Main Article Content
This paper surveys the various voter surveillance practices recently observed in the United States, assesses the extent to which they have been adopted in other democratic countries, and discusses the broad implications for privacy and democracy. Four broad trends are discussed: the move from voter management databases to integrated voter management platforms; the shift from mass-messaging to micro-targeting employing personal data from commercial data brokerage firms; the analysis of social media and the social graph; and the decentralization of data to local campaigns through mobile applications. The de-alignment of the electorate in most Western societies has placed pressures on parties to target voters outside their traditional bases, and to find new, cheaper, and potentially more intrusive, ways to influence their political behavior. This paper builds on previous research to consider the theoretical tensions between concerns for excessive surveillance, and the broad democratic responsibility of parties to mobilize voters and increase political engagement. These issues have been insufficiently studied in the surveillance literature. They are not just confined to the privacy of the individual voter, but relate to broader dynamics in democratic politics.
Surveillance & Society uses a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 4.0 License.
- The author. The author licenses the article to the Surveillance Studies Network (SSN) for inclusion in Surveillance & Society (S&S), right of first publication. The copyright to the article remains with the author and any subsequent commercial reuse must be agreed by both parties.
- Non-commercial Users. SSN authorises all persons to use material published in S&S in any manner that is not primarily intended for or directed to commerical advantage or private monetary compensation, also provided that it is not modified and retains all attribution notices.
- Commercial Users. SSN retains the right to benefit from commerical reuse, in each specific case subject to the agreement of the author, and payment to SSN of a standard per-page fee (set by a vote of the Network and Editorial Board) by the Commercial User.
- Surveillance & Society supports open access archives and the free distribution of the results of academic work. Authors are encouraged to place copies of the final published version of their article in their university and / or other open access archives. We only ask that you make sure to include a link to the original published version on the Surveillance & Society website.