Workshop N°3: Political Campaigning and Elections


Within the framework of their partnership, the Council of Europe, the Global Action on Cybercrime Enlarged and the Network of African Data Protection Authorities will organize, on January 7, 2021, the workshop N°3 of the series of thematic workshops on data protection about "Political Campaigns and Elections". The purpose of this workshop is to explore and discuss key issues, challenges and considerations in the use of personal data in political campaigns, including voter surveillance, drawing from experiences in Africa and beyond.

The importance of the protection of personal data in this sense lies in the influence of people for political purposes. Indeed, as more and more people connect online and access digital services, the variety, volume and intimacy of data generated and captured about individuals may be used to influence them.

Speakers for this workshop include: 

Smith ODURO-MARFO, PhD candidate at the University of Victoria, and co-author of a report commissioned by the UK data protection authority, ‘Privacy, Voter Surveillance and Democratic Engagement: Challenges for Data Protection Authorities’.  Drawing on experiences researching the report, Smith will discuss key considerations and conclusions for data protection authorities. 

Then Sigi MWANZIA, human rights lawyer and Digital Policy Consultant at ARTICLE 19 Eastern Africa, actively engaged on research and advocacy in the use of data and technology in political campaigning in Africa, and also the impact of the COVID 19 pandemic on this issue. She will discuss around Personal data and technology in political campaigning.

Arthur GWAGWA, human rights lawyer and Adjunct Professor, Strathmore University, Strathmore Law School, and Research Fellow and expert in artificial intelligence at the University College London. He will speak on the use of data in the election process in Zimbabwe, including the use of biometrics, data obfuscation and encryption.

Consumer and voter data is increasingly being used for "data-driven" decision-making to strategically target people in the process of political campaigning. This workshop is an opportunity to discuss several themes related to this issue and to confirm RAPDP's commitment to the protection of personal data, particularly on the African continent.


Below is the workshop program:


GMT +1

7 January 2021


Opening session – Welcoming remarks and workshop goals

Marguerite Ouedraogo Bonane, Chair of the African Network of Data Protection Authorities and President of the CIL, Burkina Faso

Sophie Kwasny, Head of the Data Protection Unit, Council of Europe


Setting the scene

Patrick Walshe (Privacy Matters) and Sylvia Appiah (Information Governance Solutions), Council of Europe lead experts


Privacy, Voter Surveillance and Democratic Engagement

Smith Oduro-Marfo, PhD candidate at the University of Victoria, Faculty of Social Sciences, Political Science


Personal data and technology in political campaigning

Sigi Mwanzia, human rights lawyer and Digital Policy Consultant at ARTICLE 19 Eastern Africa


Privacy implications of AI and data optimization technologies in electoral spaces

Arthur Gwagwa, human rights lawyer and AI expert and member of the UN Global Pulse Advisory Group on AI and big data


Comments and open discussions between Participants

Facilitated by the Council of Europe lead experts, Patrick Walshe and Sylvia Appiah


End of workshop


For more information about the workshop: