The right to privacy is one of our fundamental values, and the main driver behind our activism as a party. We were founded on issues such as government encryption busting, social media data harvesting, omnipresent cameras and facial recognition. In the new digital age we stand as one of the few political parties who understand and care about the effects of technology on liberty and democracy.
But with the dangers of technology comes power and new ways of doing things. Non profit groups such as The Wilderness Society, Getup, Greenpeace as well as political parties such as the Democratic Party in the US and the Greens or Labour party in Australia are all using comprehensive databases of supporter info which combine with data analytics, campaign targetting, supporter profiling and personalised outreach. These new modes of digital organising are credited with helping Obama win in 2009, and since have transformed political and other campaign organising around the globe. “Big data” has likewise helped massively in other areas such as research, education, medical and policy areas.
As a digitally literate party we must not fall behind in making use of technology for the benefit of all Australians. While better informed than other parties in the technology space, that means we are better informed to manage the risks and protect the data we collect.
As National President, it has been my role to support and drive the national election campaign and my number one question from Pirate candidates and organisers around Australia has been “How do I get in contact with party members nearby?”. Up until now, I have had to tell them that our privacy protections in the constitution are so strict that it’s not possible.
But now that needs to change. No longer can we lag behind other parties in using the power of data for good. Our party privacy protections must be amended to allow, with strict protections, the usage of member contact data for the purpose of campaign organising by the party.
I propose the following amendment:
If you consent, your contact details may be shared with Pirate Party Australia coordinators in your area for the sole purpose of organising events, campaigns or other related party business such as sharing news with you relevant to our platform. Such coordinators are vetted by the National Council and appointed at their discretion.
Save the following new preferences for each member:
- I consent to being contacted by PPAU coordinators local to me for electoral campaign purposes
- I consent to being contacted by PPAU coordinators local to me for non-electoral party business such as crew meetups, events or local news of interest
Add the above 2 preferences as tick boxes in the member area and have both preferences updated at membership creation/renewal time. If no previous option is selected (ie for new members or when this proposal is first officially implemented) the default option for these preferences is enabled.
Local Coordinator Vetting Process
In the past this has been an adhoc process operating off National Council discretion. I propose we have the following conditions for any specific coordinator to be given access to their consenting local members contact details:
- The coordinator has been a party member for a minimum of 9 months
- In the judgement of the NC, the coordinator understands, respects and values the privacy of our members
- In the judgement of the NC, the coordinator has the minimum basic skills required to be a volunteer coordinator.
- The matter may be referred to the DRC by any party member in the event of a disagreement over coordinator.