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senate Bill S. 2398

Should Voters Have Control Over How Federal Political Candidates & Campaigns Use Their Personal Information?

Argument in favor

Voters’ personal information is just that — personal. Political campaigns and candidates for elected office shouldn’t have carte blanche access to people’s personal information, and should also be required to inform people when they’ve obtained their information.

jimK's Opinion
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11/27/2019
Please let us control use and access of our personal information. I do not need to be telemarketed to death for donations. Although, I apparently meet some demographic that says I lean toward Republicans; and I do take a perverse pleasure interrogating callers as to why I should support trump or others. The more I ask for answers to clarify their nebulous sloganeered responses, the more frustrated they become until they finally just hang-up. I guess it shouldn’t but it really does make me feel good to do this. Well Naw, I don’t want to be bothered anymore by slogans and tag lines. I want it to stop.
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Soheyr's Opinion
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11/27/2019
No one should have access to my personal information without my informed consent.
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Robert's Opinion
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11/27/2019
Both government and private companies must clearly obtain the users permission before they use your information.
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Argument opposed

Political campaigns need data on voters in order to reach the appropriate audiences for their campaigns. Taking away political campaigns’ right to access voter information would hamper political candidates’ abilities to share their campaign messages and platforms with voters.

Dawn 's Opinion
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11/27/2019
Nope to anything this nutcase introduces. She’s concerned with herself and her political interests ONLY. She should have been removed from her duties when she colluded with the Fake Ford and the Dems, leaking her fallacious accusations against Kavanaugh. Criminal old coot. Trump 2020. MAGA
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eliyak's Opinion
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12/13/2019
This would be a barrier to grassroots campaigns without the funds or expertise to comply.
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KyleCorley's Opinion
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11/27/2019
If people are worried about how their personal information is used then use common sense in how it is shared.
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What is Senate Bill S. 2398?

This bill — the Voter Privacy Act of 2019 — would give voters control over how their personal information is used by political candidates and campaigns in federal elections and empower them to prohibit the transfer of their information or request its deletion. 

Specifically, this bill would give voters five basic rights regarding their personal information: 

1. Right of access. Voters would be permitted to review any of their own personal information collected by a campaign, candidate or political organization.

2. Right of notice. Any campaign that receives an individual’s personal information from a data broker (including consumer purchasing history, geolocation, medical information, credit reports, web browsing data and other information) would be required to notify those individuals that their data was obtained.

3. Right of deletion. Voters would be permitted to instruct a campaign, candidate or political organization to delete their personal information.

4. Right to prohibit transfer. Voters would be permitted to instruct a campaign, candidate or political organization not to sell their data to a third party. 

5. Right to prohibit targeting. Voters would be permitted to instruct websites like Google and Facebook not to use their data profiles to help political groups target them with psychologically engineered political ads.

These requirements wouldn’t apply to information obtained from publically available state and local voter databases, including name, address, and party affiliation. Campaigns would still maintain access to enough data to communicate with voters. This bill’s requirements wouldn’t apply to anonymous polling information.

This bill would apply to a range of sensitive data, including Social Security numbers, personal property records, biometric information like DNA, browsing history, geolocation data, health information, education data, and more.

Impact

Voters; voters’ personal information; voters’ control over how political candidates and campaigns in federal elections access and use their information; political candidates and campaigns in federal elections; and political candidates and campaigns' acquisition and use of voters' personal information.

Cost of Senate Bill S. 2398

A CBO cost estimate is unavailable.

More Information

In-DepthSponsoring Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-CA) introduced this bill to give voters control over how their personal information is used by political candidates and campaigns in federal elections

“Political candidates and campaigns shouldn’t be able to use private data to manipulate and mislead voters. This bill would help put an end to such action. Today, campaigns are legally able to conduct sophisticated online surveillance of everyone in our country in order to influence individuals based on their unique psychological characteristics. This targeted manipulation not only undermines our democracy, it’s a threat to basic individual freedom.”

Although Senate Democrats have made it a priority to pass election security legislation in the current Congress, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) has blocked these measures from reaching the Senate floor. Explaining his decision, he called the current measures too “partisan,” as they had little support from Republicans. In July 2019, he said that he would support election security legislation if “things in it that federalize state elections” were removed.


Of NoteDuring the 2016 election, the Robert Mercer-funded and Steve Bannon-affiliated political consulting company Cambridge Analytica misused sensitive personal information from 87 million Facebook users in order to influence voters to support Donald Trump’s campaign. The Cambridge Analytica controversy set off a debate in both Washington and globally on the need to regulate and rein in Big Tech’s collection of user data.

U.S. political campaigns are increasingly adopting tactics like those of Cambridge Analytica. According to one report, a major political party now possesses detailed voter files with thousands of data points on over 200 million Americans. The same report also says that “voter data may be the largest concentration of unregulated data in the U.S. today.”

When Cambridge Analytica closed down, its former employees said that they weren’t the only firm conducting psychologically manipulative work using social media; they were simply the ones that made headlines.

In 2017, the Republican National Committee (RNC) accidentally exposed the political data of more than 198 million U.S. citizens when Deep Root Analytics, a marketing firm contracted by the RNC, stored over a terabyte of internal documents on a publicly accessible Amazon server. The data leak contained personal information — including home addresses, birthdates, phone numbers, advanced sentiment analyses (on issues such as gun ownership, stem cell research, and the right to abortion), suspected religious affiliation, and suspected ethnicity — on roughly 61% of the U.S. population. The data was collected from a range of sources, including the banned subreddit r/fatpeoplehate, American Crossroads (the super PAC cofounded by former White House strategist Karl Rove), Koch brothers-funded Americans for Prosperity, and TargetPoint (whose cofounder previously headed Matt Romney’s strategy team).

In a 2014 study, researcher Ira Rubenstein found that political campaigns and organizations can now “assemble a vast array of [personally identifiable information] into detailed dossiers on practically every American voter in order to target voters with individualized messages.”


Media:

Summary by Lorelei Yang

(Photo Credit: iStockphoto.com / bee32)

AKA

Voter Privacy Act of 2019

Official Title

A bill to amend the Federal Election Campaign Act of 1971 to ensure privacy with respect to voter information.

bill Progress


  • Not enacted
    The President has not signed this bill
  • The house has not voted
  • The senate has not voted
      senate Committees
      Committee on Rules and Administration
    IntroducedJuly 31st, 2019
    Please let us control use and access of our personal information. I do not need to be telemarketed to death for donations. Although, I apparently meet some demographic that says I lean toward Republicans; and I do take a perverse pleasure interrogating callers as to why I should support trump or others. The more I ask for answers to clarify their nebulous sloganeered responses, the more frustrated they become until they finally just hang-up. I guess it shouldn’t but it really does make me feel good to do this. Well Naw, I don’t want to be bothered anymore by slogans and tag lines. I want it to stop.
    Like (109)
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    Nope to anything this nutcase introduces. She’s concerned with herself and her political interests ONLY. She should have been removed from her duties when she colluded with the Fake Ford and the Dems, leaking her fallacious accusations against Kavanaugh. Criminal old coot. Trump 2020. MAGA
    Like (8)
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    No one should have access to my personal information without my informed consent.
    Like (48)
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    Both government and private companies must clearly obtain the users permission before they use your information.
    Like (44)
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    Political or private a release/consent form should be signed.
    Like (27)
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    My privacy is important to me.
    Like (23)
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    My personal information should not be available to anyone.
    Like (20)
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    Why wouldn’t we?
    Like (16)
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    Yes, but I don’t believe this bill goes far enough. Not only should individuals have a right to determine in what instances their personal data can be used. We should have the right to be fairly compensated WHENEVER our personal data is used. Big data use in building algorithms is a highly profitable industry. Likewise, those individuals who have made the conscious choice to contribute to such endeavors SHOULD BE ENTITLED TO FAIR COMPENSATION FOR THEIR CONTRIBUTIONS. Example: If Netflix sells a marketing algorithm to Cambridge Analytical for 1.2 billion that was built from the data of 10,000 Netflix users; then, those 10,000 Netflix users have contributed their intellectual property and are entitled to automated fair compensation.
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    Should people have control over their personal information? YES. No qualifiers needed.
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    Yes, absolutely, and while I have a great deal of respect for Senator Feinstein, her Voter Privacy Act of 2019 doesn’t go far enough. I see political campaigns and their accomplices as no better than the whores who sell our data which does not belong to them. Why, for example, would my health be a part of sold data and if it is, The more pertinent question is what organization has violated HIPPA requirements. Further, the burden should be firmly placed on the campaign - I should have to opt IN to receive their marketing rather than having to opt OUT, it should not be shared among or sold between campaigns. I question additionally why campaign robocalls were originally exempted from the Do Not Call registry, but the answer is pretty clear in who benefits from the law as it is written. The term “data broker” as written covers a pretty wide landscape of bad actors and includes any organization that sells OUR data such as credit reporting agencies l, 3rd and 4th parties and insurers yet most of us understand it to be primarily referring to Facebook and Twitter and resulting not only from the Cambridge Analytica scandal, but from what this scandal demonstrated about misuse. Finally, I see nothing detailing potential penalties for the campaigns (and really it’s the data sellers and consulting groups with whom the campaigns, both RNC and DNC, presidential and PAC’s contract with). We should be seeing solid and non-negotiable jail time and fines of $10,000 per individual incident. for violations, yet I doubt that this will happen. Think back to the Equifax breach, nothing happened, in fact there was legislation written to protect Equifax in the aftermath. Please take this much further and provide us with some real protections!
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    Yes!
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    Protect our data and privacy.
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    What? Are we stupid? I want them knowing nothing about me except, maybe, my home address. Even that scares the hell out of me. However, if they know my home address, I want to know their home address, too. Not their office address, either. What’s good for the goose is good for the gander, eh? How about they can only know as much about me as I know about them? Sounds fair to me - maybe! Anyone who uses my data should have to pay me. It pisses me off to no end that Equifax, Experian and TransUnion can collect and sell MY DATA, without my consent or remuneration. Who authorized that in the first place? I’d surely like to know!
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    Certainly. Great idea.
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    This country does not owe any politician anything. Politicians have no right to use our information to raise funds, or anything else.
    Like (9)
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    Voters should have control over their private information at all times in a free society.
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    Yes,absolutely
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    Yes. Please.
    Like (7)
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    I am so tired of getting phone calls, emails and text messages asking for money and my vote! I have chosen my candidates and fully support them. But if you think I’m sending money to another candidate in another state you are nuts! I think my privacy needs to be protected and candidates should have permission from me to contact me!
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