JOINT MEDIA RELEASE BY ELECTRONIC FRONTIERS AUSTRALIA, FUTURE WISE, AUSTRALIAN PRIVACY FOUNDATION, DIGITAL RIGHTS WATCH
In light of the revelations that Cambridge Analytica has reportedly misused the data of over 50 million people on Facebook, Australia’s leading digital and civil rights advocates call on all Australian governments and political parties to categorically answer the following questions:
- Have you, at any time, engaged the services of Cambridge Analytica or its parent company Strategic Communication Laboratories?
- Have you, at any time, been provided with data on Australian citizens by Cambridge Analytica or its parent company Strategic Communication Laboratories?
- Have you ever provided any Government data such as voter rolls to Cambridge Analytica or its parent company Strategic Communication Laboratories?
- Do you believe that the linkage of this sort of data to generate sensitive political data meets the definition of consent required by Australian law?
- Many Australian political parties and ministers have reportedly met with Cambridge Analytica over the past few years. We must know who in the Australian political sphere believes in informed consent, and who does not.
The New York Times and The Guardian have reported that Cambridge Analytica accessed the Facebook profiles of 50 million people without their informed consent. People who trusted Facebook to keep their private information private; people who did not give their informed consent that their data be shared in this way. Facebook has since suspended Cambridge Analytica from its platform, as well as its parent company Strategic Communication Laboratories.
Australian governments are pushing to collect more and more data on Australians, and to link it with larger and larger datasets. Australians must be confident that the custodians of our data will look after our best interests, proactively, and with due care and skill. We must know that our data is not being collected merely for narrow, self-interested reasons. We must be sure that this data is not being shared without our informed consent.
These should be simple questions for any government or political party to answer. We look forward to seeing how trustworthy they really are.