How to protect individual privacy and prevent private corporations from buying the next elections?
Following the decision of the Israeli Privacy Protection Authority to open an investigation with regards to the Cambridge Analytica scandal, Dr. Tehilla Shwartz Altshuler, Senior Research Fellow at IDI, outlines the steps that must be taken by the State to protect individual privacy and to prevent private corporations from buying the next elections:
Election Propaganda: Candidates and political parties should be prohibited from contracting companies that possess the technology to mine and measure people's personality traits, and tailor political messages to them accordingly. Such contracts and individually tailored, emotionally targeted “election propaganda” must be made transparent by law. Unless such measures are taken, private corporations will be able to "buy" the next election.
The State should re-enact the Protection of Privacy Law: and define what internal (e.g. a privacy supervisor) and external regulators (e.g. State Comptroller), companies dealing with personal data must employ.
Government authorities should be required to obtain legal authorization to make use of private information when using Big Data tools.
Furthermore, the Privacy Protection Law in Israel which hasn’t been updated in 30 years should be reformed and made more suitable to the new challenges of the new digital reality.
Cooperation between government authorities and private entities: Transferring personal information from private entities to government agencies must be forbidden without explicit authorization. Even if Facebook has the tools to identify users with suicidal tendencies, it does not directly follow that private information of this kind should be passed on to the government without establishing due process.