The Workers’ Party have called on the government to ensure regulations are in place governing the use of digital data by Cambridge Analytica-style companies, ahead of May’s referendum on the 8th amendment.

Workers’ Party councillor Éilis Ryan said:

“Kanto, the company hired by anti-choice campaigners to run their digital campaigning in the lead up to May’s referendum, were founded by the people behind Cambridge Analytica. Given the accusations now being levelled at Cambridge Analytica about how they bought and used personal data to influence votes in Britain, it is essential that regulations are introduced well in advance of the May referendum, which stop a similar scenario from happening here.”

Cllr. Ryan continued:
“It is bad enough that there is no spending limit for referendums in Ireland. In what will be one of the critical votes of this generation, the opposition side will attempt to keep Irish women stuck in the last century by throwing money at the campaign for a ‘No’ vote.

“But what’s worse again is that we have almost no transparency or regulation around how companies like Kanto and Cambridge Analytica access and manipulate personal information, as part of this campaign.”

The Workers’ Party councillor called for the immediate establishment of an expert group to develop guidelines which the Referendum Commission can use, on the use of digital data:
“An expert group should be immediately tasked with developing guidelines that set out if and when a campaign group may employ the services of companies who effectively buy personal data, how a campaign group must report what ads it uses to target the public, and how much money – if any – a campaign group may pay to use the services of groups like Kanto.

“Arguably, it would be in the interests of democracy to ban all payments by registered campaign groups to organisations such as Kanto and Cambridge Analytica.”


Worker’s Party