Conservatives face legal investigation over by-election campaign

Oops indeed as the BBC reports:

The Information Commissioner is launching an investigation after the Conservatives accidentally sent details of 8,000 people to a radio station.

The e-mail sent contained the names, addresses, telephone numbers and intentions of voters in the Crewe and Nantwich by-election.

Deputy Information Commissioner David Smith said the disclosure, to Manx Radio, raised “serious concern”.

The Conservatives admitted a “mistake” had been made.

The information, which had been gathered by the Tories during the campaign for Thursday’s by-election, was contained in three Excel files, and was sent in an e-mail to Manx Radio by accident, potentially breaching data protection laws.

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This entry was posted in Parliamentary by-elections.


  • Oh dear – was it sent from Grant Schnapps e-mail address?

    Only 8,000 contacts in a by-election – no wonder the Tories ‘don’t get’ by-elections…

  • And all those Conservative voters who tell me `it’s between me and the ballot box`!

  • Are all Lib Dems nationwide totally sure their own systems are robust enough to avoid the risk of such lapses?

  • Iain Roberts 22nd May '08 - 9:25am

    Sounds like a genuine mistake to me, of the sort that could happen to any party.

    This sort of information gets passed around by email internally on occasion and it’s not difficult for the wrong email address to be put in (especially with auto-complete and the like).

  • Actually, the Lib Dems systems are robust in so far as all such information is produced by unique software and held in a format not generally or publically available, not in Microsoft Excel. Should a LD file go astray, I’m sure some genius, somewhere, could ‘crack it’, but why would they?

  • Cheltenham Robin 22nd May '08 - 11:14am

    I wouldn’t want anyone discovering our special formula for sticking double sided tape onto posters.

    Seriously though, it’s a genuine mistake which could happen to anyone.

  • Iain Roberts 22nd May '08 - 11:55am

    @Martin Land. The Lib Dem system, as standard, exports data in comma-separated value (csv) format which is perfectly readable by Excel.

    And as for why they would crack it: because they want the data for some reason (why bother having the regulations in the first place if no-one’s interested in the data).

    We shouldn’t hide behind proprietary file formats: I certainly wouldn’t accept that excuse from some Government department that lost my personal details.

    It could happen to us just as easily as anyone else so, like everyone else, we need to take care.

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