Sunday, July 24, 2011

On primary purposes

Yes, it's striking enough that multiple parties' MPs went out of their way to destroy information about constituent requests to make it harder for new NDP MPs to do their job. But it's particularly worth comparing the Cons' treatment of constituents' personal information when it's being used for its intended purpose with their philosophy when they can manipulate it for political gain.

Here's the supposed explanation for those who did choose to destroy constituents' personal information:
A spokeswoman for Verner said in an email that the constituency documents contained "confidential and sensitive information" and that staff were simply following official guidelines on how to close a riding office by destroying the paperwork.

Jessica McLean said Verner, who now sits as a senator, was not available for an interview. Her office had no comment about the alleged filing-cabinet message.
In contrast, it's not news that the information given to the likes of Verner by constituents seeking a Con MP's assistance has been handed over to the Cons' party database for years, and preserved there for political use - presumably long after an MP leaves office:
CIMS is used not only to track voter allegiance in a given riding -- something every political party attempts -- but also a host of other data gathered in the course of an MP's constituency office duties.

"Any time a constituent is engaged with the member of Parliament, they get zapped into the database," Turner said in an interview. "It's unethical and it's a shocking misuse of data.

"Because once you cotton on to what's going on here, it's not good constituency work at all to allow that data to fall into any kind of hands. But the party is desperate to get more and more data in there because the primary use is fundraising. The secondary use is voter tracking to get out the vote."
So when it comes to actually handing "confidential and personal information" to a party whose goal is to misuse it, the Cons don't see the slightest problem. Instead, it's only when a new MP might be able to assist a constituent that they suddenly think it's their right - nay, duty - to destroy every piece of information which might help in that task.

Which speaks volumes not only about how fabricated the Cons' privacy concerns are, but also about what the Cons consider their actual job to be.

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