‘Centrists’ messaging some members and excluding others – but message same across country. But who is accessing data and who is paying?
The SKWAWKBOX has learned that centrists across the country are conducting a centrally-coordinated campaign to prepare to fight deselection, even before the deadline for them to inform the Labour Party whether they want to stand again has expired.
Centrist MPs from north to south are sending text messages to local members – but not to all of them. And the wording of the texts is identical, except for the details of the MP and constituency:
The texts have almost exclusively been sent to less experienced or established members or to those less well known as left-wingers in each local party. There is no option to respond ‘no’ to the question – only to say ‘yes’ or to opt out.
A number of members with experience of data protection have pointed out that these unsolicited text messages – on the MPs’ personal business rather than official party matters – raise serious concerns under GDPR data laws. As well as being unsolicited they appear to have been sent from some central system, meaning that members’ data has been shared to a central database without their consent.
The syntax of the text – “July 8th” rather than “8th July” or similar – might be coincidence, but may also suggest that data has been sent out of the country, to a location that uses US-format dates.
In addition, no information is available about who is paying for the system and messages.
Centrist MPs are clearly concerned that the prospects of their deselection are concrete – and are clearly trying to bank support long and harvest data before the formal trigger process begins.
So much is to be expected. But the manner in which they are doing so suggests the same kind of contempt for data laws and the rights of members that has characterised right-wing campaigns such as Gerard Coyne’s attempt to oust Corbyn supporter Len McCluskey from the head of the Unite union with data provided by the campaign organisations of other right-wingers, judged a breach of data protection by the Information Commissioners Office.
The revelation of these tactics should increase the likelihood of centrist MPs being deselected, if it becomes well known.
Left members organising for selection battles becomes more essential by the day.
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