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Canadian Minister Mined Data To Target Email To Gay Voters 145

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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  • Re:internet (Score:4, Interesting)

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

  • 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 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: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?

  • 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.

Q: How many IBM CPU's does it take to execute a job? A: Four; three to hold it down, and one to rip its head off.