online survey or petition that collects your email address. Read the fine print much?

  • How did he know I'm gay?

    I'll tell you how he knew: his gadar [gadarsportswear.com] is suspiciously accurate for a conservative... :p

  • or maybe "nature abhors an information vacuum"? in any case, it seems natural for people to avail themselves of information, though we might try to limit the behavior of out elected officials (and, theoretically, the civil servants who answer to them...) I don't really see any point to telling people what they can do with information, though it would be great if there were some punitive incentive for them to get it right. public action based on wrong data should be, IMO, punished by more than just libel

  • Because I see nothing wrong with this. Targeting groups of people (any) to let them know what your policies are in the hopes that they vote for you? I thought that was the whole point. The fact that they are actually using data mining tells me that maybe just maybe they aren't technologocial dinosaurs either...

    I still think the conservatives are a bunch of jerks, but this doesn't seem all that vile to me, particularly compared to some of their other tricks.

    Besides, it is only a matter of time before some in

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