Last year, the SKWAWKBOX revealed an exclusive ‘smoking gun’ showing that Labour Party members’ data used unlawfully by right-winger Gerard Coyne’s campaign for General Secretary of the Unite union had been provided by defunct challenger for the Labour leadership, Owen Smith or his campaign team.
That smoking gun came in the form of Coyne campaign emails sent to addresses whose owners had only used them to register for Smith’s campaign in 2016, to keep abreast of its claims and tactics.
Under the Data Protection Act (now GDPR) it is illegal to share people’s data to third parties without the ‘data subject’s permission – or to use it for any purposes that have not been explicitly authorised by the data subject.
It seems that the ICO’s investigation came to the same conclusion – as evidenced by an ICO letter exclusively provided to the SKWAWKBOX:
The letter goes on, inexcusably, to say that no further action is planned – over a breach that affected hundreds of thousands of Labour members whose data was leaked to a campaign most of them – the Corbyn-supporting majority – would consider hostile to their interests.
Gerard Coyne, meanwhile, persists in incessant appeals against his defeat in the Unite election. One of his claims is that victor Len McCluskey incorrectly used Unite member data – even though the Returning Officer and Election Commissioner found that Coyne himself was the only one to have done so.
Coyne was sacked from Unite after the election for wrongful use of Labour member data provided to him by another Labour candidate – and this further confirmation makes his continued allegations even more ridiculous.
The Labour Party must now surely take action against Owen Smith – and should expel Gerard Coyne from the party if he is a member – for their flagrant misuse of data.
A misuse that might attract fines of millions of pounds if it had been committed under the new GDPR law and which, even under the previous legislation, could have attracted a fine of tens of thousands of pounds and for bringing the party’s integrity into serious disrepute.
Both Owen Smith and Gerard Coyne were contacted for comment.
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