Big Data, Political Campaigning and the Law: Democracy and Privacy in the Age of Micro-Targeting, 1st Edition (Hardback) book cover

Big Data, Political Campaigning and the Law

Democracy and Privacy in the Age of Micro-Targeting, 1st Edition

Edited by Normann Witzleb, Moira Paterson, Janice Richardson


264 pages

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Hardback: 9780367230548
pub: 2019-12-26
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In this multidisciplinary book, experts from around the globe examine how data-driven political campaigning works, what challenges it poses for personal privacy and democracy, and how emerging practices should be regulated.


The rise of big data analytics in the political process has triggered official investigations in many countries around the world, and become the subject of broad and intense debate. Political parties increasingly rely on data analytics to profile the electorate and to target specific voter groups with individualised messages based on their demographic attributes. Political micro-targeting has become a major factor in modern campaigning, because of its potential to influence opinions, to mobilise supporters and to get out votes. The book explores the legal, philosophical and political dimensions of big data analytics in the electoral process. It demonstrates that the unregulated use of big personal data for political purposes not only infringes voters’ privacy rights, but also has the potential to jeopardise the future of the democratic process, and proposes reforms to address the key regulatory and ethical questions arising from the mining, use and storage of massive amounts of voter data.


Providing an interdisciplinary assessment of the use and regulation of big data in the political process, this book will appeal to scholars from law, political science, political philosophy, and media studies, policy makers and anyone who cares about democracy in the age of data-driven political campaigning.

Table of Contents

Table of contents





1 Political Micro-Targeting in an Era of Big Data Analytics: an Overview of the Regulatory Issues

Janice Richardson, Normann Witzleb and Moira Paterson



Section One: The Need for a Civic Disposition


2 From Mass to Automated Media: Revisiting The ‘Filter Bubble’

Mark Andrejevic & Zala Volcic

3 Filter bubbles, Democracy and Conceptions of Self: A Brief Genealogy and a Spinozist Perspective

Janice Richardson

4 Voting Public: Leveraging Personal Information to Construct Voter Preference

Jacquelyn Burkell & Priscilla M. Regan


Section Two: Public International and European Law

5 International Law and New Challenges to Democracy in the Digital Age: Big Data, Privacy and Interferences with the Political Process

Dominik Steiger

6 Social Media in Election Campaigns: Free Speech or a Danger for Democracy?

Udo Fink

7 Freedom of Processing of Personal Data for the Purpose of Electoral Activities after the GDPR

Maeve McDonagh



Section Three: Domestic Laws in Canada, Australia, the United States and the United Kingdom

8 From the Doorstep to the Database: Political Parties, Campaigns, and Personal Privacy Protection in Canada

Colin J. Bennett & Michael McDonald

9 Freedom of Political Communication in an Era of Big Data: Time to Rethink the Political Exemption in the Australian Privacy Act

Moira Paterson & Normann Witzleb

10 Big Data and the Electoral Process in the United States: Constitutional Constraint and Limited Data Privacy Regulations

Ronald J. Krotoszynski, Jr.

11 Data and Political Campaigning in the Era of Big Data – the UK Experience

Stephanie Hankey, Ravi Naik and Gary Wright

About the Editors

Normann Witzleb, Moira Paterson and Janice Richardson are all at Faculty of Law, Monash University Australia.

Subject Categories

BISAC Subject Codes/Headings:
COMPUTERS / Data Processing
COMPUTERS / Database Management / Data Mining
COMPUTERS / Data Modeling & Design
COMPUTERS / Social Aspects / General
LAW / General
LAW / Administrative Law & Regulatory Practice
LAW / Communications
LAW / Government / State, Provincial & Municipal
LAW / Computer & Internet
LAW / Election Law
LAW / Privacy
POLITICAL SCIENCE / Political Process / Elections
POLITICAL SCIENCE / Corruption & Misconduct
POLITICAL SCIENCE / Political Process / Media & Internet
POLITICAL SCIENCE / Privacy & Surveillance (see also SOCIAL SCIENCE / Privacy & Surveillance)
SOCIAL SCIENCE / Privacy & Surveillance (see also POLITICAL SCIENCE / Privacy & Surveillance)