Posts in News

Facebook moves to make UK political ads ‘transparent’

17/10/2018 Posted by News, Press Releases 0 thoughts on “Facebook moves to make UK political ads ‘transparent’”

From today, Facebook will be rolling out a tool that will attempt to make political adverts transparent.

Following revelations brought forward by Chris Wylie, Cambridge Analytica whistleblower and Brexit whistleblower, Shahmir Sanni, Facebook has slowly introduced measures to prevent fake news and foreign intervention into elections.

Kyle Taylor, Director of Fair Vote UK, said: “Facebook didn’t really want to introduce transparency, they were well aware of these issues for quite some time. It’s a shame that the Europe has suffered three democratic processes, that we know of, to have been affected by the lack of transparency in political advertising – the Brexit referendum, the referendum on the 8th Amendment in Ireland and our recent General Election. While this is a start, self-regulation is not enough to ensure proper behaviour. This needs to be part of electoral law with adequate deterrents to guarantee these giant corporations don’t hijack our democracy again.”

Hillary Clinton joins Damian Collins and Tom Watson in calling for the public inquiry into the EU Referendum that Fair Vote UK is fighting to make a reality

09/10/2018 Posted by News, Press Releases 0 thoughts on “Hillary Clinton joins Damian Collins and Tom Watson in calling for the public inquiry into the EU Referendum that Fair Vote UK is fighting to make a reality”

Hillary Clinton has joined Damian Collins MP and Tom Watson MP in calling for an inquiry into misconduct during the Brexit referendum, saying that democracy is in crisis and that Conservative party is failing democracy.

Fair Vote UK are pursuing a judicial review claim for a public inquiry into Brexit because of rampant irregularities including illegal activity, Russian interference and data hacking.

Fair Vote UK and Bindmans LLP have sent a pre-action letter to the government raising concerns over the decision not to hold a full public inquiry, which has attracted support from Labour’s Deputy Leader Tom Watson MP and chair of the DCMS committee Conservative MP Damian Collins

So far Fair Vote UK has raised over £30,000 to pursue the judicial review. Fair Vote UK are appealing for donations for the legal challenge through the Crowd Justice website. 100% of funds raised goes directly to the legal costs.

Kyle Taylor, Director of Fair Vote UK, said: “Hillary Clinton has joined an ever increasing chorus of voices calling for an urgent inquiry into what on earth happened during the Brexit referendum. Clinton rightly sees the failure of our Government to conduct an investigation into what happened as a total abdication of their responsibility as protectors of and believers in democracy. ”

Shahmir Sanni, the Brexit whistleblower, said: “It is astounding that the Government has thus far refused to carry out a full public inquiry into what happened during the Brexit referendum, if it hadn’t been for the evidence I brought forward we might not even know that Vote Leave broke electoral law in the pursuit of their goals. The suggestion that an inquiry is an attempt to undermine Brexit is ridiculous and to be honest, an irrelevant accusation. It is about one thing and one thing only, democracy. I urge the people of the UK who care about protecting their rights as citizens to determine the future of their country to back Fair Vote’s judicial review.”

Fair Vote UK launches Judicial Review to challenge May’s government over refusal to hold a public inquiry into the Brexit referendum

30/09/2018 Posted by News, Press Releases 0 thoughts on “Fair Vote UK launches Judicial Review to challenge May’s government over refusal to hold a public inquiry into the Brexit referendum”
On Monday, Fair Vote UK and Bindmans LLP sent a letter to the government to challenge Theresa May’s decision not to hold a public inquiry into the referendum. Over the weekend, Fair Vote received endorsements from a cross-party coalition of MPs who are urging the Prime Minister to hold a public inquiry and protect our democracy. You can read these endorsements in our press release below.

Fair Vote UK and Bindmans LLP have been crowdfunding for a judicial review to challenge the government’s refusal to hold an inquiry into illegal activity during the Brexit referendum.

The government rejected earlier calls for an inquiry claiming that it was an attempt to subvert or disrupt ongoing negotiations with the EU. Fair Vote UK and Bindmans LLP called this irrational as an inquiry would have no bearing on negotiations or the outcome. “By not holding an inquiry the UK makes it a certainty that future elections will be tainted in the same way.” said Kyle Taylor, Fair Vote UK.

Fair Vote UK and Bindmans LLP have sent a pre-action letter to the government raising concerns over the decision not to hold a full public inquiry, which has attracted support from Labour’s Deputy Leader Tom Watson MP and chair of the DCMS committee Conservative MP Damian Collins.

So far Fair Vote UK has raised over £30,000 to pursue the judicial review but needs an additional £70,000 to take the legal action to the next stage.

Fair Vote UK are appealing for donations for the legal challenge through the Crowd Justice website.

Tom Watson MP, Deputy Leader, Labour Party, said: “Mueller has shown that we need to follow the money – and the lies – to get to the truth about how votes are unfairly won. Given what we know about law-breaking, Russian involvement and massive data abuse issues, it is essential that we have a full public inquiry into what happened in the referendum.  We need to know what went wrong so we can fix it and safeguard our democracy. Fair Vote’s judicial review is timely and important and I hope it will force a Government rethink.”

Shahmir Sanni, the Brexit whistleblower, said: “It is astounding that the Government has thus far refused to carry out a full public inquiry into what happened during the Brexit referendum, if it hadn’t been for the evidence I brought forward we might not even know that Vote Leave broke electoral law in the pursuit of their goals. The suggestion that an inquiry is an attempt to undermine Brexit is ridiculous and to be honest, an irrelevant accusation. It is about one thing and one thing only, democracy. I urge the people of the UK who care about protecting their rights as citizens to determine the future of their country to back Fair Vote’s judicial review.”

Alistair Carmichael MP, Liberal Democrats, said: “It’s very worrying that Theresa May has refused to conduct a full public inquiry into what we know was illegal activity during the referendum, we must protect the sanctity of our democracy and make sure this doesn’t happen again. I back Fair Vote’s call for a public inquiry and hope we finally get the answers we as citizens need.”

Catherine West MP, Labour, said: “I strongly support this call for a Public Inquiry into irregularities in the Vote Leave Campaign. We need to be sure that our democratic processes are fair and not subject to dodgy donations or authoritarian foreign governments who seek to influence and undermine domestic policy. With new technology rapidly changing election practice, it is crucial that the Electoral Commission is sufficiently robust to manage elections and provides full confidence that our democracy is not being undermined.”

Lord Foulkes of Cumnock, Labour, said: “I fully support Fair Vote’s call for a public inquiry into the irregularities in the EU Referendum and their demand for a Judicial Review into the Prime Minister’s refusal to set up such an inquiry. The irregularities and outside interference should result in the Referendum being declared null and void. I will be raising this in the House of Lords on 22nd. October.”

Kyle Taylor, Director of Fair Vote UK, said: “The UK urgently needs its own Mueller investigation. The Government’s decision not to hold a full public inquiry into the Brexit referendum is unlawful and we are challenging it. We know that Vote Leave cheated and overspent by a considerable amount. Not to mention opaque donors, suspicions of Russian interference and data companies using questionable tactics. All this has led to such significant public concern that only a Public Inquiry headed by a judge with formal powers to compel witnesses can find out what truly happened.”

ENDS

NOTES TO EDITORS

Fair Vote UK  was set up to tackle the issue of data misuse, voter manipulation and lack of transparency in elections head-on. We are committed to ensuring the institutions that protect our democratic processes are fit for purpose in a digital age.

Fair Vote UK took the decision to publish the whistleblower evidence for everyone to see. The evidence we have so far can be seen on our website, because the public deserve to know the truth about what’s happening in our democracy.

Electoral Commission may have made a mistake but Vote Leave still broke the law

14/09/2018 Posted by News, Press Releases 0 thoughts on “Electoral Commission may have made a mistake but Vote Leave still broke the law”

The High Court has ruled that the Electoral Commission (EC) misunderstood the law regarding donations. Vote Leave in light of this ruling now claim they only gave the donation because the EC said it was permissible in an email correspondence, wilfully  ignoring the clear stipulation in the same email that coordination would make any donation unlawful. Coordination is exactly what the EC found Vote Leave and BeLeave guilty of.

Kyle Taylor, Director of Fair Vote UK, said “We’ve said from the very beginning of this whole sorry affair that the Electoral Commission needs more powers and deep reform and we welcome Matthew Elliott’s consensus on this matter.

The key thing to remember here is that this ruling by the High Court does not in any way invalidate the ruling the EC reached, the EC did not at any point advise Vote Leave that they could break Common Plan Expenditure rules, meaning Vote Leave still broke the law. This crucial fact seems to be missing in the reactions to the High Court ruling.

The EC clearly states on their website following their investigation that they found overwhelming evidence of a common plan. In the emails from the EC that Matthew Elliott has published on Brexit Central it is clear that any donation would be considered unlawful if made under a common plan.

The EC’s misleading advice around spending laws indicates we must have comprehensive reform to make our laws clearer and more democratic but this ruling does not change the simple fact that Vote Leave and BeLeave engaged in illegal campaign coordination. As much as Matthew Elliott tries to obfuscate the truth, we cannot ignore that Vote Leave and BeLeave are responsible for breaking the law.

The Electoral Commission is the most important election regulator in this country. We must ensure that it is operating properly and that our laws reflect the realities of modern campaigning. The fact that yet more is coming to light regarding errors made in the Brexit referendum should give decision-makers pause for thought.

Matthew Elliott and other Brexiteers are using this ruling to once again deny responsibility for their own crimes. They have spent the past few months denigrating one of the fundamental institutions of our democracy, the Electoral Commission and are now being purposefully deceptive to cast even more doubt on our democratic process.

While Vote Leave will claim they were given misleading advice and therefore cannot be held accountable, we mustn’t forget that ignorance of the law is not and has never been a get out jail free card.”

NOTES TO EDITORS

https://www.electoralcommission.org.uk/i-am-a/journalist/electoral-commission-media-centre/news-releases-donations/vote-leave-fined-and-referred-to-the-police-for-breaking-electoral-law

Fair Vote UK’s proposed Electoral Commission reforms: https://fairvote.uk/home/electoral-reform/

Fair Vote UK launch class-action suit against Facebook

30/07/2018 Posted by News, Press Releases 0 thoughts on “Fair Vote UK launch class-action suit against Facebook”

Fair Vote UK launch class-action suit against Facebook with Bindmans LLP in wake of DCMS committee’s interim report on “fake news.”

In early July the ICO reported that Facebook had violated the Data Protection Act. Today, in the Digital, Culture, Media and Sport committee’s interim report on disinformation and “fake news” – leaked by Dominic Cummings of Vote Leave – the chair Damian Collins MP made it clear that Facebook had made it incredibly easy for user data to be harvested without their consent. It is clear something must be done.

In an effort to seek remedy for those whose personal and private information was taken without their consent, Kyle Taylor, Director of Fair Vote UK and victim of these activities, is – with Bindmans LLP – preparing a class-action lawsuit against Facebook.

Tamsin Allen of Bindmans LLP, said ‘We agree with Damian Collins MP that “data crimes are real crimes, with real victims”.  Accordingly, this week, we are taking the first formal steps in proceedings against Facebook for breaches on a vast scale of the agreement between the company and its users, and breaches of UK personal data rules.  Whilst Facebook has now informed those affected, the lack of protection provided by the company over the victim’s data has become woefully apparent during the Committee’s investigation’.

Kyle Taylor, Director of Fair Vote UK and one of the Claimants in the Facebook claim said ‘It is now abundantly clear the status quo with regard to how we hold internet giants to account does not work. The solution is urgent reform to properly regulate and oversee companies like Facebook. Because the breaches took place before the GDPR came into effect, the fines are simply not great enough to deter this behaviour. As such, we are hoping as many of the nearly 1.1 million people who had their data used without their consent will join our claim to hit Facebook where it counts – their bottom line.”

Any individual whose data was taken without their consent could be eligible to join the claim. Possible victims can visit Fair Vote UK’s site at https://our.fairvote.uk/page/s/FB-case and check whether their data was taken then submit their details to join. There are an estimated 1.1 million people in the UK who could be eligible.

 

ENDS

Now’s the time for a public inquiry into Brexit cheating

23/07/2018 Posted by News 0 thoughts on “Now’s the time for a public inquiry into Brexit cheating”

This weekend, we launched our crowdfunder to call for a full public inquiry into the EU referendum and the response has been overwhelming.

As you know, this case matters because our democracy is being attacked and we can’t allow these cheaters and law-breakers to get away with it.

With your support we’ve made good progress towards our goal of £50,000. But we still have a way to go.

 

Will you help give us a big push to spread the word?

 

If you haven’t donated yet, please do so here. Every little bit helps.

If you have donated please can you share on social media or emails to your friends and family. Here is the link: https:/www.crowdjustice.com/ case/eu-referendum-result/

Electoral Commission finds Vote Leave broke the law, Fair Vote UK calls for immediate action.

17/07/2018 Posted by News, Press Releases 0 thoughts on “Electoral Commission finds Vote Leave broke the law, Fair Vote UK calls for immediate action.”

In light of the Electoral Commission’s report on Vote Leave, BeLeave and Veterans for Britain, confirming Shahmir Sanni’s whistleblower evidence of overspend and illegal campaign coordination, it is more clear than ever that the EU referendum was won by cheating and law-breaking. We must have a fair vote and Parliament must act now to ensure our future elections are not marred by cheating and corruption.

Kyle Taylor, Director of Fair Vote UK said: “The Electoral Commission has uncovered far more law-breaking than even we had believed occurred. The Government needs to take urgent action to deal with the fact the referendum is now illegitimate. We need to wake up and start fighting for our democracy.

These problems will not solve themselves. Until there are adequate deterrents against cheating, bad actors will continue to take advantage of our democracy and break the law. This is unacceptable. Elections and referenda have serious consequences and cheating in these campaigns must be punished.

When the Electoral Commission suspects wrongdoing in elections, these allegations should be promptly and thoroughly investigated by the police. The cap on fines should be lifted. Currently, fines given by the Electoral Commission are small enough that they are just the cost of doing business. We must build a system that holds people accountable for their actions.

Parliament must act immediately to implement common sense electoral reforms. The Electoral Commission found that Vote Leave, BeLeave, and Veterans for Britain misreported their campaign spending. Campaigns should be reporting their spending online, as MPs do with the Independent Parliamentary Standards Authority. In referenda, the designated campaign should no longer be allowed to donate money to other groups. Perhaps most importantly, we should regulate paid political digital advertising in the election period with a Digital Bill of Rights for Democracy.”

We must have laws which reflect our current realities. The Electoral Commission’s report makes clear that our current system is not fit to purpose. With such monumental decisions such as Brexit at stake, we cannot stand by and allow our democratic processes to be denigrated and our votes cheated. Parliament must act and we must have fair votes for all.”

British citizens are preparing a damages claim against Facebook

11/07/2018 Posted by News, Press Releases 0 thoughts on “British citizens are preparing a damages claim against Facebook”

Information Commissioner Elizabeth Denham has today published a scathing report into how British Citizens’ data and privacy has been violated.

 

Kyle Taylor, Director of Fair Vote UK, said “Under new GDPR laws, the ICO could fine Facebook for £479 million. Unfortunately, because they had to follow old data protection laws, they were only able to fine them the maximum of £500,000. This is unacceptable. Facebook must be held accountable for their violations of British citizens’ data. Fair Vote UK is preparing a class action claim against Facebook, which already has 84 claimants. All 1.1 million British citizens impacted by the Cambridge Analytica data breach can join the claim. People can check if they were impacted and join the claim on our website.

 

When it comes down to our democracy we should not be negotiating with private companies. Until now, Facebook has been allowed to make their own rules. It is time for Parliament to fulfil their legislative duties and regulate data barons like Facebook.”

 

With regard to the ICO’s call for a pause of digital political ads: “The ICO has called for an ‘ethical pause’ on digital advertising until regulation is brought in that will robustly protect fairness in our democratic processes. This is exactly what Fair Vote UK has been calling for since whistleblowers revealed damning evidence about how UK democracy was manipulated using voter microtargeting and misuse and abuse of data. It is shocking that even the ICO cannot implement the recommendations it sees fit but instead relies on political will that seems to be sadly lacking in order to restore trust in democratic processes.”

 

And on SCL Group, Cambridge Analytica and AIQ: “Furthermore, criminal proceedings for SCL Group mean those who committed these offenses may now be brought to justice. Similarly, a notice to Aggregate IQ to stop processing British citizens’ data raises further concern that such data may still be held overseas. While this is a start, there is still more to be done to hold these companies to account.

 

The Information Commissioner herself said that citizens have little idea of what is happening behind the scenes about how the average voters’ data is being used and also how personal data may have impacted the outcome of the Brexit referendum in ways that broke electoral law. These issues are of great concern and need to be dealt with urgently – especially in light of recent resignations and cabinet unrest – before we consider having another poll of any sort – whether it is another referendum or a general election.”

Letter to the Prime Minister

05/07/2018 Posted by News 0 thoughts on “Letter to the Prime Minister”

According to Vote Leave, Electoral Commission set to rule that they broke electoral law

04/07/2018 Posted by News, Press Releases 0 thoughts on “According to Vote Leave, Electoral Commission set to rule that they broke electoral law”

Electoral Commission is set to say Vote Leave cheated in the Brexit referendum and broke electoral law, according to Vote Leave themselves.

Christopher Wylie said: ‘If sanctions are issued against Vote Leave or their affiliates, this means the law was broken. This means that cheating occurred in the referendum. The law demands our elections are free and fair. Electoral crimes are real crimes. In any other arena, if players are caught cheating, they get disqualified. For something as important as an irrevocable change to Britain’s constitutional law, how can we tolerate a vote tainted with cheating?’

Shahmir Sanni said: ‘If this is true, the evidence that I brought forward in March has been confirmed. Vote Leave used BeLeave to break electoral law. This means criminal offences occurred and it is imperative that we take this seriously. We must ask why cabinet ministers denied anything was wrong and why Number 10 sought to discredit the evidence that was brought forward. We must question why we are putting the law second and party politics first. I’m waiting for the report, but just for clarity, I told you so.’

Kyle Taylor, Director of The Fair Vote Project, said: ‘This looks like an attempt to intimidate the EC before it has reached its final decision.

They say they’ll challenge the findings in court – fine. When the court agrees with the EC will they then admit they broke the law and accept their punishment?

Facts are facts. Whether they like it or not the fact is they cheated. Just because you don’t like the fact doesn’t make it any less true. I don’t like that only eating ice cream and only drinking beer is unhealthy. That doesn’t make it any less true. The fact is, they cheated.

This is an important moment that should lead to change. We believe Parliament should transfer the Electoral Commission’s investigative and prosecutorial powers to the police. ​We believe the Electoral Commission works best as a regulator and policy body. When there are grounds to suspect electoral offences have been committed, it should refer wrongdoing to the police with a recommendation that it is investigated promptly by either specialist fraud officers or specialist electoral offence officers’