4. Abuses During Electoral Campaigns: How We Have Come to Find It Normal that the Municipal Census Data Ends Up in the Hands of the Political Parties

4. Abuses During Electoral Campaigns: How We Have Come to Find It Normal that the Municipal Census Data Ends Up in the Hands of the Political Parties

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4 – HOW WE HAVE COME TO FIND IT NORMAL THAT THE MUNICIPAL CENSUS DATA ENDS UP IN THE HANDS OF THE POLITICAL PARTIES
 

CONTENTS

HOW WE HAVE COME TO FIND IT NORMAL THAT THE MUNICIPAL CENSUS DATA ENDS UP IN THE HANDS OF THE POLITICAL PARTIES


RECOMMENDATIONS


BEST PRACTICE RECOMMENDATIONS FOR PUBLIC ADMINISTRATIONS

    Prior to amendments to the Law to create a more favourable framework for respecting fundamental freedoms


AMENDMENTS TO THE LAW
(In Spanish)
 


APPENDIX
(In Spanish)

ANALYSIS OF LEGISLATIVE DEVELOPMENT
Notes on the processing carried out by Municipal Councils

    a. Data collection: Registration in the Municipal Register of Inhabitants
    b. Communication of data: to the Spanish National Statistics Institute. Update of the Municipal Register of Inhabitants

Notes on the processing of data carried out by the Office of the Electoral Census

    a. Communication of data: Registration in the Electoral Census and communications received from Municipal Councils and Civil Registers
    b. Communication of data: Distribution of Copies of the Census to political parties and processing by parties

Notes on the exercise by the public of their rights

    a. Rights that can be exercised at any time
    b. Rights the exercise of which is limited to the electoral period

ANALYSIS OF RELEVANT CASE LAW

LIST OF RELEVANT LEGISLATION AND ARTICLES
 

 

[To stop the abuses we expose here, we have sent petitions to the Chair of the Petitions Committee European Parliament; European Commission Commissioner Mr. Didier Reynders; Directorate General of Democracy of the Council of Europe (DGII); OSCE Office for Democratic Institutions and Human Rights (ODIHR).

https://xnet-x.net/en/end-abuse-eu-citizens-personal-data-elections

 

HOW WE HAVE COME TO FIND IT NORMAL THAT THE MUNICIPAL CENSUS DATA ENDS UP IN THE HANDS OF THE POLITICAL PARTIES

The right to data protection is a fundamental right that guarantees individuals’ control over their data, its use and its destination. It must be respected by both public and private bodies. Even so, there are exceptions provided for in the legislation that apply to certain obligations, the main consequence of which is that the public loses effective control over their data. For this to be admissible from the point of view of fundamental freedoms, there must be very good reasons for such exceptions.

The legislation provides for exceptions in the case of the data people provide in the Register of Inhabitants held by their Council, meaning all the registered population. This data is used to draw up the electoral census. There is a tradition dating back to the 19th century and permitted under Spanish law that consists of transferring this exhaustive database of the population (including the private addresses of victims, activists, journalists, lawyers, etc.) to all political parties, even the most extremist. This tradition may have made sense when there was no other way for people to read the manifestos of parties, but it endured in the age of television and now endures in the age of the Internet.

After examining the laws that regulate both the municipal census and the electoral census, the flow of data can be inferred, from the person registering in the municipal census of inhabitants up to communication of this data to political parties, is as follows:

PUBLIC → COUNCIL (register of inhabitants) → NATIONAL INSTITUTE OF STATISTICS → CITY COUNCIL + CIVIL REGISTRY (used for updating the register of inhabitants) → OFFICE OF THE ELECTORAL CENSUS (census) → POLITICAL PARTIES.

The data of each voter provided to political parties comprises: Name and surname, province and municipality of residence, district, section and polling station, address, date of birth and nationality for foreign voters. And in the case of voters living abroad, this includes whether they have requested the vote, where they are registered for electoral purposes, domicile, country of residence and date of birth.

It is clear that it is convenient to modify the General Electoral System Law to repeal this communication and prohibit this massive communication of data that has been taking place since 1985.
This is how it should be in a democracy where the public have control over their institutions, and not the other way around.

The law that governs the processing of personal data during the electoral period is the Organic Law on the General Electoral System, with the Organic Law on Data Protection and the Guarantee of Digital Rights and the European Data Protection Regulation applying only subsidiarily.

As such, communication of this data to the political parties under the Electoral Law is maintained, and the new European General Data Protection Regulation has not help taking into consideration the continued abusive practices by the public authorities. With the passing of the new Organic Law on Data Protection, it has only been included the option to object to the communication of data to political parties, when we consider that it should be the other way around if we want to remain true to the privacy by design and by default principle: people should be able to ask for the data to be communicated to political parties in order to receive electoral propaganda and not to oppose in order not to receive it. Moreover, the way in which this right to opposition can be exercised (an electronic certificate is necessary) may make it difficult for a large part of the public to exercise it effectively.

GDPR does not protect in this case either, leaving this circumstance in the hands of States and weakening the privacy by design and by default principle, which is one of its core principles.

Apart from this data communication taking place, it should be noted that in most cases, people are not informed when they register in the Municipal Register of Inhabitants of future communications of their personal data to other administrations or political parties, or for what purpose these bodies are going to use their data. This violates one of the essential principles of the European Data Protection Regulation, the principle of transparency, which requires the knowledge of individuals, when they provide their data, of the uses for which said data is intended and to whom they will be communicated where applicable, in addition to the obligation to offer the right to oppose to it.

Based on all these considerations, we call for a change in the law for an updated and better democracy.

 

 

RECOMMENDATIONS

Following on from this analysis, in order to ensure and protect the right of individuals to be aware of and control the use and destination of their data in line with European data protection legislation, XNet recommends:

    Repealing the communication of data collected in the Electoral Census to political parties

    Personal data should not be transferred en masse to political parties by the public authorities. This communication, which is carried out by default unless one expressly objects, must be removed.

    The opposite formula to the existing one could be provided for: whoever wishes to receive electoral propaganda should indicate their wish to do so, without the data of the rest of the public passing into the hands of political parties.

 

 

BEST PRACTICE RECOMMENDATIONS FOR PUBLIC ADMINISTRATIONS

PRIOR TO AMENDING THE LAW IN ORDER TO ENCOURAGE ITS APPLICATION

    • In the moment census data is collected, the public needs to be informed of the various purposes for which their data will be used later, as well as the data communications that will be carried out and the purposes thereof, indicating, where applicable, the Law in which this communication is provided for. Study formulas that allow the option of opposition on the spot.

 

 

ENMIENDAS A LA LEY

Derogación de los apartados 5 y 6 del artículo 41 de la Ley Orgánica del Régimen Electoral General.

    “(…) 5. Los representantes de cada candidatura podrán obtener dentro de los dos días siguientes a la proclamación de su candidatura una copia del censo del distrito correspondiente, ordenado por mesas, en soporte apto para su tratamiento informático, que podrá ser utilizado exclusivamente para los fines previstos en la presente Ley. Alternativamente los representantes generales podrán obtener en las mismas condiciones una copia del censo vigente de los distritos donde su partido, federación o coalición presente candidaturas. Asimismo, las Juntas Electorales de Zona dispondrán de una copia del censo electoral utilizable, correspondiente a su ámbito.
    Las Juntas Electorales, mediante resolución motivada, podrán suspender cautelarmente la entrega de las copias del censo a los representantes antes citados cuando la proclamación de sus candidaturas haya sido objeto de recurso o cuando se considere que podrían estar incursas en alguna de las circunstancias previstas en el artículo 44.4 de esta Ley.
    6. Excepcionalmente y por razones debidamente justificadas, podrá excluirse a las personas que pudieran ser objeto de amenazas o coacciones que pongan en peligro su vida, su integridad física o su libertad, de las copias del censo electoral a que se refiere el apartado 5 del presente artículo.”

Para alcanzar el fin propuesto debemos solicitar, además, la enmienda o derogación, según los casos, de las disposiciones reglamentarias que desarrollan el artículo 41.5 de la LOREG.

Derogación de los puntos primero a sexto relativos a la solicitud de copias del Censo Electoral de la Orden de 3 de febrero de 1987 por la que se regula la distribución de copias del Censo Electoral en soporte magnético y la expedición de certificados de inscripción en el Censo Electoral

    “Primero.
    Una vez terminada la revisión anual del Censo Electoral, cada Comunidad Autónoma podrá obtener, en cinta magnética, una sola copia del referido censo, a petición del Órgano competente de la Comunidad Autónoma. La petición habrá de ser dirigida al Director de la Oficina del Censo Electoral.

    Segundo.
    1. En la convocatoria de elecciones, los representantes generales de cada partido, federación o coalición podrán obtener, a partir del día de la proclamación de candidatos, una copia en cinta magnética del Censo Electoral de los distritos donde la respectiva entidad política haya presentado candidatos.
    2. En el caso de que, dentro del período anual de revisión del Censo Electoral, se convoquen varios procesos electorales aquellos partidos, federaciones o coaliciones que hayan obtenido ya copia del Censo Electoral en soporte magnético, no podrán volver a solicitar nueva copia, salvo que se justifique el deterioro de la copia anterior.

    Tercero.
    Si un partido o coalición no hubiera solicitado a través de su representante general el Censo Electoral de la totalidad de los distritos en que se presenta, el representante de la candidatura de cada distrito podrá obtener una copia en cinta magnética del censo de su correspondiente distrito, en las condiciones indicadas en el punto precedente.

    Cuarto.
    1. El plazo para solicitar las copias del Censo Electoral en soporte magnético por los partidos políticos, federaciones, coaliciones o agrupaciones de electores, será el que medie entre el día de la designación de representante y el de la proclamación de candidatos, quedando condicionada la solicitud a la confirmación de la referida proclamación.
    2. La entrega de la copia solicitada se efectuará en la Sede Central de la Oficina del Censo Electoral si se trata de una petición que abarque más de una distrito electoral o en la correspondiente Delegación Provincial de la misma, cuando la petición sea uniprovincial y será realizada al representante de la entidad política solicitante, o a persona suficientemente autorizada por éste.

    Quinto.
    Los derechos reconocidos en los dos puntos anteriores corresponden, en materia de referéndum, a los grupos políticos comprendidos en el artículo 11. 2 de la Ley Orgánica de las distintas modalidades de referéndum.

    Sexto.
    Quienes hayan obtenido copias del Censo Electoral en soporte magnético, quedan sometidos a la prohibición de facilitar cualquier tipo de información particularizada sobre datos personales incluidos en el censo, conforme a lo dispuesto en el artículo 41. 2 de la Ley 5/1985.”

Enmienda del artículo 5 del Real Decreto 1799/2003, de 26 de diciembre, por el que se regula el contenido de las listas electorales y de las copias del censo electoral, que quedaría redactado como sigue:

    “Artículo 5. Copias del censo electoral.
    1. Las copias del censo electoral que se faciliten en virtud de lo dispuesto en el artículo 41, apartado 4, de la Ley Orgánica 5/1985, de 19 de junio, del Régimen Electoral General, contendrán a los electores ordenados de igual forma que en las listas de votación, con las exclusiones que correspondan por la aplicación del artículo 6 de este real decreto.
    2. Los datos de cada elector serán los siguientes:
    2.1 Electores residentes en España (españoles y nacionales de otros Estados con derecho de voto en España).
    a) Número de orden.
    b) Apellidos y nombre.
    c) Provincia y municipio de residencia.
    d) Distrito, sección y mesa electoral.
    e) Domicilio.
    f) Fecha de nacimiento: día, mes y año.
    g) País de nacionalidad, para los electores nacionales de otros Estados.
    2.2 Electores residentes-ausentes que viven en el extranjero:
    a) Número de orden.
    b) Indicador de haber solicitado el voto.
    c) Apellidos y nombre.
    d) Provincia y municipio de inscripción a efectos electorales.
    e) Domicilio.
    f) País de residencia.
    g) Fecha de nacimiento: día, mes y año.
    3. En las copias para las Juntas Electorales de Zona se incluirá el número del identificador personal: Documento Nacional de Identidad, pasaporte o inscripción en el Registro Central de Extranjeros.”