Sunday, September 28, 2008

Political ads abroad?

I was under the presumption that it was illegal to advertise in foreign markets for Canadian elections -- the exception being Elections Canada to ensure Canadians living abroad can exercise their right to vote absentee. Perhaps this prohibition only applies to foreign broadcasters and not print media.

So imagine my surprise when I saw a web ad for the NDP at the NYT this morning. I'm sure all the other parties have done this as well. Now, as some of you commented previously on my beef about CBC Radio 2 putting up a web ad on a British web site, the host server treats likely siphons offshore readers through country-specific "channels" so they get customized content.

Still, isn't this something that needs clarifying, especially when one or more web ads could sway undecided voters? My opinion is that the Internet, like the phone company, is a common carrier and therefore not subject to normal broadcasting rules -- that's how many routinely get around publication bans that apply to the old school press. However, some could rightfully accuse participating parties of cheating -- and a court challenge is almost likely to ensue.

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Mr McKinnon said...

I believe that the ads are inserted based upon your ip address, so you looking at any site from anywhere in the world could or might have Canadian ads. I know that if I look at say, I get Toronto based ads even though the website is published in LA.

Anonymous said...

You got it, jodster. Lots of Internet ads are targeted based on the viewer's location. Nothing to see here, citizens.

Deb Prothero said...

Except it might be of interest that the Conservatives are rumoured to have a campaign office in Hong Kong. I've heard this twice from two sources that I generally trust but have yet to see any online evidence, yet. When I google Canadian Conservatives and Hong Kong, all I get are the stories of corruption with consular staff accepting packets of money.