Filed under: Politics
Oh dear, Guido. I did try to be charitable and attribute your obvious lack of understanding of the Data Protection Act to the entire understandable ignorance of a layman faced with arcane and complex legislation and what do I get in return?
Is that really the best you can do, dear boy?
Well at the risk of being accused of further geekyness, lets finish the job of picking apart poor Guido’s allegation that ‘Labour Broke e-Laws During Election Campaign’.
First a quick recap. So far I think that I’ve more than satisfactorily demonstrated that the Data Protection Act more than adequately covers the outsourcing of e-mail campaigns to an external marketing company, that the use of web bugs is far from illegal and certainly not covered by the notion of ‘misrepresentation’ in the current regulations and that Guido’s allegation that Labour Party e-mails failed to include an opt-out link is - how should I put it - a pile of bovine excrement.
That leaves the issue of the party’s apparent tardiness in responding to subject access requests which has some small subtance to it, even if Guido got it wrong (again) in asserting that all such requests were held over until after election day on May 5th and, of course, Guido’s seeringly detailed analysis of the Labour Party’s privacy statement which runs as follows:
Question - did Labour’s privacy Statement explicitly say it would not give out info to an outside organisation?
Answer - Yes.
Q. Did Labour give out info to an outside organisation?
In actual fact, as Guido’s original post acknowleges, Labour’s privacy statement actually states that ‘You may be asked for personal information if you complete one of the forms on this site.’
Ah, right. Personal information - so, once again, we’re back to Guido’s ignorance of the law on Data Protecion.
You see, Guido, personal information, under the Data Protection Act is defined in terms of whether a particular piece of information can be used, in isolation, to identify a living individual to the recipient of the information. The upshot of this is that while, say, a name and address would be considered personal information as that would identify a specific individual, an e-mail address on its own wouldn’t, nor indeed with the combination of an e-mail address and a serial number which could later be used to cross-reference information obtained from a web bug within the e-mail with a master database of personal information held exclusively by the Labour Party.
Now, looking back over the e-mails I received from the Labour Party over the course of the election campaign I find that while they were sent to my personal e-mail address they actually contain no personal information at all - they weren’t even addressed to me by name as some other companies are wont to do. So, by a simple logical inference from the content of the e-mail we can show only that the marketing company, Email Reaction were provided with the e-mail adress & serial number combination necessary to send the e-mails and collate the information returned by the web bugs - what cannot in fact be shown is that any personal data, as defined by the Act - was ever shared with the marketing company.
Or to put it another way, Guido is talking utter bollocks - and that is a statement which would stand up in court.