Last week, the SKWAWKBOX revealed that Blairite challenger Gerard Coyne’s illegal use of Labour party data to contact prospective Unite voters and even non-members of the union – and also the fact that multiple databases were abused in this way. There really was no room for doubt that a breach of the Data Protect Act had taken place.
Astonishingly, this morning, Coyne admitted it on live, national radio.
The BBC’s Jon Pienaar, on his Pienaar’s Politics show – another example of the national media playing catch-up to this blog? – asked Coyne about the DPA breach allegations. Coyne almost casually claimed his use of the data had been ‘agreed’:
For those who don’t have audio, here’s a transcript:
In terms of knowing the er, er, arrangement, the use of Labour Party data was something that was agreed, I believe it’s perfectly legitimate and that it was perfectly lawful as well. So it wasn’t a question of it being ‘put a stop to’, it was actually, er, concluded.
Incredibly, Pienaar simply moved on, without challenging that answer at all. Perhaps he’s simply as ignorant of the DPA (Data Protection Act) as Coyne is – or feigns being.
According to the DPA, if you provide your data to an organisation and grant them permission to use it – you give them permission to use it. You emphatically do not – unless you specifically agree otherwise – give them permission to share it with anyone else.
And doing so is a serious offence.
Labour members providing their data to the Labour Party give permission to the party for them to store your data and use it internally. Union members who give their data to their union do the same for the union.
Labour members who are not members of Unite emphatically have not given permission to Labour to share their information with a union they’re not part of – let alone one specific candidate in a union election.
In other words, Coyne’s claim that it ‘was something that was agreed’ is absolutely irrelevant.
He doesn’t have a legal right to agree it. Labour doesn’t. No Labour employee or elected official has either. Only the ‘data subject’ – the person whose information is held – has the right to agree to it being shared. And they didn’t.
Coyne also tells another lie, by claiming the use of the data ‘concluded’. This blog has received notification from numerous readers that they were receiving text messages and emails up to the end of last week, so the data has continued to be in live use.
Coyne must know this. Pienaar should have asked about it – probed, like interviewers are supposed to, rather than giving a free pass to a guest to say whatever they like, unchallenged.
The ICO (Information Commissioner’s Office) will certainly know it. Mr Coyne has just obligingly put himself on their hook like a suicidal fish. His admission has been added to the SKWAWKBOX’s information submitted to the ICO this morning:
Will they reel him in as they should?
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