A few straight questions for the Conservatives

This entry was posted on
Monday, January 28th, 2008
9:38 am and is filed
under The Political Weblog Movement.

The following is the list of questions that I would loved to have issued to CCHQ days ago, had Paul Staines not released his semi-embargoed explanation for this turn of events at 6pm on a Friday evening (in much the same manner as the spin-doctors he claims to loathe):

How long has the Daily Lobby distribution list server been in place?

Who is it designed for? (i.e. who uses it with your permission?)

Who knows about it?

Were you aware before Friday [25/01/07] that anyone who knew the distribution address [DailyLobby@conservatives.com] could send emails through your system that appear to come from the Conservative Party?

When will this loophole be fixed?

Has Paul Staines (‘Guido Fawkes’) used this facility before?

Does Paul Staines have your permission to use this facility?

For how long have emails sent through this system had the signature ending “Promoted by Alan Mabbutt on behalf of the Conservative Party, both at 30 Millbank, London, SW1P 4DP” attached prior to forwarding?

What signature, if any, was attached to emails sent through this facility before this?

How many recipients are there for your Daily Lobby distribution list server?

How does one opt in and out of the service?

Who is your most senior Data Protection Officer and are they aware of this list, the loophole and the way it has been hacked exploited?

I’ll let you know if I get any answers.

UPDATE (1pm) – Still no reply from CCHQ, and I’m sure you’ll be shocked to learn that Iain Dale is equally uninterested. Iain has also called me a liar without proof (again) and declared our conversation closed at that point. And people wonder how he can operate a weblog and avoid scrutiny at the same time…

(Of course, if CCHQ comes back with a series of answers, each more plausible than the next… then I’m sure Iain will become interested in the issue all over again.)

UPDATE (4:30pm) – *Still* no reply from CCHQ. Meanwhile, I learn that the rather telling past of one of the two ‘bloggers’ most fond of screaming “Personal vendetta!” when the spotlight is turned on them has not escaped everyone’s notice..

Yorkshire Ranter – How difficult can it be?: In other random poo-flinging, why the hell has nobody, Newsnight included, picked up on the fact that Paul De L’Aire Staines spent the late 1980s in various ventures supportive of the Afrikaans Nationalist government of South Africa, and therefore has personal reasons to despise Peter Hain? Ignorance is no longer excusable.

UPDATE (29 Jan) – Still no answers, but at least the nice people at CCHQ are talking to *somebody*…

Computing.co.uk – Commons Lobby in Tory security fiasco: It appears that the blogger “Guido Fawkes” discovered how to route emails through the Tory Press Office gateway that is used to file press releases to political journalists. He (she or it) used the route to claim responsibility for Peter Hain’s downfall and explained how he had done it to a political reporter on the Daily Telegraph – who then went on to publish a further email containing material demonstrating what could be done, and how, to the entire world. The results has been a deluge of unsolicited emails from unclear sources, using the same method to hack into the Conservative email gateway. Some, in the spirit of inquiry, have been trying to discover if the security breach is real. Other have used the channel to explore their feelings towards Parliament’s press lobby. A CCO spokeswoman said: “Our IT department is on to it and is changing the settings so nothing more can get through. I am really, really sorry.”

Wow. A Tory used the s-word. This *is* serious.

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