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Ready to vote: elections, technology and political campaigning in the United Kingdom

Democracy Social media Elections Political campaigns Telecommunications United Kingdom

With accumulating evidence of foreign meddling in the elections and referenda of major democracies, growing concerns about disinformation, non-transparent campaigning practices, the use of data-driven profiling to subvert democratic processes, and opaque data brokers like Cambridge Analytica, there is a pressing need for new rules for the democratic use of digital technologies in the United Kingdom. This report sets out a series of recommendations aimed at securing the information infrastructure of elections and creating a trusted environment for the democratic use of technology. 

Key Recommendations

  1. Civil society should use advertising archives and available social media data for investigative work and to achieve meaningful transparency.
  2. The UK government should form a working group of relevant stakeholders from major public agencies with a regulatory role in keeping elections free and fair, to support information sharing and exchange.
  3. Social media platforms should create full advertising archives to make available helpful and accurate information about all sponsored content at all times. The data should be relevant for statistical analysis, freely accessible to any citizen, searchable, and machine-readable.
  4. Political parties in the United Kingdom should provide imprints about the campaigner and sponsorship of all digital ads and other forms of sponsored content and should archive all sponsored messages they run in accessible online databases.


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