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Deutsche Post sold voter microtargeting [!] data to CDU and FDP
The Sunday edition of the national broadsheet Bild [!] reported that Chancellor Angela Merkel's conservative Christian Democrats (CDU) and the center-right Free Democrats (FDP) purchased "more than a billion" of pieces of personal data about potential voters from a subsidiary of Deutsche Post in the run-up to Germany's national election in September.

The data was reportedly anonymized but contained enough information for the parties to determine, for instance, the general political leanings of residents of a building.
Social media platforms such as Facebook and Twitter have long sold [PUBLISHING SERVICES] -- something for which they are coming under increasing criticism. Nonetheless, questions abound as to whether such ads do much good in Germany.

< wipes tears >
here has so far been little legislative oversight of microtargeting, which is used by parties in various countries in Europe and elsewhere.

"Different rules apply to commercial and political advertising," Balazs Bodo, Natali Helberger and Claes H. de Vreese, researchers at the University of Amsterdam, wrote in a 2017 study. "While both in the US, the UK and in the EU sophisticated regulatory frameworks [!] protect consumers from false and misleading commercial advertisements, political speech is not judged by the same standards."

There's this thing about liars ...
There is little evidence that microtargeting had great influence on the outcome of the September 2017 vote in Germany. Even with the data from Deutsche Post, the CDU recorded its worst result in 68 years.

But Bild's report is an embarrassment -- particularly for the FDP, which often presents itself as a pro-privacy party that stands up for citizens' rights. And the perception that microtargeting, regardless of its true effectiveness, can be used to influence election outcomes has the potential to further undermine popular faith in democracy.

Diversity is the key to economic and political evolution.
by Cat on Sun Apr 1st, 2018 at 09:17:22 PM EST

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