@gerard_coyne admits to DPA breach on live national radio (with audio)

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.

Gerard Coyne

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:

ico email.jpg

Will they reel him in as they should?

The SKWAWKBOX is provided free of charge but depends on the generosity of its readers to be viable. If you found this information helpful and can afford to, please click here to arrange a one-off or modest monthly donation via PayPal. Thanks for your support so this blog can keep bringing you information the Establishment would prefer you not to know about.


  1. I keep receiving emails from ‘Open Britain’. Is McNicol or Labour HQ passing my data to them also? This is a serious breach and there should be an independent investigation in the Labour Party

      1. I don’t remember doing so and certainly didn’t sign up for Open Britain group

      2. There have been suspicions about a similar leak of Labour data to Open Britain. Currently not enough information to do much with, but that may change.

  2. Reblogged this on Sid's Blog and commented:
    Softly, softly catchee 🐒

    And to mix metaphors

    Coyne is caught and just needs reeling in, hoisted by his own leotard

  3. Disappointingly, Pienaar framed this issue as one of merely showing partiality to a particular candidate, rather than a DPA breach.

    Coyne’s reply was rather bemusing:
    “Actually, this has been happening across the piece- back in December, Momentum emailed all of its members [duh!] asking them to join Unite”.

    That’s not the same thing, Mr Coyne (clue: Momentum has permission to contact *its* members).

  4. there is that enticing phrase “you agree with us sharing data with selected third parties” which allows, for instance, banks etc to share data with credit reference agencies, who have also got contracts with the DWP…..

  5. I may be wrong, but didn’t Labour get told off for re-using data/emails recently? I think it was something to do with having “signed up” (for something) there was an implied agreement that the data could only be used for that single matter and not for other reasons. I think the resolution was to adjust the signup agreement to extend the usage to other “related” uses while still keeping that data strictly for Labour only usages.

    I may be wrong and it might not have been Labour specifically, but it was for a similar type of “sign up” that was for a reason and then without explicit agreement the usage was extended.

    As to the point about using the Momentum lists, if the email was sent by Momentum but “on behalf”… and the initial Momentum signup/data capture had stated, at its most simplistic, been “for other uses by Momentum and/or…” then that would be an entirely different case than giving a third party the list (unless agreed in the toc’s) to then allow them to use it.

    It seems that Coyne has got hold of the email lists and used that information directly… which means that the lists were given to a third party (Coyne) for the mailings (which was not agreed when signing up to Labour).

    Sadly it looks like Labour is, potentially, on the hook for giving the email lists to a third party for a use that was not agreed upon signup to the Labour system/email list… the question is was the list the full Labour members email list, the “£3’ers” list (and/or subsequent challenge) or some combination of all three. As far as I can recall the “£3’ers” was only for the /specific/ use of the original leadership race and the subsequent challenge (I’m going on memory here, so might be wrong on what was agreed usage wise)… so should not have been reused and most definitely not given to a third party and also not merged into the standard Labour mailing lists.

    1. Also as an aside: “Saving Labour” were trawling for emails with their registration program, which as I recall had no TOC’s presented and also no way to cancel a registration… just a data controller listed to write to (a mailing address in a multi-company “name plate” address) and hidden away. The site is currently down, so can’t see if it was changed and/or a proper TOC was retrospectively added. Which makes me wonder if that might be, or also be, where Coyne got his lists from as that would be a far more valuable list due to the fact that it would be more likely to be an anti-Corbyn list (although many Corbyn supporters also signed up so they could keep tabs on SL).

    2. Yes, see the article just posted about Labour being warned by the ICO about giving data even to candiadtes in its own internal elections. Supporters have also complained about being contacted, as well as full members.

  6. Coyne says he is opposed to the union involving itself in Labour Politics and yet gets his friends in Labour to break the law on his behalf.

    Not only is he incompetent but dishonest as well.

    No surprise there though.

  7. just wondering if anybody that has received Coyne’s email unlawfully has made an official complaint to the ICO. Once official complaint is made they have to investigate it. I work in the field so just wondering if the proper procedure has been followed

Leave a Reply

%d bloggers like this: