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Canadian Minister Mined Data To Target Email To Gay Voters

timothy posted about 2 years ago | from the state-is-not-your-friend dept.

Canada 145

An anonymous reader writes "Has Immigration Minister Jason Kenney been emailing you? Maybe it's because you're gay. The minister sent out an email on Sept 24 lauding the government's efforts to protect and promote queer rights abroad. It highlights the 'emphasis . . . on gay and lesbian refugee protection, which is without precedent in Canada's immigration history.' The Ottawa Citizen's Glen McGregor broke the story, complete with reaction over the 'creepy' letter. For many who received an email from Citizenship and Immigration Minister Jason Kenney about gay refugees on Friday, the message raised one important question: How did he know I'm gay? The Conservatives have targeted written messages at minority communities in the past, most notably using direct mail lists to send out greetings to Jewish voters on religious holidays. Some recipients were alarmed by the prospect of the government assembling lists based on ethnicity or religious beliefs. Surely creating such a list will become easier when you are forced to use your real identities on social sites."

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internet (4, Insightful)

masternerdguy (2468142) | about 2 years ago | (#41448285)

tracking your browsing might clue them in I suppose.

Re:internet (2, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41448355)

I would like to remind my representatives that I only hang out at TwinksandBears.com for the free t-shirts and coffee mugs.

Re:internet (1)

Beardo the Bearded (321478) | about 2 years ago | (#41451287)

Your username is "fill_my_mug_45"!

Re:internet (4, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41448379)

http://www.ctvnews.ca/politics/critics-accuse-kenney-of-pinkwashing-in-targeted-emails-1.970259
>Kenney's office has not responded to a request for comment Tuesday, but in an email sent to the Ottawa Citizen his press secretary said the mass mailing was only sent to people who had contacted the minister's office in the past.

>In 2011, nearly 10,000 people added their names to an electronic petition aimed at stopping the deportation of gay artist Alvaro Orozco.

That's probably where the SPAM list came from. That's the problem with online partition. Not only they don't take you seriously, they also harvest your email address and put it in the SPAM list. A dead tree snail mail to your MP is free.

Re:internet (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41448849)

Maybe. But it is worth pointing out that:
1) They did not deport Alvaro.
2) Kenney sent a letter where he boasts he is doing the RIGHT thing.

I am not a conservative supporter, but let's not get crazy here. It is not as they are assembling proscriptions lists or something.

Re:internet (3, Insightful)

flyingsquid (813711) | about 2 years ago | (#41449591)

I know spam is annoying and all... but you Canadians should really take a moment and consider how amazingly lucky you are. Consider that in your country, the conservatives are shamelessly pandering to homosexuals, instead of trying to deny them the rights everybody else has, and treating homosexuality as some kind of failing to cure with prayer. Maybe some day people in this country will get emails about how Republican politicians have promoted gay rights abroad. It could be 20 or 30 years, as the kids who are now in college move up into political positions. Then again, given how things have changed rapidly on the gay marriage front, it may not be quite so long.

Re:internet (1, Insightful)

eddy the lip (20794) | about 2 years ago | (#41450435)

As a Canadian, I am glad that we don't have to deal with the same kind of nonsense on this issue as our neighbours to the south.

It should be noted, though, that this isn't out of any ethical conviction on the part of the Conservatives. After the last Liberal government passed the Civil Marriage Act in 2005, the Harper Conservatives campaigned on a promise to re-open the debate and hold a free vote (where members of parliament would be allowed to vote their conscience rather than along party lines). After they won a minority government, they introduced a motion to re-open the debate, which was defeated. Polls have been in favour of legalized same-sex marriage for some years. Harper has indicated he has no interest in revisiting the issue.

The cynical among us might say that despite the Conservatives desire to repeal the Civil Marriage Act, they've seen that that's not the way the political winds are blowing, and aren't interested in threatening their position in power.

I suppose one could see this as a victory for democracy, but it's not the kind of victory that gives me a warm, fuzzy feeling.

Re:internet (3, Interesting)

Beardo the Bearded (321478) | about 2 years ago | (#41450985)

I'm also Canadian, and I'd like you to consider this:

The Conservatives (CPC) were never interested in banning gay marriage (or as we call it up here, "marriage") but they were interested in getting the votes from the people who wanted to ban gay marriage. Here's how the vote was done:

The CPC put the motion in, but then did not use the whip or even require attendance at the vote. (For the Americans, the whip means you're forced to vote with the party or you can lose your seat and it's unlikely that you'll be re-elected. It's not a real whip, all the pity.) Anyway, not forcing people to even show up for the vote would mean that the rest of the House of Commons could vote down the motion with ease BUT then those that didn't show up wouldn't have voting for or against the motion on their record. It was a huge "fuck you, you neanderthal thug" to the people that voted for the CPC with the purpose of banning same-sex marriage.

After three more elections (long story Yanks, look it up on wikipedia) they still haven't brought it up even as a backbench motion.

Further, after StatsCan released (several years ago) census data on how few same-sex marriages there are in Canada, several of the lobby groups disbanded. One of the groups was quoted as saying, "After looking at the numbers, we will focus our efforts elsewhere." I think there were more people in the lobby group than there are same-sex marriages.

They're doing the same thing now with these backbencher motions w.r.t. abortion and when life begins. They aren't going to open the debate, they want to get the votes of people that want them to open the debate. It's a "leash" issue, it keeps that part of their base from looking too hard at the rest of the platform. "Well, they want me to wear an orange jumper and get an implant, but they PROMISED they'd get around to looking at gay marriage / abortion / gun control / etc"

Also, fuck you and the horse you rode in on for making me, even obliquely, defend those assholes.

Re:internet (4, Funny)

Sepodati (746220) | about 2 years ago | (#41448401)

How does a targetted email from public info instantly transform into a "government list". You really think there's a secret gay list that your names are on now? Is Santa checking it twice?

I get penis enlargment emails all the time. I don't wonder "How did he know I have a small dick?"

Re:internet (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41448497)

You do understand what 'targeted email' means, right?

Re:internet (1)

Sepodati (746220) | about 2 years ago | (#41448993)

Yes, but even "targetted" is a stretch here. It was sent to people that previously participated in an online petition.

Re:internet (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41448673)

Did you get the email?

How many people who were not gay got the same email? If it was none, then yes it is disturbing.

Re:internet (1)

Sepodati (746220) | about 2 years ago | (#41449071)

I did not get the email and I didn't see any links to a copy of it. Doesn't matter if you were gay or not when you received it, though. The letter didn't start off with "We, the Government, have noticed you're gay..." People who received the email previously indicated a support of gay-rights on an online partition, so Joe Bob politician or one of his lackeys assumed you'd be interested in more pro-gay stuff. This is spam, not a secret government list of the gays.

Although, a list of gays could be handy. Do you know what the queers are doing to our soil?

Re:internet (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41449147)

Although, a list of gays could be handy. Do you know what the queers are doing to our soil?

Having buttsecks with our soil and giving it AIDS?

Re:internet (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41449313)

Although, a list of gays could be handy. Do you know what the queers are doing to our soil?

Making it look fabulous?

You're welcome, sweetie ;)

Re:internet (1)

Penguinisto (415985) | about 2 years ago | (#41449619)

You're not like the other people, here, in the trailer park...

(...never thought I'd see someone quote The Dead Milkmen on /. Rather refreshing to see :) )

Re:internet (1)

eddy the lip (20794) | about 2 years ago | (#41450479)

What?! Where? I was too busy smoking banana peels to notice.

Re:internet (2)

Beardo the Bearded (321478) | about 2 years ago | (#41451001)

Although, a list of gays could be handy. Do you know what the queers are doing to our soil?

They're working with the aliens to build a spaceport for gay Martians?

Re:internet (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41448825)

Right, there probably wasn't a government list. I'm not familiar with Canadian retailers, so I will use examples of US sellers. This minister could have simply purchased a list of gay folks from a company like Target or Wal-Mart. Apparently Target knows most everything about people and can sometimes know women are pregnant before the woman does. I'm sure they also have profiles and list for gay, lesbian, and many more that could be available for purchase.

Re:internet (1)

jellomizer (103300) | about 2 years ago | (#41448471)

Oh NO! The government is trying to figure out the numbers in demographics, so it can help form policy.

We really need more data.

For example, are a particular groups of people located in a particular area where they can be better served with State or City services, vs the large overhead of a Feds. Or perhaps this group is distributed uniformly across the country and needs Federal Mandate to serve them.

What part of that 48 percent that doesn't pay taxes are actually low life free loaders, and what percentage are people really trying to make a difference in the world.

Do we even bother measuring if a polity that is in place is working or not? Do we bother setting a metric of saying a policy is considered a success if it reaches this goal vs not.

Re:internet (4, Insightful)

Nerdfest (867930) | about 2 years ago | (#41448535)

There's a big difference between targeting demographics and specific people.

Re:internet (1)

interval1066 (668936) | about 2 years ago | (#41449401)

Yeah? What is it? Help me understand the huge scandal here.

Re:internet (1)

Penguinisto (415985) | about 2 years ago | (#41449695)

Demographics would be swaths of folks based on generalities like age, income, or (at most) gender. It gets dangerous when you start compiling lists of folks based on characteristics that can be actively discriminated against by future governments (e.g. LGBT, conservative/progressive, Jewish/Muslim/Catholic, hispanic/black/white/whatever, etc.)

Re:internet (1)

interval1066 (668936) | about 2 years ago | (#41450287)

I guess its me, but I'm just not bothered by a guy looking for targeted votes. Yes, I suppose the government machine he works in could grab the list. But a guy looking for gay votes? Old votes? Asian votes, diabled, veterens, obtuse people, oblong peole... Not so much.

Re:internet (1)

Dr Caleb (121505) | about 2 years ago | (#41450473)

In Canada, none of that information is recorded on the voters lists, and no statistics are kept with respect to sexual orientation. A prominent member of the LGBT community recieved this email, and said on the radio this morning that she never emails government, nor participates in online petitions.

Now does it bother you?

Re:internet (2)

realityimpaired (1668397) | about 2 years ago | (#41450677)

I didn't receive it... and I am a fairly prominent member of the LGBT community here in Ottawa, having been interviewed on the subject a couple of times by CBC's The Current, and also having worked with some government departments to help develop their sensitivity training (most recently, Corrections Canada's transgender awareness/rights program). I'm also personal friends with a few members of parliament, one of whom is a Conservative... I also write to my MP, Gordon O'Connor, on a regular basis, and have told him point blank, to his face, that I would never vote for him because of his record on queer rights. You'd think I would be pretty high on their list of people to target for this kind of communication....

Still bothered?

It's bad form for them to send out this kind of mailing... especially considering that direct mailings aren't strictly allowed (or at least, not to be billed to the taxpayer), unless it's non-propaganda, and only being sent to his direct constituents....

Re:internet (2, Insightful)

causality (777677) | about 2 years ago | (#41449045)

Oh NO! The government is trying to figure out the numbers in demographics, so it can help form policy.

Is there a reason you cannot form policy by treating all people equally, without prying into what they do behind closed doors?

For example, are a particular groups of people located in a particular area where they can be better served with State or City services, vs the large overhead of a Feds.

In the long run, all people are better served when federal resources are used only when that's the only way to get the job done. For example, only the federal government can fight a foreign war. Yes I realize that big tax purse held by the feds can look mighty tempting, but you wind up creating a monster in the long term (just look at the current US government versus what the Founders had in mind).

What part of that 48 percent that doesn't pay taxes are actually low life free loaders, and what percentage are people really trying to make a difference in the world.

Everyone should pay *something*, even if it's two cents a year. Since so many have been programmed to think in terms of class warfare, let me note here and now that I am not rich, not by any stretch of the word. I'm not waxing my yacht; I'm trying to make ends meet. Yes, I should pay something, even if it's just a token gesture.

The problem is when the percentage who pay no taxes exceeds 50%, they become a tyranny to the minority who do and the result is the decline and destruction of the nation. The situation can be exploited to attain easy victories in elections. That's what class warfare is all about. That's why politicians do it. They pour that much energy and spend that much time talking about something not to help you and me, but to get elected again.

Do we even bother measuring if a polity that is in place is working or not? Do we bother setting a metric of saying a policy is considered a success if it reaches this goal vs not.

Apparently not. We still have a War on (some) Drugs that clearly isn't working, has never worked, is not going to work. Do you really believe the main problem is that we haven't yet found out how many of the drug dealers are gay? Do you think that will make a failed idea suddenly start working? The War on (some) Drugs is a failure to understand human nature, not some demographic.

The Canadian politicians are merely watching how US politicians get elected again and again by rabble-rousing tactics like class warfare when it comes to income disparities, and old-fashioned divide-and-conquer when it comes to ethnic, religious and racial minorities. They too would like something that gets them elected again and again while drowning out with noise many legitimate criticisms against them.

Re:internet (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41449865)

Everyone should pay *something*, even if it's two cents a year. Since so many have been programmed to think in terms of class warfare, let me note here and now that I am not rich, not by any stretch of the word. I'm not waxing my yacht; I'm trying to make ends meet. Yes, I should pay something, even if it's just a token gesture.

Why? Why should our tax policy involve "token gestures"? What would be the point? Most of the people who don't pay income taxes already pay payroll (Social Security and Medicare) taxes, while some of the remaining are the elderly and people serving in combat. And then, why should the people who make less than $20k pay some token tax? What would be the point, if the government is giving them more in assistance, beyond some extra (wasteful) accounting?

Re:internet (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41449927)

I am a member of the 47%. You better ****ing believe I pay taxes! I pay payroll tax, sales tax, insane property tax (Texas), etc. I make abt 37k/yr supporting a family of 5, so sure, I pay a smaller percentage of my income in payroll/income taxes, but when you figure I spend 80%+ of my after-payroll, etc-tax money (sales tax is nearly 9%), I probably pay a larger percentage in taxes than Mitt, et al.
 
You know who else I know that is a 47%'er? My 94 year old grandmother. She lives off her Social Security that my grandfather spent a lifetime paying into.
 
It's crap like that BS statistic that is proof that the Romney campaign is completely out of touch.

Re:internet (2)

jellomizer (103300) | about 2 years ago | (#41450193)

You miss the point. There is a good portion of those 47% who had paid their dues, or deserve it. However there is a percentage who doesn't. The stereotypical I am gonna have more babies so my welfare check is bigger. But we don't have real numbers.

Are the "Bad People" 50% of that 47% where it shows that welfare system isn't working, but giving incentives to be less productive member of society. Or is it less than 1% showing that welfare is a safety net to help get people out of the absolute bottom, and the current increase is due to other factors causing productive people to be poorer.

We need to measure this, and get details. Because right now we are making assumptions on a summary. Not really looking at what is going on.

Re:internet (0)

Hatta (162192) | about 2 years ago | (#41450031)

The problem is when the percentage who pay no taxes exceeds 50%, they become a tyranny to the minority who do

Oh, those poor oppressed rich people. Don't they benefit enough from the political and economic structure that enables them to earn vastly more than the average honest hard working laborer?

If you want people to pay taxes, pay them enough so that they can pay taxes without taking food from their mouths. If you object to class warfare, stop the rich from waging class warfare on the rest of us.

Let's compromise. Everyone should pay taxes. We'll have the poor pay a "token" gesture, while the rich can go back to the 92% tax rate they had under Eisenhower and FDR.

Re:internet (1)

eddy the lip (20794) | about 2 years ago | (#41450501)

Oh NO! The government is trying to figure out the numbers in demographics, so it can help form policy.

'Twould be nice, but they killed the long form census.

This is more likely based on opinion polling.

Re:internet (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41448473)

Damnit! I knew I shouldn't have bought my subscription to "His First Big Cock" on a computer in a public library. Fucking snooping assholes!

Yes, we can. (2, Insightful)

mevets (322601) | about 2 years ago | (#41448291)

Our current government is peculiarly amoral. Fuelled by a fundamentalist background, if it is not written down (ie. law), then there is nothing wrong with it. Even when it is written down, if it is for the greater glory, it gets an exception.

These lists will come in handy when phase II of their minority targetting comes to pass.

harper = opis dey (0, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41448341)

ya know that religion that likes ot beat little kids and was called a cult buy the catholics till the current pope changed his mind ( guess cause they cant molest lil kids why not beat them )

Re:Yes, we can. (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41448433)

Why is this flamebait? It's actually even worse. According to the Harper government, if it's written in constitutional law, there must be something wrong with it. I don't think they've passed a single bill that hasn't been shot down by the supreme court for being unconstitutional. All the current debates also fall into this. They will waste months of debate to try to pass laws that the courts will simply say no to.

Re:Yes, we can. (1)

mevets (322601) | about 2 years ago | (#41448585)

It is flamebait because it is critical of the reform party. What else could it be?

Re:Yes, we can. (2)

daem0n1x (748565) | about 2 years ago | (#41449359)

What happened over there in Canada? I mean, you actually voted for this scum. Were you bored of having one of the best standards of living in the world?

Re:Yes, we can. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41449811)

"Voted for" is such a subjective term. A minority of the actual population voted for them, and yet this translated into a majority in the House. Add in the stink of the robo-call scandal, and it begins to rankle the majority of the population.

Please stand by while we attempt to correct the problem...

Re:Yes, we can. (1)

daem0n1x (748565) | about 2 years ago | (#41450331)

Please stand by while we attempt to correct the problem...

You better do it. I'm Portuguese, I need some escaping routes ;-) Canada was on one of the top items in my list until some time ago when I noticed what was going on there.

Still, I believe you'll be able to fix it there before we do it here...

Re:Yes, we can. (2)

citylivin (1250770) | about 2 years ago | (#41450197)

Many feel that the election was stolen due to illegal robocalls by conservatives. But yes, it is a point of national shame that even 40% of the country voted for these sickos. Especially after they were judged in contempt of parliament and should rightly be in jail. The main problem is that the canadian economy never collapsed as the american one did. Housing in vancouver and toronto is still in a bubble. The economy is hanging by a string basically and all it will take is most likely one moderate jar to send it under. But as of now, the conservatives have propped things up and sold stuff off to foreign interests in order to keep us from sliding under. They cannot continue that forever and then their reign will end, same as bush.

Sick Stoddart on him! (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41448299)

Looks like it's time for Privacy Commissioner Stoddart to investigate the Con's! It's a bit like putting Capone away for tax evasion, but I'll take what I can get, if it hastens the demise of Harper's quisling government.

Hello Slashdort (-1, Flamebait)

For a Free Internet (1594621) | about 2 years ago | (#41448305)

I am writing to you, the Slashdort community, because I know that we share a deep appreciation for the awesomeness of the visionary founder-leader-president-for-life of the Campaign for a Free Internet, our spiritual and political and erotic guide in all things, Laura. Please send me one U.S. Dollar ($1). Thank you and victory to Communism, Joe

Stop sneaking that in. (0)

thePowerOfGrayskull (905905) | about 2 years ago | (#41448323)

Seriously, stop trying to sneak in how unfair it is that social sites have a real name policy. If you don't like them, don't use them - it's pretty easy.

Re:Stop sneaking that in. (2)

camperdave (969942) | about 2 years ago | (#41449453)

If you don't like them, don't use them - it's pretty easy.

That's easy to say, but hard to do. More and more sites are using social media sites as their login credentials. It's getting harder to not use them.

Re:Stop sneaking that in. (1)

spire3661 (1038968) | about 2 years ago | (#41450583)

If a site is asking for your social site login credentials its a good sign you shouldnt do business with them. If they cant at least offer you a chance to make up your own credentials, they have no business operating globally.

"How did he know I'm gay?" (1)

K. S. Kyosuke (729550) | about 2 years ago | (#41448327)

They probably hired the same guy who some time ago devised the criteria for how to find out that an on-line user is pregnant. :-)

Re:"How did he know I'm gay?" (3, Insightful)

garcia (6573) | about 2 years ago | (#41448349)

But that was via assembling data people chose to submit to Target through their purchases. This is the government assembling data that their citizens probably didn't want to submit.

Remember, you have a choice not to support private business intrusion, you don't have a choice not to support government intrusion.

Re:"How did he know I'm gay?" (1)

crontabminusell (995652) | about 2 years ago | (#41448517)

Remember, you have a choice not to support private business intrusion, you don't have a choice not to support government intrusion.

Sure you have a choice whether you support government intrusion or not. The penalties might just be a bit harsher if you choose not to. But you always have a choice.

Re:"How did he know I'm gay?" (2)

fustakrakich (1673220) | about 2 years ago | (#41449159)

you don't have a choice not to support government intrusion.

That's bull. You can vote out the intruders and they have to leave. A business can keep on intruding as long as it can afford to.

Re:"How did he know I'm gay?" (1)

garcia (6573) | about 2 years ago | (#41449757)

That's bull. You can vote out the intruders and they have to leave. A business can keep on intruding as long as it can afford to.

Not necessarily. Politicians are voted in, staff are not and many times staff are the ones who have direct access to your data, not the politicians themselves.

you torrented gay pron LOL (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41448365)

you torrented gay pron LOL
they are hollywood buddies so they just using that on you now

Re:"How did he know I'm gay?" (1)

MarkGriz (520778) | about 2 years ago | (#41448409)

Or maybe they bought the data from TiVo

Re:"How did he know I'm gay?" (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41448437)

How does he know you're gay?

Well:

:-)

The big happy face is a sign!

Why, see a definition of "gay": [reference.com]

having or showing a merry, lively mood: gay spirits; gay music. Synonyms: cheerful, gleeful, happy, glad, cheery, lighthearted, joyous, joyful, jovial; sunny, lively, vivacious, sparkling; chipper, playful, jaunty, sprightly, blithe.

He's just looking for happy people, give him a break!

And as far as the other defintions, well, the happy homosexuals are called gay. The sad ones are just called homosexuals.

sad but true.

Re:"How did he know I'm gay?" (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41448795)

As a chicken and turkey husbandry enthusiast, I really hate how the gays have ruined the phrase cockgobbler for the rest of us!

Re:"How did he know I'm gay?" (1)

Patrick Bowman (1307087) | about 2 years ago | (#41449141)

Not to mention "animal husbandry".

Re:"How did he know I'm gay?" (1)

angelbar (1823238) | about 2 years ago | (#41448873)

"Sad but true" Please don't be sad.....!!

Re:"How did he know I'm gay?" (1)

neminem (561346) | about 2 years ago | (#41449357)

In other news, "The Happy Homosexuals" would be a great name for a glamrock band.

So... (4, Insightful)

Sqr(twg) (2126054) | about 2 years ago | (#41448333)

People sent email to the minister of immigration telling him they were interested in gay rights. The minister took note, and then wrote back to tell them about the work he's doing to promote gay rights. Is this not how democracy is supposed to work? Should he ignore his incomming email in order to protect the sender's privacy?

Re:So... (4, Interesting)

vlm (69642) | about 2 years ago | (#41448387)

People sent email to the minister of immigration

The funny part is the attempt to cover up "real" data mining. Eh, data mining, don't worry about it, it just means collecting a mailing list.

Its all to cover up real data mining... mushing your private gmail emailing patterns against your amazon purchases combined with a detailed analysis of every other website you've ever visited and all your facebook friends.

I wouldn't worry about a guy creating or purchasing an email list. I'd worry about trivializing 1984 style surveillance by calling that action "data mining".

Re:So... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41448647)

Privacy is a solitary sport. There is no such thing as privacy between two or more parties. The "1984 style surveillance" you mention is the result of doing business. Information about business transactions, unless explicitly stated otherwise, can be sold or given away by any party involved in the transaction.

1984 was a dull read and a shitty movie. It was not prophetic, but one man's view of 1948 society.

Re:So... (2)

ToadProphet (1148333) | about 2 years ago | (#41448525)

Actually, no:

Green says she never communicated with Kenney's office. However, she did sign what she believed was an online petition about a refugee claimant who was about to be deported.

Source [www.cbc.ca]

Re:So... (4, Interesting)

Sqr(twg) (2126054) | about 2 years ago | (#41448677)

Actually yes:

  From TFA: "Whenever someone “signed” the petition, the site automatically sent a form letter by email to Kenney’s office with the signatory’s reply email address."

So Kenney only sent out email to addresses from which he had previously received email on the same theme. If change.org did not inform the people signing the petition that they were sending out email their behalf, then that's hardly Kenney's fault.

Re:So... (4, Insightful)

ToadProphet (1148333) | about 2 years ago | (#41448885)

There's a big difference between addressing a specific concern in a constituents correspondence and compiling a list of constituents sexual preferences to use for communication/propaganda/whatever. I've signed petitions regarding copyright reform - that doesn't give the government the right to put me on a list of potential pirates.

Re:So... (3, Interesting)

Sqr(twg) (2126054) | about 2 years ago | (#41449425)

Nobody compiled a list of sexual preferences. The mailing list in question contained people who had expressed concerns about gay refugees' rights. Those people then received an email concerning gay refugees' rights. Some of the people on that list may have been gay, refugees, or both, but the email did not imply that they were.

Also: You have signed petitions to the goverment stating your opinion, but you don't want the government to note your opinion? Then, why the hell did you sign the petition?

Re:So... (1)

ToadProphet (1148333) | about 2 years ago | (#41449889)

Also: You have signed petitions to the goverment stating your opinion, but you don't want the government to note your opinion?

You do understand the difference between an official addressing a specific correspondence and compiling a list of people who are interested in X, right?

In Canada we have the Privacy Act which states very specifically what the government may or may not compile lists on. The government may not compile any list of my interests/preferences/etc, for good reason. In this case if a government official is keeping a list of 'those with concerns about gay refugees' rights' it is in violation of the Privacy Act.

Re:So... (1)

Sqr(twg) (2126054) | about 2 years ago | (#41450187)

You do understand the difference between an official addressing a specific correspondence and compiling a list of people who are interested in X, right?

Actually, no. The distinction between "correspondence" and "a list" may have been clear once upon a time, when everything was on paper. But in a digital world, processing an entire email archive can be done in seconds, so there's little practical difference between "keeping your correspondence" and "keeping a list".

Or are you saying that Canadian officials are required to delete their incomming emails whenever they state personal interests/preferences/etc ?

Re:So... (1)

ToadProphet (1148333) | about 2 years ago | (#41450393)

No, Canadian officials are by law only allowed to use constituents correspondence to address that specific correspondence, unless the constituent agrees otherwise. That's covered in the Privacy Act, and on the surface it appears that this MP violated it.

This has nothing to do with retention of emails, and I do understand how easy it is for anyone to compile a list of individuals who emailed on a specific topic. The point is they aren't allowed to keep lists of people interests/preferences/etc. There was a recent controversy along the same lines - the CPC was keeping a list of individuals voting intentions and it may have been used to target folks in the robocall scandal.

Re:So... (2)

Comboman (895500) | about 2 years ago | (#41449467)

It's not a list of constituents sexual preferences, it's a list of constituents who have expressed an interest in LGBT immigration issues in the past, which the Immigration Minister used to inform those constituents about a current LGBT immigration issue. If you think that everyone concerned about LGBT issues is gay, then maybe you're the one with the problem.

Is this really "the government?" (3, Insightful)

martas (1439879) | about 2 years ago | (#41448343)

This seems more akin to targeted advertising by private entities than "the government assembling lists". They're don't seem to be doing it in any official capacity, but rather as a tactic for promoting their party. Not that I'm saying it's not creepy or a cause for concern! But the implication that this is akin to something the NSA might be doing is, I think, out of place.

Irony lost (1)

brass1 (30288) | about 2 years ago | (#41448383)

It's especially ironic that you'd take to the Internet to complain about this. You're more concerned about government using demographic data to target messaging, than google (or, erm, Dice)? One on these is accountable to voters, and the other is a private business.

Nothing new (2)

dskoll (99328) | about 2 years ago | (#41448389)

Political parties of all kinds have been targeting specific groups for years. This is nothing new. What is new is that the Canadian Conservative party has a really kick-ass CRM system that lets them do this kind of targeting very efficiently.

Much ado about nothing (3, Informative)

crazyjj (2598719) | about 2 years ago | (#41448397)

Apparently, this was the source of the email list:

nearly 10,000 people who electronically signed a 2011 online petition supporting a gay artist from Nicaragua, who was then facing deportation.

I think it's perfectly reasonable to assume that those opposing the deportation of a gay artist would also be supporters of gay rights in general (though not necessarily gay themselves).

Re:Much ado about nothing (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41448483)

Sure, but that doesn't mean that people opposing the deportation of a gay artist would also support the government harvesting information from petitions for political spam.

In case you're not sure, that is what the concern is actually about.

Re:Much ado about nothing (1)

ToadProphet (1148333) | about 2 years ago | (#41448581)

Sure, but do you really think it's appropriate for the government to be compiling lists of 'potential X's' based on petitions? Potential drug addicts because they signed a petition to legalize pot, potential pirates because they signed a petition for copyright reform, potential child molesters because...

Governments aren't supposed keep lists of peoples habits or preferences, and for good reason. Those lists can easily be abused or compromised.

Re:Much ado about nothing (2)

beaverdownunder (1822050) | about 2 years ago | (#41448729)

The point of signing a petition is that you're willing to go on the public record with a position. Don't want to be on the public record with that position? Don't sign the petition!

If petitions were anonymous, they'd carry _very_ little political weight, and no government would listen to them. They only listen because you're willing to stand up and _be counted_.

Re:Much ado about nothing (1)

ToadProphet (1148333) | about 2 years ago | (#41448843)

Certainly, but it does not mean I I give consent for the state to record me within any demographic and compile a list of individual's sexual orientation. That's the slippery slope here.

Re:Much ado about nothing (1)

Macthorpe (960048) | about 2 years ago | (#41450837)

They're not recording your sexual orientation. They recorded your interest in gay rights, nothing more.

Slippery slopes are a fallacy for a reason.

Re:Much ado about nothing (3, Insightful)

cowboy76Spain (815442) | about 2 years ago | (#41448801)

You are confusing terms.

The GP didn't say that the government assumes the people who signed the petition is gay, he said that the government (or the minister) thinks that the people that signed the petition worrying about a gay immigrant may be interested in the rights of gay immigrants. I think this is a logic process (except for those who signed because they were relatives/friends/admirer of that particular person, and would not care for any other gay immigrant).

The logic for "anyone who promotes legalization of drugs is a drug user" is a far more twisted. It involves making assumptions (like that only "current drug users" would support such a law).

Also, the government didn't compile anything. Probably an association requested the people to sign in and it was that association who did compile the list and gave it to the government. The government just used it.

The only concern about this issue is the government used data available only to them (that is, that no other political party had access to) and public means to publicite their gestion only for electoral reasons(instead of having the government run the country and the party prepare the elections). But that seems the usual conduct everywhere, so it is less of a news.

Re:Much ado about nothing (1)

ToadProphet (1148333) | about 2 years ago | (#41449029)

You are confusing terms.

No, actually I'm not. I'm merely extrapolating the potential for abuse.

Governments should not compile lists of individuals opinions/preferences/etc for good reason - that can, and likely will, be abused. Note that this is different than demographics and certainly not the same as addressing a constituents specific concern by responding to specific correspondence.

Also, the government didn't compile anything. Probably an association requested the people to sign in and it was that association who did compile the list and gave it to the government. The government just used it.

That's a big assumption - the list was likely compiled based on emails directly sent to the MP via a petition.

Baird (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41448425)

How did Kenney know you were gay? He asked John Baird.

The only thing that worries me is (3, Funny)

Chrisq (894406) | about 2 years ago | (#41448465)

The only thing that worries me is, how are Gay Jewish Canadian's supposed to vote?

Re:The only thing that worries me is (1)

alexo (9335) | about 2 years ago | (#41448775)

Same as everybody else.

I truly believe that once the NDP gets to head a minority government (*) for 4 years, both the Libs and the Cons will clean their act faster than you can say "general elections".

(*) No Canadian party (**), present or future, should ever be given a majority government.

(**) That should hold for other nations as well.

Re:The only thing that worries me is (1)

Chrisq (894406) | about 2 years ago | (#41448835)

Same as everybody else.

I truly believe that once the NDP gets to head a minority government (*) for 4 years, both the Libs and the Cons will clean their act faster than you can say "general elections".

(*) No Canadian party (**), present or future, should ever be given a majority government.

(**) That should hold for other nations as well.

I'd have said the same thing in the UK - until I we got the Con-Lib coalition and I saw how fast the liberals would ditch their principles [hurryupharry.org] in order to be given a position of power.

Re:The only thing that worries me is (1)

digitig (1056110) | about 2 years ago | (#41450981)

I don't think you remember quite how bad the Tories were when they didn't have another party to restrain them, even if they can only restrain them a little. That's the point about coalitions and non-majority governments. They still tend to have very much the flavour of the largest party, but at least the other party or parties manage to limit some of the more severe extremes.

Re:The only thing that worries me is (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41449289)

Screw that noise, years of Parliamentary deadlock and how many National elections because the Opposition thought it should wear the Daddy Pants?

You want to see Canada run by the NDP and the Liberals look at how fucked up BC and Ontario are. I don't particularly care for the Conservatives but the alternatives are much, much worse.

Re:The only thing that worries me is (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41450757)

(*) No Canadian party (**), present or future, should ever be given a majority government.

Agreed. I'd prefer any minority government to any majority government.

Re:The only thing that worries me is (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41449329)

The only thing that worries me is, how are Gay Jewish Canadian's supposed to vote?

A gay Jewish Canadian's what? One vote won't go too far.

You know that there's software for this, right? (2, Informative)

samazon (2601193) | about 2 years ago | (#41448495)

Ok, so, I studied PSC and worked for a statewide campaign here in the USA last year. That said, there is very, very specific databasing/tracking software used by the political parties (We used NGP-VAN [ngpvan.com] ) to do this exact thing. We used data from previous Dem campaigns (this was a gubernatorial race; we got the AG, a couple lists from previous governors, and some lists from unsuccessful previous campaigns for various state and local positions) as well as data we collected from cold-calling and anything we found on the internet. Early in the campaign, my role was to track down contact information for our database, as well as any relevant info on where people worked and what their strong political leanings were (Southern Dems are much different from Northern ones). It's easy, especially when it's for calling for contributions.

There are only about 4M people in my state, so there are more competitive mayoral races in large cities. However, when you're dealing with 10M+ people, you have to rely on outsourced data. I get junk email from a bunch of social action campaigns because of petitions I've signed. I emailed all my state reps over a couple issues. So they know who I am. They also know who you are if you have been politically active online at all.

This is not an inherently bad thing. Expecting privacy on the internet, expecting your actions not to have unforeseen consequences, is the mark of a person who doesn't understand how the world, and the web, and people in general, work. Just for funsies, go request a dump of your Facebook ad topic data.

Oh, you Americans (0)

fa2k (881632) | about 2 years ago | (#41448565)

They are using public information. How is this different from marketing companies doing the same targeting? If it's really the government who are paying for the tracking, you could complain about them wasting you tax dollars. Instead it seems that as soon as the government does something it's scary, even if it's legal and frequently done by private companies. (the real problem with government is when they legislate tracking that you can't get away from, such as the story about the EU "Clean IP" law)

Re:Oh, you Americans (1)

bmo (77928) | about 2 years ago | (#41448851)

> How is this different from marketing companies doing the same targeting?

Because companies typically don't have standing armies and police powers.

Hope this helps.

--
BMO

Much simpler. (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41448693)

They have voting records. Anyone who voted for Harper is a gigantic faggot.

I know who really did it. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41448753)

It was Pierre Poutine with help from his Facebook [wikipedia.org] account.

Its sleezy when companies do it. (1)

StillNeedMoreCoffee (123989) | about 2 years ago | (#41449177)

But when governments make the lists, you know the ones that have power to put you in prison or deny you accesses to services or locations or permits or can tax you, to gets creepy. We have seen targeted political action before and we still have a collective nightmare over it. Lets stop that and have governements blind to things like race, creed, sexual orientation..

Lame TFA (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41449259)

First of all, neither of the articles posts the letter itself. I infer it's about civil rights (and happens to relate specifically to gay peoples' rights) rather than "isn't it fun to have buttsex?" or something like that, but then people say their reaction was "How did hew know I'm gay?" which implies it really was about gayness itself, rather than government policies about how people should be treated.

Furthermore, later in TFA some people refer to the letter as propaganda, and the "People from our community are not voting Conservative" part made me wonder if it was an election campaign letter.

It's all so ambiguous. The letter would have cleared it up. Lame TFA. In this situation it almost seems like deliberate obfuscation to not quote the letter itself.

Secondly, people admit they publicly petitioned the government on some rights issues. People told the entire world that they give a shit about government's relation to people. How is it disturbing that someone -- whether it's the government or someone private who uses government records -- is using that to market to the fraction of citizenry who is interested in civil rights issues?

So many closeted gays (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41449267)

How does anyone know they're a 'minority'?

Inefficient (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41449381)

How inefficient. What percentage of the intended (online) audience did he reach? 10%? 20%? Instead of just looking at his own e-mails, he should have asked Vic, because we #TellVicEverything [www.cbc.ca] !.

Who cares? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41449395)

This is news for Slashdot? More political dribble. I for one am glad I didn't get the email and glad they chose targetted emails to do it because I could care less about the issue

Nothing new (1)

pod (1103) | about 2 years ago | (#41449561)

Something to think about next time you fill out an online survey or petition that collects your email address. Read the fine print much?

You want to know how he knew? (2)

Type44Q (1233630) | about 2 years ago | (#41450127)

How did he know I'm gay?

I'll tell you how he knew: his gadar [gadarsportswear.com] is suspiciously accurate for a conservative... :p

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