Many of you will – at least after his attempt to sabotage last week’s by-elections – have heard of ex-PM Tony Blair’s Open Britain vanity project, which masquerades as a pro-EU ‘institute’ but is essentially just an attempt to make himself relevant again by levering himself back onto the domestic political scene and to promote defunct policies and worldview that almost all the public and the vast majority of Labour members consider, rightly, a mouldy relic fit only for the refuse heap.
The SKWAWKBOX has learned that Mr Blair is spamming tens of thousands of Labour members with an appeal for funds and to ask people to sign up to his newsletter.
The request for them to sign up to his newsletter is highly significant – because it’s an acknowledgement that they haven’t yet. Blair has sent this letter unsolicited to a huge number of people – which is pretty much the definition of spam.
Even more crucial, though, is the question of how he’s doing it. These members will have given permission to the Labour Party to contact them – but not to Tony Blair or Open Britain, which are entirely separate entities.
The Data Protection Act 1998 places a duty on ‘data controllers’ not to reveal personal information they hold to a third party without the express permission of the individual concerned. As the holder of information on its 500,000+ members, the Labour Party is a data controller.
If – as seems likely – someone at Labour HQ gave Tony Blair a list of members’ email addresses, then either a or b below and c apply:
a) if Labour as the data controller consented to the disclosure of the data, the Party has committed an offence by doing so without the permission of the subjects and, as General Secretary, Iain McNicol would likely be held ultimately responsible
b) if Labour did not consent, then under section 55, subsection 1 of the Act, the individual employee or representative has committed an offence by disclosing it
c) under the same section of the Act, Tony Blair or his organisation have committed an offence by procuring it
Data protection breaches are serious and reportable incidents. The Labour Party needs to investigate this apparent breach urgently – and has a legal duty to do so – and to report the cause and how it happened to the Information Commissioner’s Office, who has a duty to pursue the appropriate sanctions against whomever is at fault.
Many in this country consider Blair a war criminal and, as the SKWAWKBOX exclusively revealed, he has authorised the use of armed forces personnel, masquerading as police, against UK citizens. It seems the vehicle for his come-back-slash-vanity-project may have made an inauspicious, if unsurprising, start by breaching laws meant to protect us all.
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