Fined heavily

Today's news that the Ministry of Justice has been fined £140,000 because the details of 1,000 inmates in Cardiff prison were inadvertently sent out in emails will have sent cold shivers down the spine of many members of Plaid Cymru.

Less than a fortnight ago, as reported here, we inadvertently sent out an extensive list of members' email addresses and other details. In one respect what we did was more serious than what the Ministry of Justice has been fined for. They sent these details to just three families who probably wouldn't have done anything with the information anyway. We sent the information to a number of journalists who would most definitely be able, and perhaps willing, to make use of the information.

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3 comments:

Welsh not British said...

Last October an email was sent out by someone from a @wales.gov.uk email address and they forgot to use the BCC function and so a few dozen of us saw each others emails.

So if the Welsh Government can get away with doing this then I don't think Plaid should worry about it.

Obviously though the prison incident is disgraceful.

LeighRichards said...

is odd that this 'gaffe' should occur just before leanne was due to make her keynote speech to the plaid conference - the chances of this being just a 'coincidence' are very slim i would have thought. So its important that plaid are carrying out a full internal investigation of the matter as - given the timing - you cant help but wonder if this 'error' was the result of illegal 'hacking' by elements hostile to plaid or someone with equally sinister motives?

Thankfully leanne's very good conference speech ensured this 'error' garnered little public or media attention, so if its timing was intended to derail leanne's leadersip in any way or damage plaid cymru it didnt work!

MH said...

I don't think that being aware of someone else's email address is such a big problem, Stu. The nature of the information that was inadvertently released is what matters.

If the information is of a "press release" nature, i.e. a public statement, there's no real problem. I'm on a number of lists like that; and if, for example, it is a Labour or a UKIP list, it doesn't associate me with those organizations, it just means I'm keeping a watchful eye on them. Know your "enemy", as they say.

But if the email contains specific information about people it becomes something more serious, and even more serious if the data is wrong. If I appear on a list of recipients of information specifically sent to UKIP members, then it is serious because I am not a UKIP member.

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To Leigh I would say that nobody doubts this was an accident, and that I don't think the news was "timed" in any way. As I understand it, the news broke immediately after the incident occurred.

But on the other hand I don't think anyone doubts that what happened with the MoJ was an accident, too. Yet they were fined for it. The best I can say from our point of view is that the MoJ accident happened three times, which suggests the system was flawed rather than that it was just a one-off mistake. If what happened with us was just a one-off mistake, then it would almost certainly not be treated as severely as the MoJ incidents were.

The shiver down the spine is that the MoJ have a bottomless pit of taxpayers' money to draw from, so their fine is just an embarrassment, not a real hardship. (In fact, I'd question whether fines are an appropriate punishment for any public body, because the public end up paying rather than the people responsible for the mistake.) But any fine on us would severely effect our ability to campaign.

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