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Doubts Raised Over Privacy Policies In Both 'No' Campaign Apps

By Jen

May 23, 2018 at 9:37am


Privacy questions have arisen for Ireland's anti-abortion campaigns after it was revealed that personal info can be shared with conservative and religious groups including America's gun lobby, the NRA.

The guys over at Buzzfeed have completed an in-depth analysis of the two apps for the Save the 8th and Love Both project groups who are leading the 'No' campaign for the upcoming referendum on the eighth amendment which found that a privacy clause allows the apps to share Irish user data with groups outside of Ireland.

What is the function of the apps?

Both groups encourage the app users to digitally organise their networks to oppose and vote against repeal by sharing campaign material through various platforms.

The two apps were created by the same American based company, Political Social Media LLC, which specialises in campaign tools for anti-abortion, conservative and religious groups.

The hosting platforms for both apps, uCampaign and Jarbik are also registered to Political Social Media LLC.

The two apps have similar terms of service where BuzzFeed reveals that users have to agree to their personal data being shared with any other campaign groups and clients the company chooses.

Privacy Policy on both apps

According to the privacy policies available on the iTunes store, both apps share personal info with third-party campaigns selected by users from within the two anti-abortion apps.

In addition to this, they "may share your personal information with other organizations, groups, causes, campaigns, political organisations, and our clients that we believe have similar viewpoints, principles or objectives as us".

What kind of permissions are requested?

Users hand over their contacts in order to perform basic functions within the apps like sharing campaign material over email, text message or social media. In-app points are awarded for sharing the campaign info through these platforms.

(Info that can be shared includes: name, phone number, address, email, geolocation information, image, and gender.)

Users are told they must accept the privacy policies before they can use the either platform.

 Web links to the policies remain within the apps once downloaded.

However, if users follow those links contained within the apps they are brought to different web pages to those linked from the iTunes store.

Some of the differences include omitted paragraphs like one on sharing data with "aligned organisations.

Which groups can your data be shared with?

Agreeing to these terms and conditions means that user data can be shared with previous clients such as the Trump presidential campaign, the Republican National Committee, the NRA (National Rifle Association) and the Susan B. Anthony List, a major anti-abortion group as well as between the two Irish anti-abortion groups.

In the UK, the apps have permission to share the data with the Conservative Party and the main pro-Brexit camapign, Vote Leave.

A privacy expert told Buzzfeed that "both apps also contain analytics tracking code that can impact on user privacy" including the ability to access contacts, location and calendar.

This comes after the Facebook controversy where it was discovered 45,000 Irish Facebook users may have had their personal details shared with Cambridge Analytica.

The owner of Political Science did not respond to Buzzfeed requests for comments and both Save the 8th and the Love Both project have said their campaigns are not connected.

Do you have the apps on your phone? Were you aware your info was being shared? Let us know in the comments

READ NEXT: WATCH: A Host Of Irish Comedians Star In This Genuinely Hilarious Video Ahead Of The Referendum


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