To: Local state legislatures, The United States House of Representatives, and The United States Senate
We demand data rights in the United States
We the People, especially registered voters in the United States, demand that lawmakers in statehouses and Congress grant us data rights. More than the vague term of "privacy" we demand at least equal data protection rights as our friends and allies in the European Union who enjoy democracies protected by the GDPR. Data rights are fundamental rights, civil rights, and human rights. In the 21st century in the age of Big Tech these matter more with each passing day.
Why is this important?
We learned a crucial lesson after 2016, that US voter data was processed abroad by a defense contractor based in the United Kingdom. The British authorities declared that had Cambridge Analytica not abruptly ceased operations, it would have been fined and prosecuted for committing mass data abuse under UK law which prohibits political profiling without consent and data rights.
We reject the notion that it is acceptable for campaigns to employ international vendors. We further reject the notion that it is appropriate for entities that also contract with militaries should be able to also work on political campaigns. This did not happen before 2016 and it should never happen again.
We demand the right to know about our data, who is collecting it, how it is being processed, used, and shared. We demand to know if it includes inferences made about us and it attempts to predict our behaviors and beliefs. All corporations, organizations, political parties and campaigns must be required to disclose our data to us when we request it. There must be criminal penalties for corporate officers who refuse to comply with disclosure orders. Companies must not be able to use bankruptcy law to evade accountability for data crimes.
We demand the right to refuse that our data be collected, processed, and stored. We must not be penalized for taking our data back from those that seek to harvest it. Data privacy cannot become a new luxury for only those that can afford it.
We demand that lawmakers stand up to the powerful lobbies that aggressively work to weaken laws that seek to protect and limit the use of data. We demand that the industry lobby stand down and let us be granted true data rights. Industries that profit from our data owe it to our democracy that sustains their businesses. It is time for them to allow their business models to be disrupted by the necessity to grant all residents of the USA the essential data rights to sustain election integrity.
All 200 million registered voters in the US were victims of mass data abuse that was used to weaponize political media against individual voters without their knowledge or consent. We must confront the new powers of political technology and algorithmic social media to diminish the integrity of free and fair elections. The same tools used to sell ski vacations and skin creams are being used to let candidates chose their voters while finding other voters than can be dissuaded from voting. Disinformation can be untraceable because tech platforms and advertising networks grant maximum privacy to advertisers and minimal privacy to voters. Democracy is not assured without fundamental data rights.