Voter Privacy Act Would Limit Targeting

August 1, 2019

Senator Dianne Feinstein (D-CA) has introduced the Voter Privacy Act, S. 2398, a bill to ensure privacy with respect to voter information. The Act would give voters basic rights regarding their personal data: right of access, right of notice, right of deletion, right to prohibit transfer, and the right to prohibit targeting. The Federal Election Commission would oversee enforcement of the Act. “Political candidates and campaigns shouldn’t be able to use private data to manipulate and mislead voters. This bill would help put an end to such actions,” Senator Feinstein said. The bill cites EPIC Advisory Board members Julie E. Cohen's forthcoming publication “Between Truth and Power,” quoting "today's networked information flows are optimized to produce what social psychologist Shoshana Zuboffcalls instrumentarian power: They employ a radical behaviorist approach to human psychology to mobilize and reinforce patterns of motivation, cognition, and behavior that operate on automatic, near-instinctual levels and that may be manipulated instrumentally.” The Voter Privacy Act was referred to the Senate Rules Committee.

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