Whaleleaks – Labour’s dubious email harvesting

WhaleleaksThe fallout continues for Labour off the back of their appalling treatment of member and donor information in its wide open website.  And the damage appears to be spreading to some of its closest allies – not that they’re saying so publicly.

As I said I have obtained more than 18,000 emails, many of which end in .school.nz. I wondered how labour could have so many emails or such a large email support base.

It now appears the NZEI has been feeding the Labour Party personal information for political use – and the Union is now frantically making excuses for how the Party came to be in possession of email addresses for those who signed its petition against Early Childhood Education changes.

Yesterday – the union sent an email to those who signed its ECE petition, attempting to explain why the Labour Party had all of the NZEI’s campaign data.

Some of the people who signed that petition are neither union members nor Labour supporters – and the tipline understands there are very unhappy people questioning why the NZEI shared this information with the Labour Party.  The NZEI is now trying to cover its tracks by pinning the blame on Sue Moroney.

From: NZEI

To:

Sent: Friday, June 17, 2011 xx:xx AM

Subject: ECE Postcards Update

17 June

Early Childhood Education Postcard

Thanks for signing a NZEI Te Riu Roa early childhood postcard last year calling on the government to reverse cuts to early childhood funding. Our campaign is continuing and we encourage you to support events around New Zealand on July 1 – see www.ecetogether.org.nz for more information on events near you.

Tens of thousand of the postcards you signed were presented to Labour’s spokesperson on early childhood education Sue Moroney late last year, for her to present to the Prime Minister as no Government MP was prepared to receive them. Unfortunately despite a number of attempts by Sue Moroney, the Prime Minister has not yet shown a willingness to receive them.

Sue Moroney has since informed NZEI that she planned to email you, as a signatory to the postcards, to let you know of this situation. Some signatories may have been sent this email in April.  Others of you may not have received anything.  However, in the meantime, it appears the list of email addresses she compiled formed part of a Labour Party database that was recently accessed by an unauthorised person(s). You may have already received an email from the Labour Party notifying you of this problem.

NZEI provided the postcards in good faith to Sue Moroney to present to the Prime Minister.  As an independent organisation that is not affiliated to any political party, NZEI did not, and does not approve of any unauthorised use of personal emails.   We never give personal information to political parties or organisations to use.

We have made clear to the Labour Party that we are very concerned about this situation and have requested that any emails obtained from NZEI postcards be deleted from their database.

Yours sincerely

Paul Goulter
National Secretary

The key line in this email is right at the end:

NZEI provided the postcards in good faith to Sue Moroney to present to the Prime Minister …  We have made clear to the Labour Party that we are very concerned about this situation and have requested that any emails obtained from NZEI postcards be deleted from their database.

Those on that database have already received an email from Labour apologist Chris Flatt.  But, unlike the version of the email which I reproduced last week, the version sent to these people was slightly different (relevant sentence here – full email below):

The database stores email addresses and, in some cases, names of supporters and other members of the public, including those who have signed up for email updates from the Labour Party or have signed petitions.

But this situation gets worse for Labour.  Because they’ve been caught wrongly using petition signatures before, and last February Mr Flatt promised it would never happen again.

“A staff member used the database of signatories without Grant’s knowledge or approval. This is highly regrettable and I can assure you and other readers that it will not happen again.”

Labour was obviously lying. So what other names does Labour have that they’re not supposed to?

Below – full (and slightly different) Chris Flatt apology sent to those who signed an NZEI petition not knowing their information would be shared with the Labour Party.

—– Original Message —–

From: Chris Flatt

To:

Sent: Monday, June 13, 2011 X:XX AM

Subject: Important information – Labour database breach

Last night we discovered the possibility of a malicious breach of the private contacts database within the Labour Party website. We began an investigation immediately.

Earlier this morning we isolated a system vulnerability that we believe has been exploited by a prominent right-wing blogger.

The database stores email addresses and, in some cases, names of supporters and other members of the public, including those who have signed up for email updates from the Labour Party or have signed petitions.

If you are receiving this email it is because your email address was stored within the compromised database.

In response to this intrusion:

• we have secured the system to ensure that a similar breach cannot happen again.

• we will commission an independent security review of our databases.

We understand the seriousness of this kind of event, and we apologise unreservedly.

Sincerely

Chris Flatt

Labour Party General Secretary

To unsubscribe, please click here.

Authorised by Chris Flatt, 160 Willis Street

Wellington, WGN 6011

New Zealand

Labour have been caught pantsdown lying again. When will they start telling the truth to the New Zealand voting public. I wonder too whether Blue State Digital is happy that one of their star clients is executing so poorly their strategies for online political discourse.

Harvesting emails without permission is bad enough, but using those emails is actually a breach of several laws.


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As much at home writing editorials as being the subject of them, Cam has won awards, including the Canon Media Award for his work on the Len Brown/Bevan Chuang story. When he’s not creating the news, he tends to be in it, with protagonists using the courts, media and social media to deliver financial as well as death threats.

They say that news is something that someone, somewhere, wants kept quiet. Cam Slater doesn’t do quiet and, as a result, he is a polarising, controversial but highly effective journalist who takes no prisoners.

He is fearless in his pursuit of a story.

Love him or loathe him, you can’t ignore him.

To read Cam’s previous articles click on his name in blue.

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