NZ Election 2020 – Tracking

Synopsis

A brief look at the current New Zealand political parties views on tracking and internet privacy through looking at whether they track their website users. Out of the 11 websites tested all of them had some sort of third party service that the Electronic Frontier Foundation considers a potential tracker. The least went to the Sustainable New Zealand Party with 2 and the most to the National Party with 8.

Out of the 49 potential trackers;

However, weighting as per the outcome of the 2017 Election we get something closer to,

  • 48% Google
  • 17% Twitter
  • 8% Amazon
  • 8% Oracle
  • 8% Outbrain
  • 8% Taboola
  • 1% Cloudflare
  • 2% Other

Showing that a vast majority of the tracking of voters is being done by a very few companies.

NZ Election 2020 – Tracking

With Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern announcing the date of New Zealand’s election as Saturday, September 19, I thought it might be a good idea to see how the current Party’s perform on the subject of digital privacy/rights by having a look at the trackers attached to their websites. This isn’t an in depth look but is really more a reminder to people that although ‘such and such party’ says it wants more privacy it may well at the same time be tracking every user to it’s website and/or selling or buying that information in order to target New Zealanders in the Election.

To do so, I will be using the Electronic Frontier Foundations Privacy Badger. This will tell me what third party services are attached to the websites that it considers trackers.

The Party’s

There are currently 14 registered political parties in New Zealand;

  • ACT New Zealand
  • Aotearoa Legalise Cannabis Party
  • MANA Movement
  • Māori Party
  • New Conservative
  • New Zealand First Party
  • New Zealand Labour Party
  • NZ Outdoors Party
  • Sustainable New Zealand Party
  • The Greens, The Green Party of Aotearoa/New Zealand
  • The New Zealand Democratic Party for Social Credit
  • The New Zealand National Party
  • The Opportunities Party (TOP)
  • Vision New Zealand

Of which only 11 have websites with the Mana Party and Vision New Zealand not having them and the NZ Outdoors Party website appearing to be broken. So lets go through the list.

ACT New Zealand

Privacy Badger found 4 potential trackers on www.act.org.nz:

  • ajax.googleapis.com
  • ssl.google-analytics.com
  • apis.google.com
  • platform.twitter.com

Aotearoa Legalise Cannabis Party

Privacy Badger found 4 potential trackers on www.act.org.nz:

  • ajax.googleapis.com
  • ssl.google-analytics.com
  • apis.google.com
  • platform.twitter.com

Māori Party

Privacy Badger found 4 potential trackers on www.maoriparty.org:

  • ajax.googleapis.com
  • www.google-analytics.com
  • apis.google.com
  • platform.twitter.com

Also, the Maori Party’s site has a bad HTTPS certificate and then redirects to an unencrypted connection.

New Conservative

Privacy Badger found 6 potential trackers on www.newconservative.org.nz:

  • ajax.cloudflare.com
  • www.google-analytics.com
  • apps.wix.com
  • ding.wix.com
  • frog.wix.com
  • wts.one

New Zealand First Party

Privacy Badger found 3 potential trackers on www.nzfirst.org.nz:

  • ajax.googleapis.com
  • apis.google.com
  • platform.twitter.com

New Zealand Labour Party

Privacy Badger found 4 potential trackers on www.labour.org.nz:

  • ajax.googleapis.com
  • www.google-analytics.com
  • apis.google.com
  • platform.twitter.com

Sustainable New Zealand Party

Privacy Badger found 2 potential trackers on sustainablenz.org.nz:

  • pixel.wp.com
  • stats.wp.com

The Greens, The Green Party of Aotearoa/New Zealand

Privacy Badger found 3 potential trackers on archive.greens.org.nz:

  • cdnjs.cloudflare.com
  • www.google-analytics.com
  • cdn.syndication.twimg.com

It is likely, the greens.org.nz is redirecting to archive.greens.org.nz that there is another version of the site coming up with alternate tracking.

The New Zealand Democratic Party for Social Credit

Privacy Badger found 6 potential trackers on www.socialcredit.nz:

  • overbalance.visitor-analytics.io
  • ding.wix.com
  • frog.wix.com
  • progallery.wix.com
  • www.wix.com
  • wixlabs-hcounter.appspot.com

The New Zealand National Party

Privacy Badger found 8 potential trackers on www.national.org.nz:

  • s7.addthis.com
  • ajax.googleapis.com
  • ssl.google-analytics.com
  • apis.google.com
  • amplify.outbrain.com
  • s3.amazonaws.com
  • cdn.taboola.com
  • platform.twitter.com

The Opportunities Party (TOP)

Privacy Badger found 5 potential trackers on www.top.org.nz:

  • ajax.googleapis.com
  • apis.google.com
  • platform.twitter.com
  • p.typekit.net
  • use.typekit.net

So, why is this a bad thing?

This is not good because companies like Google sell your data for profit or sometimes in the case of government just to cover costs. In the case of government it is even worse because emails have revealed an apparent close working relationship with America’s intelligence agencies. This same company has been providing services to Immigration and Customs Enforcement and the Military in America. Basically, the complaint here would be that the use of Google services opens New Zealand Election 2020 up to interference (or possible interference) by the Trump government.

That is just one example and not an unrealistic one.

Another is just the use of that information by the New Zealand political parties. Tying together your information with all the other information about you allows political parties to either ignore you as they are already certain of your vote or target you with specific advertising to alter it. An example would be if you own a house then Labour is going to collapse house prices, if you don’t then the house prices are going up because of immigration. For Maori it might be that it is all the fault of colonialism and for Pakeha it’s those Maori getting rich off the treaty again.

All these example are fairly broad though. What if you could target male, home owning, upper middle class, swing voters between the age of 60 and 65 (basically pakeha) with targeted advertising about Labour collapsing house prices? Then you have something going. Those people are getting ready to retire and can’t afford to lose money. They will vote for you, or whoever makes them scared enough.

That’s bullshit.

2 thoughts on “NZ Election 2020 – Tracking”

  1. Fantastic to see this kind of analysis. As a technical person tasked with tracking web analytics for the online presence of a political party, I successfully argued for bringing analytics in-house. It was rewarding to be able to use an open and secure analytics engine at the time called Piwik now Matomo.

    It was with a sigh I agreed to temporarily wrap the local tags in google tag manager for “marketing” – and then every time I loaded those pages and saw that call to Google I felt a deep sadness.

    Reply
    • Jo, that is just slimy. To repeat what I said to you 10 or so days ago on Loomio,

      “@Jo Booth @Daymond Goulder-Horobin you helped neutralize the Party with your unthinking support of Suzie Dawson and then you have done just about nothing for the past two years. And by just about I mean there has been a submission on the TPPA and VIctoria University’s name. I have done more to fight for the rights of New Zealander’s in the last two years than the Internet Party. That’s just embarrassing.

      So let’s get this straight. Anything that happens with this Party that is associated with you or any of the other Dawson supporters I will be against. If Dawson is involved then I will be sending emails to the media to make sure they are aware of the situation.

      I think we can safely say that you guys supported Dawson ripping $8000 off Fred Look and then continued to back her while she used the Party colours, name and things like the Christchurch Massacre to raise $50,000 for herself. Let alone all the other shit that has come out about her.

      You betrayed the Party and you betrayed your country by not fighting for it over the last three years while you kissed ass. That might be why you are missing your awesome.”

      https://www.loomio.org/d/WCFVJe0t/the-internet-party-in-2020-and-beyond?utm_source=user_mailer&utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=catch_up

      Reply

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