Wednesday, May 21, 2008

Whoops - Tories lose the plot

8000 names, addresses and the goldmine of voting intention data have been lost by the Tory party in Crewe and Nantwich - they emailed it to a radio station on the Isle of Man by mistake.


I'm sure that Ravey Davey Cameron will be quick to follow his own advice.

Mr Cameron said people would "be angry that the government has failed in its first duty to protect the public." He added: "What people want from their prime minister on a day like this is to show some broad shoulders, be the big man and accept some responsibility."

So who takes the blame, David?

As an aside - are 8000 promises enough to win? Hmmmm. Even in a by-election and relying on your core support....

A Conservative spokesman said the data was already in the public domain, except for voting preferences, which were encoded
Up to a point, Lord Copper.

You see, the electoral register IS public domain, but only in a restricted form. You can tick a box on your registration form and ensure that your details are not on the public register that is sold to the junk mailers and others. Politicians get access to the full register which includes all registered electors, so as the data here would have been based on the full register, the Tory spokesman isn't telling the whole truth. They note that the preferences were 'encoded' - not encypted, as I don't think you can encrypt individual cells in Excel. I am amazed that the spreadsheets weren't encrypted prior to being emailed. What I suspect he means is that they have used an internal code to identify voting intentions, a code that would be cracked in no time at all.

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