Software giant claims no part in ‘data theft’
The technology company at the centre of a political data harvesting saga says its software does not have the "technical capability" to collect people's personal information when they click website links.
Los Angeles-based start-up NationBuilder has been thrown into the spotlight this week after reports emerged that people using government websites were unwittingly being redirected via a Liberal Party site that can be used to harvest users' data.
The Government has repeatedly stated it has not been collecting or tracking people's data for the Liberal Party via government websites.
It was claimed that if a person clicks on a link "for more information" on a media released published on a government website it redirects them to that extra information via stateliberalleader.nationbuilder.com - a NationBuilder domain owned by the Liberal Party.
Furthermore, on Tuesday, The Advertiser revealed allegations by the Opposition that a pristine email account that was created only to sign up for job alerts on an SA Health website subsequently received emails from Premier Steven Marshall's Liberal Party account.
Labor questioned if the Liberal Party was collecting personal data, including emails, from the job alerts section of the Government website.
A NationBuilder spokesman on Thursday told The Advertiser the SA Liberal Party used its software for campaigning, fundraising, email and data management and said it was not a data harvesting company.
"We do not share, sell or 'harvest' data in any way and we do not provide 'data harvesting' services to our customers," he said.
"NationBuilder does not collect any data about the person who clicks on these links (that form part of the reported allegations) nor does our software have the technical capability to do so."
The spokesman also said the company "can categorically say that no users are being redirected to NationBuilder's platform" based on the links identified in recent reports.
The Advertiser on Thursday asked the Government if the Liberal Party had "collected or tracked any data, personal or otherwise, from any government website in any way via any means since coming into power?"
A Government spokesman reiterated the Government "has not been using State Government websites to collect or track data for the Liberal Party," describing reporting to the contrary as being false.
Opposition accountability spokesman Tom Koutsantonis renewed Labor's call for an independent inquiry into the saga, saying "you can't exonerate yourself".
"There is evidence of people who've received...unsolicited emails and the only places that they've deposited those emails has been on Government websites," he said.
"And it doesn't explain how the Liberal Party is getting access to those emails and sending people notices (from Mr Marshall's Liberal Party email account)."
It was reported in 2015 that an internal Liberal document discussed the Party's use of NationBuilder, saying it would import emails and build profiles on voters as well as track what people were clicking and commenting on.
Originally published as Software giant claims no part in 'data theft'