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Wings Over Scotland

The secret collectors

Posted on May 04, 2019 by

Alert readers may recall our ongoing enquiry with the Scottish Conservatives and the Information Commissioner’s Office about what may or may not constitute a lawful and legitimate “petition”, if one is conducted over a period of several years (during which signatories may changes their opinions, or die) and is never delivered to its supposed recipient, but merely used as a data-harvesting device.

And excitingly there’s been a new twist.

We’re still awaiting a response from the Scottish Tories to our follow-up question from last month (detailed at the above link), but we’d also sought some clarification from our dear old pals the surrender-resistant shout-monkeys of Scotland In Union with regard to a couple of similar pseudo-surveys on their own shady spinsite.

Their response came in the form of some forwarded correspondence with the ICO, and it’s fair to say we were a touch surprised.

Yes, you’ve read that right. SIU’s “petitions” are designed never to be closed, and rather more curiously never to be sent to the Scottish Government. Rather than a list of named people objecting to a specified issue, SIU’s masterplan is to simply invent a number and insist – without providing any evidence – that that’s how many people support their viewpoint, or may have supported it several years earlier.

Their full letter to the ICO is below.

And this was the official response.

We’ve highlighted a passage in which the ICO suggests that SIU might perhaps check that signatories haven’t had a change of heart or alive-ness, but in the gentlest of advisory terms. It appears entirely unconcerned about the “petition” (a) running for an infinite period of time, and (b) not actually being a petition at all in any possible known sense of the word, and therefore being a collecting of data under false pretences.

Despite the claims on the page, no message will actually be sent to anyone.

So that’s some cracking news for anyone seeking to scoop up people’s details under the GDPR without fear of consequences – all you have to do is call your harvesting operation a “petition”, run it for as long as you like without sending it to the supposed or implied target, and you’re home free.

We’re sure the spammers of the world will have taken careful note.

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  1. 04 05 19 14:56

    The secret collectors | speymouth

35 to “The secret collectors”

  1. Neil Mackenzie says:

    Tchi t’ffff aaAaah. [*incoherent swearing]

  2. Robert Peffers says:

    Ye canna teach auld dugs new tricks, Rev Stu, and the three main unionist parties are the auldest dugs in the kennels.

  3. Ken500 says:

    Can someone put a link to the AUOB Glasgow 4th May route? Thanks

    Where will the Wings stand be from what time to what time. Thanks

  4. Hamish100 says:

    Bit shoogily on my phone but could someone not respond then complain under GDPR rules. Surely the information is gathered under false pretences?

    Moving off on the walk soon

  5. Garrion says:

    surrender resistant. this is now a T shirt in my mind.

  6. Ken500 says:

    Found the route –

    Wings stall at Glasgow Green

  7. Abulhaq says:

    “The education I received was a British education, in which British ideas, British culture, British institutions, were automatically assumed to be superior. There was no such thing as African culture”.
    Nelson Mandela

  8. Muscleguy says:

    Harvesting is everywhere. I applied for a job with a high street mobile intermediary company. I was unsuccessful, however a few weeks later I got a marketing call on my mobile from them claiming I had ‘been in contact about a new phone contract’. Which I denied since I haven’t been.

    I do not give my mobile no out to just anyone so the only way this company got it was by harvesting it from my, online, job application. I complained and got my no taken off and even manged to extract an apology, eventually.

    But they are all it because ICO is a toothless regulator utterly captured by the industry it fails to regulate. The only thing keeping them slightly honest is the EU. Post Brexit it will all get MUCH worse.

    We can only hope that post Independence Scotland sees all this and learns the lessons in setting up our own regulators.

  9. Abulhaq says:

    Superficially, the pronouncements of Ruth Davidson are suggestive of nationalist-unionism. John Buchan was one of the type. He envisaged Scotland playing an increased role within the changing power relationships of the British empire.
    Is Davidson offering soft nationalists and soft unionists a via media between hard nationalism and hard unionism, a historic compromise? Something that smacks of a species of UK federalism?
    As we saw with the worthless Vow, subversion is the dynamic of the Scotland v England Great Game. As with the Vow, we ought to smell an orange rat. Cui bono?

  10. Capella says:

    Great video of the March. It looks enormous. Great to see the river of flags. Some nice interviews too.

  11. Robert Peffers says:

    @Muscleguy says: 4 May, 2019 at 2:00 pm:

    ” … Harvesting is everywhere.”

    You can bet your boots it is. Try this one – googling some daft thing like Adult Male incontinency pads or hardwood toilet seats.

    Within minutes sometimes, you will become aware that adverts for those unusual items will be popping up in all sorts of websites you visit.

    I got a whole new heating system installed and wanted detailed information of the various control units the installed system used. So I googled the parts and downloaded the installation manuals. I was getting ads for the bits and pieced everywhere I went to on the web.

    Websites like the SMSM papers and news pagers everywhere all carried these ads. Probably instigated by Google. As you say – they are all at it.

  12. Fireproofjim says:

    AUOB March perhaps 100,000.
    And the Tories only manage about 180 at their conference in Aberdeen with all their top brass in attendance. Yet it is not impossible that with the skewed voting system allowing unelected party hacks to be MSPs, Ruth Davidson could form an anti-SNP alliance government with Labour, at Holyrood.
    Until independence is achieved we must vote only SNP/SNP, then you can vote for anybody you like.

  13. Ruth Davidson’s, speech at the Tory conference in Scotland, was about what the Scottish Tories would do for Scotland. If she thinks the Westminster Government would pay for all the things she said the Scottish Tories would do, she can think again. The Westminster Government will keep as much of Scotland’s taxes as it can.

  14. Fireproofjim says:

    AOUB March
    Good to see English flags being proudly flown among the sea of Saltires.
    Let nobody try to portray the independence movement as Anti-English.

  15. Eric McLean says:

    From what I understand about GDPR, there is an obligation to provide a regular reminder and option to remove your data.

    In other words, there is a burden on the organisation to ensure that the data is current, and the ‘opt-out’ is accessible and easy.

    Harvesting data over a long period of time, and storing the data for uses that are not transparent or honest, or indeed may change over time… Is not compliant with the spirit or letter of GDPR compliance.

    The answers above are, as usual, ‘soft soap’ to support the ‘establishment’ over the ‘separatists’

  16. Wullie says:

    No to Ruth Davidson for FM

  17. Abulhaq says:

    The English government used bribery of the Scottish establishment to effect the abusive Scotto-English marriage.
    Bribery was generally more effective than guns in the creation of the English imperium. It was, along with trade, the potent weapon of divide and rule. Mercantile venality readily finds the soft spots. The relatively small in number ‘British Raj’ in India ruled thanks to the often willing subservience of the majority. There may be less than 200 Tories in an Aberdeen conference hall but what they represent is significantly greater in terms of power. They have the brute force of British unionism behind them, and they know it.
    We recognize the enemies, we ought to give no quarter in dealing with them. They would have no qualms about returning the favour.

  18. Hamish100 says:

    Update from march.

    Ma feet are murdered

  19. Robert Peffers says:


    Just watching the March and going by the number of dogs on the march someone should do a Dugs Fir Independence Dog jacket. There’s banners for every other faction on the march including English For Indy and they are all most welcome but nae Dugs Fir Indy Banners or jaikits.

  20. Welsh Sion says:

    William Purves says:

    4 May, 2019 at 2:57 pm

    Ruth Davidson’s, speech at the Tory conference in Scotland, was about what the Scottish Tories would do for Scotland.


    You sure it wasn’t, ” … about what the Scottish Tories would do *to* Scotland”, William? 😉

  21. Footsoldier says:

    Looking at the Tory Conference in Aberdeen. during Ruth Davidson’s speech the BBC only gave a second’s glance at the audience at any time. Freezing the playback, the most I could see in any one shot was about 50 people and BBC were very careful not to show the whole hall lest it gave the impression of not being well attended.

  22. Abulhaq says:

    An introduction to the meaning of power and Realpolitik.
    A must read for the non-naïve.
    Truly not for the oversensitive. Beware ye snowflakes.

  23. David says:

    All those opinion polls no one has asked me except the Tories and that was a mail shot which I did not return

  24. Lenny Hartley says:

    Goodto meet up with 100,000 or so fellow seekers ofnormality for Scotland today, Organisors claiming over 100,000 , i would not dispute that. Even the Brit Nat numbers at George Sq had increased to maybe 20. Got to say dont think they know how to smile!
    Far better organised this year, allwalking on the roads , not crammed onto pavements
    Iike last year and no hold upd at traffic lights. I wasat Glasgow Green for aboutforty mins before i h had to head for the station and the masses coming the high street were eh massive.

    Well done to every one involved, my Seventy Three yearold sister in law who had never been on a march in her life was nearly in tears seeing the numbers.

  25. Dorothy Devine says:

    What a bonny sight it was ! All those Saltires made the sky blue.

    I was amazed to see the march still arriving as I set off for home.

    I did speak to a young policeman who asked me how man folk I thought were there. I told him I would hate to estimate and would just wait for the police to say between 3 and 5 thousand as they usually do – he laughed.

    Good to see some lovely Wingers – some playing tent poles!

  26. Eric McLean says:

    Sad to have missed such a grand march being away from home (in EU). But happy to see the turnout and positive energy.

    Sad to listen to the dismissal claptrap spoken by the ‘Scottish’ Tory Party Leader. But happy to know that her every weasel word gives strength to the Independence movement.

    Sad for Scotland stuck in this hellish Westminster Brexit mess. But happy that we are supported by good friends in the EU, and we will come home.

    Sad to see that the majority of the residents still pay their TV licences. But happy to see the Guardian only ‘broke even’, without a paywall

    Sad to see that my nephew (BSC Economics Hons, First Class) has gone abroad for work. But happy to see that he remains involved in the Independence debate as a committed Yes.

  27. Josef Ó Luain says:

    Plasticine directives administered by infinitely malleable officials – that’s the UK norm – you can be right or wrong depending on who you are or who you speak to and on which day. Real democracies, I’m told, have laws to prevent manipulative-ambiguity.

  28. Sinky says:

    Electoral Commission was never fit for purpose and time we insisted on foreign observers to report on conduct of elections held in Scotland.
    Why should Electoral Commission allow parties to campaign as “Scottish Labour or Sottish Conservative or Scottish Lib Dems ” without registering or revealing full details of the source of their funding.p

  29. Kenny says:

    The march started at 1.00, I was right at the end marchalling, and we left Kelvin Way at 2.00. Got to the Green at 4.30.
    Lots of folk going the opposite way to go home.

  30. Left Kelvin Park at 1.45 and arrived at the Green about 4.00. Still loads of people arriving, almost right up till about 4.45 when we were leaving.

    Only saw one incident where a driver lost the rag. She was held up around Renfield Street as we were crossing towards the Tron Church. She was going completely mental, screaming at the police man and then at the marchers. Funny thing is she was wearing a T-shirt with ‘Scotland’ across the front. Don’t think she appreciated watching us go by.

    Good natured march- as always, and clocked in on the Wings stall with Ronnie, Ian and

    Well done everyone, a brilliant turnout. The pipe band looked and sounded great and congratulations to the drummers who started us off and kept things going as the march left Kelvin Park.

    Felt sorry for the miserable people at George Square – they must have been really cold and they had to stand there for hours!!!

  31. Brian Doonthetoon says:

    Kudos to RT UK.

    They have a 3 hour 43 minute video of the whole march to Glasgow Green, done with no commentary, kinda like ‘candid camera’. There’s a break in the video at 2 hours 21 minutes until 2H 39M, when they start showing Glasgow Green from a high viewpoint.

  32. Gary says:

    I genuinely believe that they AREN’T using it to harvest data. They lack the intelligence to mount an operation of this sort. But i’ll come back to that.

    No, this, as they ADMIT, is a CAMPAIGN TOOL! They will run it forever (just on their own site [echo chamber]) to glean ‘votes’ in favour of being a ‘yoon’

    By their OWN ADMISSION their ‘petitions’ aren’t worth the paper they’re not written on. They can produce ANY STAT THEY LIKE and we can hit them with, by their own admission, the fact that the petition is utterly worthless.

    I imagine this is the sort of ‘throwaway fact’ a politician will quote during an interview. I REALLY HOPE THEY DO because we can utterly destroy their credibility for quoting such utter mince. These petitions are simply a poor attempt at giving legitimacy to bare faced LIES.

    This is DESPERATE.

    But, getting back to their absolute stupidity and how I believe it’s NOT actually data harvesting. If it WAS data harvesting it’d be out in the wild looking for OPPOSING votes to target with advertising. To be on their page/site you ALREADY have to be a rabid yoon and, as we know, rabid yoons NEVER change their minds, not even when presented with facts and overwhelming evidence. They lack the intelligence to admit they could be wrong. Yes, we can ALL be wrong but being smart is the ability to admit this and learn from it. Being stupid is doing it over and over and expecting different results…

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