Analysis: Data has its uses in politics but there are also many dangers

As we look poised to follow the US and Britain in the use of data to target voters, now is the time to set the boundaries on what is politically acceptable

Using basic electoral register data, some political parties around the world have begun to construct voter files, supplementing publicly available electoral data from various sources

The news this week that Ireland’s biggest political parties, Fianna Fáil, Fine Gael, Sinn Féin and the Green Party, deceived constituents on their own doorsteps illustrates just how far they were willing to go in order to collect our data.

And while the amateur practice of impersonating pollsters has supposedly been discontinued, that is not to say more sophisticated pathways are now taking their place.

With Ireland’s first known voter database established this year, Sinn ...