Greens use more trackers than any UK political party

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UK flag flying at the UN. Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 4.0 International License.

The Green Party of England and Wales deploys more trackers on its homepage than many other Westminster parties combined.

Though they have just one MP, Caroline Lucas, the Greens also use up to 22 trackers – which are facilitated by cookies and other coding – more than any other European party surveyed and the third highest in the world behind the Australian Labor Party and Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP) in India.

Greens website

Screen grab of Green Party website.

Regional variations in Wales and Scotland use fewer trackers where both nations see the Labour Party in front. There are similar differences between the branches of other parties. The Greens in Wales only have two trackers on their website.

The official opposition Labour Party has six trackers, former coalition partners Liberal Democrats use seven and the governing Conservative Party five.

Read the full investigation

Their use by the Greens stand in contrast to Ms Lucas’s repeated cautions against state surveillance of citizens – uses just two trackers on her personal parliamentary website.

In their manifesto for the 2015 UK general election, the Greens promised to “replace” the Regulation of Investigatory Powers Act (RIPA) 2000 and supported extending the European Union data protection powers, already recognised widely as the toughest in the world.

In June 2015, Ms Lucas said RIPA did not comply with international human rights standards and praised a report by David Anderson QC condemnation of the act.

In a press release, she stated:

“The Home Secretary must act with urgency to scrap RIPA and replace it with new, balanced legislation that protects people’s privacy while maintaining national security.

With Mr Anderson also stating that no operational case has yet been made for the Snoopers’ Charter and questioning the lawfulness, intrusiveness and cost of Theresa May’s proposals the Home Secretary must also now urgently reconsider her proposed Investigatory Powers Bill to ensure that it complies with international human rights standards.”1

Tomorrow has reached out to the Greens for comment.

View the Google Spreadsheet HERE or click the icon below to download a zip file of the spreadsheet and all 314 screen grabs

Download spreadsheet and screen grabs of website trackers

Elsewhere in the UK, it’s the Scottish Labour Party ahead with 17 trackers compared to the Scottish Greens on 10 and Scottish Liberal Democrats on nine. The SNP, the ruling party in Scotland, uses three and the Scottish Conservatives has just one tracker on its websites.

Parties in Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland use the fewest trackers in the British Isles with Ireland’s Labour Party with the most at seven.

Many of the trackers used by campaign sites are for analytics or social media tie-ins. But advertising and marketing specialists such as Dstillery, Merchenta and Nester AdAdvisor are also used.

Merchenta’s website states:

Merchenta distils the metrics into insights, available on the Merchenta Insight2 dashboard. Marketers find our consumer engagement metrics useful in understanding their prospective customers, where ads are served, how placements perform relative to each other.”2

UK media outlets use dozens more trackers than any political website, some with upwards of 90 each time you visit a homepage. Tomorrow has three.

Read the full investigation


Update August 28, 2015: Alliance Party of Northern Ireland was missed out and has now been added to the spreadsheet and total.

  1. Read the full press release, with two trackers, here.
  2. Merchenta describes itself on their website, with 11 trackers.

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