Disclosure: I ran for an opposing political party last federal election, and currently run a decision-making company which does not use third-party foreign privacy trackers and prioritizes on privacy and security.
On Twitter, I have recently bet my friend, Liberal MP Maryam Monsef, $1 million that I could impact the outcome of the results of the Liberals' new online electoral reform survey, MyDemocracy.ca. I also bet the minister $200,000 that I could have those results tampered with and manipulated, including entering multiple attempts to take the survey.
— Kris Constable (@cqwww) December 5, 2016
I've also asked that she stop leaking the personal values and votes of Canadians with several third-party foreign companies, which is exactly what this website is doing right now.
As a privacy and security expert, I concluded that the MyDemocracy survey is not just ineffective in its stated political objectives, it's literally giving up the privacy of Canadians in real time. This is really dangerous, not only from the various privacy trackers -- which you can see using the EFF's Privacy Badger plugin -- but scary when you realize that this issue applies to all of Public Safety's websites I have tested.
That's right -- by visiting the the Canadian Government's Public Safety websites, they are intentionally using third-party scripts in their website code to gather and provide your online behaviour and activity to foreign companies and governments.
How valuable will this information be for the Liberals' next election?
Consider that this information is effectively politically profiling any Canadian who participates in this survey. How valuable will this information be for the Liberals' next election?
This also applies to things like the terribly worded and biased National Security survey that is happening right now. What will the American government/companies do with all of the data that the Canadian government is openly sharing with them in real time?
This is on top of the fact that Canada's digital spies are monitoring all of these votes as well.
Adding more to the "dumpster fire" that is the MyDemocracy survey, NDP MP Nathan Cullen and others excoriated it in the House of Commons:
Finally, as University of Victoria Assistant Economics Professor Rob Gillezeau tweeted, there exists an obscure clause in the MyDemocracy survey's privacy agreement that is obviously very problematic:
Buried in the mydemocracy.ca privacy section: if you don't fill out the "optional" personal information section your results are trashed. pic.twitter.com/phAhn0o0uR
— Rob Gillezeau (@robgillezeau) December 5, 2016
If you don't like the idea of your personal information, votes and activity going to foreign companies and governments, I would not enter any information on any (government) website that EFF's Privacy Badger is showing contains third-party privacy trackers.
To my friend Maryam Monsef, who I know does not have a technical background and is doing her best in her new challenging and critical role:
I request that we get a commitment from our government that they will stop using foreign privacy trackers, as well as a commitment they will not use this data after the survey is complete, if they don't choose to just abandon the survey data altogether.
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From CBC: '8 Facebook Privacy Flaps' An Indian man opens a Facebook page on his mobile phone in Hyderabad, India, Thursday, May 17, 2012. The company's shares are expected to begin trading on the Nasdaq Stock Market on Friday under the ticker symbol "FB". Facebook is likely to have an estimated market valuation of some $100 billion, making it worth more than Kraft Foods, Ford or Disney. (AP Photo/Mahesh Kumar A.)
When Facebook launched "news feed" in 2006, it angered many users by not giving them control of who could see their updates, or the ability to opt out. A "Students Against Facebook New Feed" group was set up by university student Ben Parr, now a well-known writer and expert on social media and internet technology. After it had garnered nearly 300,000 members in two days, Zuckerberg apologized on the Facebook blog. "We really messed this one up," he said. Conceding that "we didn't build in the proper privacy controls," Zuckerberg described the move as "a big mistake on our part." An unidentified 11-year-old girl looks at Facebook on her computer at her home in Palo Alto, Calif., on Monday, June 4, 2012. Though Facebook bans children under 13, millions of them have profiles on the site by lying about their age. The company is now testing ways to allow those kids to participate without needing to lie. This would likely be under parental supervision, such as by connecting children's accounts to their parents' accounts. (AP Photo/Paul Sakuma)
Beacon was a Facebook ad system that tracked what users did and what they purchased on partner websites, even for users who were not Facebook members. Adding to the privacy concerns, information about Facebook users' purchases were published without their explicit consent on their friends' news feeds. The Facebook community mobilized as confusion reigned over whether Beacon was an opt-in or opt-out system and within a month Zuckerberg apologized. "We've made a lot of mistakes building this feature, but we've made even more with how we've handled them," he wrote. Facebook shut down Beacon in 2009. A Facebook logo is displayed on the screen of an iPad, Wednesday, May 16, 2012 in New York. Facebook's initial public offering is one of the most hotly anticipated in years. The company is likely to have an estimated market valuation of $100 billion when its shares begin trading on the Nasdaq stock market on Friday. (AP Photo/James H. Collins)
Facebook hired Burson-Marsteller, a public relations firm, to contact journalists and bloggers with accusations that Google was engaged in a "sweeping violation of user privacy." The problem, however, was that Facebook wanted it kept private that they were behind the anti-Google campaign. Once exposed, Facebook admitted that they should have behaved "in a serious and transparent way." FILE - In this May, 26, 2010 file photo, Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg talks about the social network site's new privacy settings in Palo Alto, Calif. Facebook has raised $500 million from Goldman Sachs and a Russian investment firm in a deal that values the company at $50 billion, The New York Times reported. Goldman invested $450 million and Digital Sky Technologies invested $50 million, the newspaper reported Sunday in its online edition, citing people involved in the transaction that it did not name. Goldman has the right to sell part of its stake, up to $75 million, to the Russian firm. (AP Photo/Marcio Jose Sanchez, File)
In 2010, Facebook introduced a new tool for users to share information about the things on the web that they liked. But, Facebook users who had clicked on the "like" button' for some products began seeing their name and photo used to promote the product. A class-action lawsuit was launched. Nick Begus became part of the class action after his friends saw his name being used to promote a 55-gallon barrel of personal lubricant he had "liked" as a joke. His sarcastic comment — "For Valentine’s Day. And everyday. For the rest of your life" — somehow became part of an ad for Amazon, where the barrel was for sale. As part of the settlement, announced in June 2012, Facebook has to make it clear what the implications might be if they use the "like" button and has to give users the chance to decline to be unpaid endorsers of a product. An economist testified that the new policy could cost Facebook $103 million in lost advertising revenue. A television photographer shoots the Like sign outside of Facebook headquarters in Menlo Park, Calif., Friday, May 18, 2012. Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg symbolically opened trading on the Nasdaq stock market inside Facebook headquarters in Menlo Park. Facebook stock is starting trading today, available to the general public for the first time. The social networking site, which was started in a college dorm room eight years ago, would be valued at more than $100 billion according to the price set for shares ahead of today's trading. (AP Photo/Paul Sakuma)
It's hard to say how much of a flap this one will be, since it's just getting started. Facebook has partnered with Datalogix, a company which tracks customers' purchases when they use a discount loyalty card while shopping, in order to show advertisers whether their ads are working. Privacy groups have expressed concerned about combining online data about ads with offline shopping data, and with how difficult it is for users to opt out. (A shortcut is this link to the Datalogix privacy page, where you can opt out.) Facebook says, "individual user data is not shared between Facebook, Datalogix or advertisers." FILE - In this Jan. 3, 2011 file photo, Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg smiles in San Francisco. Facebook Inc. CEO Mark Zuckerberg is speaking at a technology conference in San Francisco on Tuesday, Sept. 11, 2012, It is his first interview since the company's rocky initial public offering earlier this year. (AP Photo/Paul Sakuma, File)
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