Tuesday, May 01, 2007

Mean Fiddler accused of misusing Glastonbury registration data

Back when the registration procedure for Glastonbury was announced, we did wonder about what privacy guarantees were in place to protect all this juicy, valuable information.

It turns out none, as Mike Eccleshall has forwarded onto us a spam email that's been making use of the list of names:

From: donotreply@latitudefestival.co.uk
Date: Apr 30, 2007 3:21 PM
Subject: Latitude Music Festival
To: *****

Dear Festival Goer,

I'm sorry you were unable to get a ticket to Glastonbury this year. I hope there will be another chance for you to come during the next four years. Of course there's always BBC TV and radio to keep you in touch with the music that will be going on around the various stages.

Can I suggest that you might like to look at the possibility of going to another festival---namely the Latitude Festival, set in a beautiful part of Suffolk. Although much smaller it has some terrific music and has a similar feel to it by way of theatre comedy circus and much more.

Tickets are available at http://www.seetickets.com/?a=latitu&filler2=g

Best wishes and thank you so much for supporting our Festival

Latitude Festival

Mike's response is worth reading, too:
Dear Mean Fiddler / Latitude Festival / Glastonbury Festival,

I did not register for Glastonbury 2007 tickets to receive SPAM from (other) Mean Fiddler festivals.

Your email (copied below) does not contain an unsubscribe link, nor was an opt out option available at time of registration and is thus, under the terms of the Privacy and Electronic Communications (EC Directive) Regulations 2003, subsection 22 (C)'. illegal

(c) the recipient has been given a simple means of refusing (free of charge except for the costs of the transmission of the refusal) the use of his contact details for the purposes of such direct marketing, at the time that the details were initially collected, and, where he did not initially refuse the use of the details, at the time of each subsequent communication.

Please remove this address from all mean fiddler mailings immediately.

Please also reply at the earliest possible time with the relevant section of the Glastonbury Festival Ticket Pre-Registration Terms and Conditions which state that I have agreed to be contacted by you in relation to other commercial offers. Failure to do this will leave me no choice but to report this, massive (circa 400,000?) unsolicited mailing to the relevant Data Protection Commissioners.

Glastonbury Festival: Mean Fiddler have let you down.

Interestingly, they've broken Michael Eavis' word. It's been taken down from the official Glastonbury site now, but originally the tickets page had an assaurance from Eavis:
"I assure you that your details will not be used for any other purpose"
No information collected by registration will be offered for sale or use by any third party organisation. Unsuccessful ticket applicants will have their data destroyed and all ticket holders’ registration details and photos will be destroyed within one month of the event.

... but not before we've sent out ticket applications for Latitude.


James said...

I'm having flashbacks to Carry On Camping, when Sid James is getting fleeced for endless fees by the campsite owner, Mr Fiddler.

Sid: "Fiddler, eh? Has anyone ever told you your name suits you?"

CarsmileSteve said...

might Mr Eccleshall share with us who he sent the email to? several of my friends who received the same email want to get in on the act ;)

Unknown said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Unknown said...

Hot Jesus, what a lot of silly fuss over a polite email asking if he wants to go to a different festival because of not getting in to Glasto?

Personally I wouldn't mind getting such an email in the slightest. I certainly wouldn't waste my life complaining. If Mike loses his rag and needs to write a batey letter to the Spam Council over something like this, perhaps its better that he doesn't go to a music festival at all, where all manner of dubious rowdies will no doubt insist on playing repetitive beats and consuming alcoholic beverages until at least 11pm in the evening?

Anonymous said...

Tom, it's the principle of the matter, an issue of trust.

You may not mind a single polite email inviting you to go to another festival, but how do you know that's where it will end...and how do you know where else your contact data will end up? Eavis has already broken the 'no third party' promise. Why should the third party now police themselves and pass the info no further? Large scale email databases trade for BIG money.

Mean Fiddler have clearly broken the law. I know of one individual who was awarded £5000 under ther new anti-spam laws after complaining about taking legal action against a company sending him unsolicted spam of exactly this nature. Mean Fiddler should be very worried.

Unknown said...

Anon, you might have a point IF Mean Fiddler had sold your info to a third party, but seeing as they run Glasto AND Latitude, they haven't and are well covered in law by the small print. And it's not as if Meavis would personally endorse any old festival on his own website is it? Oh, hang on http://www.glastonburyfestivals.co.uk/

Anonymous said...

hi guys

'tis Mr Eccleshall here...

the point about this is that mean fiddler don't run glastonbury. Glastonbury festivals ltd does. They are seperate companies who have a level of mutual shareholding (49% of glasto is MF)
For MF to have access to, and to send email from, the Glastonbury mailing list is obviously not ok.

Interestingly i've had an email back from Glasto apologising profusely, and saying it won't happen again. Nothing from MF...


Simon Hayes Budgen said...

Also, Tom: Michael Eavis' personal promise was that registration details would not be used for any other purpose - a pledge which has clearly been broken.

Yes, it might have been polite, but generally people trying to sell things are, aren't they?

What Michael Eavis chooses to do on his own website is up to him - but what he does with people's personal data isn't.

ian said...

Unfortunately, the ICO is a toothless tiger with no powers of enforcement, less likely to scare ruthless organisations than, for example, a Michael Eavis mask

Anonymous said...

I assure you that your details will not be used for any other purpose"
No information collected by registration will be offered for sale or use by any third party organisation. Unsuccessful ticket applicants will have their data destroyed and all ticket holders’ registration details and photos will be destroyed within one month of the event.'

'I assure you that your details will not be used for any other purpose'
Well this has been breached but his own promise not law.

'No information collected by registration will be offered for sale or use by any third party organisation. Unsuccessful ticket applicants will have their data destroyed and all ticket holders’ registration details and photos will be destroyed within one month of the event.'

Well it wouldn't of been sold - See Tickets would of been the company that collected all the data and allowed it to be used - and in turn sent out the email. The festival hasn't happened yet so they haven't destroyed the data.

Glastonbury festivals Ltd is owned by Eavis Emily & Mean Fiddler - Mean Fiddler in turn is owned by Live Nation & MCD.

Can that Mailing list be used by a parent company? I don't know the legal standing on it. I have been told in previous companies that our mailing lists just get swallowed up by the parent companies as they own the data as much as the furniture.

It doesn't look too bad. Maybe a little naive to send out that email. They definately shouldn't do it again.

Simon Hayes Budgen said...

Mr. Bed:

The problem is you're trying to create a grey area where there isn't one.

People gave their details under a pledge that the information wouldn't be used for any other purpose; and it has been.

Trying to dance around and suggest that because Latitude and Glastonbury Festivals share a shareholder that makes them the same thing is ultimately meaningless - if you signed up for a competition in The Times, and suddenly you started getting spammed by ITV you'd be entitled to be miffed.

Part of the problem, of course, is the original registration process was botched and didn't have any clear indication as to who it was collecting the data, and what they intended to do with it. As I think we might have mentioned at the time.

And, yes, maybe one email campaign is a minor infraction, maybe it is a breach of the spirit rather than the poorly-drafted letter of their own t&cs. But if people hadn't kicked up a fuss, who knows what they'd do next? They've already proven they can't be trusted with the data.

Unknown said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Unknown said...

Simon, that's a dubious comparison - there are clear links netween Latitude and Glastonbury. It's more like if you signed up for something in the Guardian and then got a message from the Knobserver. For all this fretting over 'data protection', what are we talking about here - one more spam email in my hotmail? Forgive me if I don't immediately get my lawyer on the phone.

Simon Hayes Budgen said...

And there are equally clear links between ITV and The Times, in that they have shareholders in common.

Actually, I'd say even clearer links, in that I know exactly how The Times and ITV are connected, whereas my understanding is that the majority shareholder in Glastonbury has no connection at all with Latitude.

And, Tom, yes, it might only be "one more spam email", but if a supposedly good corporate entity is sending out spam, how can you complain about other spammers?

Especially after Michael Eavis gave his word that the information wouldn't be used in this way.

Unknown said...

No, but he did personally endorse Latitude didn't he? Using exactly the same words as that email. And Mean Fiddler and 'good corporate entity' in the same sentence? Well I never!

Simon Hayes Budgen said...

You say that like it makes it better, rather than worse.

If Eavis has signed off on this email, rather than it being done by an over-enthusiastic LiveNation worker without any knowledge on the part of Glastonbury, that would make the whole affair even murkier...

Unknown said...

No, of course it doesn't (if you care that) but you seem to be severely underplaying the link between Mean Fiddler and Glastonbury and Latitude. Yes, there's some compromise 49-51% fudge agreement between MF and Eavis&Eavis but as I understand Glasto is run each year as an equal footing partnership between the two. So to my mind its a bit naieve to imagine that by signing over such details to Glasto (which of course you're now compelled to do), you're only sharing them with the the nice cuddly Eavis bit and not nasty corporate Vince Power ('Live Nation' or whoever). Have you seen the Glasto site, front page btw? The text of that email is virtually reproduced there, 'signed' by Michael Eavis. I'd be very surprised if he wasn't aware of this ploy. The goodegged wrong-way-up-headed-one belies a damn shrewd mind.

Simon Hayes Budgen said...

The link between Glastonbury and LiveNation - which is something we've been banging on about as being a bad thing for the last five years or so, to be honest - is absolutely immaterial. Sure, it explains how the spam came to be sent, but it doesn't explain why Eavis so willingly and publicly pledged something, and then (apparently) happily allowed his partners to do the opposite.

In fact, I think we're both saying the same thing: the Glastonbury is a shrewd, commercial organisation that tries to present itself as being something other.

Anonymous said...

I think the live nation connection is scary, as is the connection with AMG SJM concerts, Gaiety music, and Metropolis, which operate, V, Leeds/Reading, T in the park, download, as well as owning a host of venues, ticket agents and artists agents. This practice of misusing data and collusion is a grey area, which i think should be clarified and the pirates involved put in prison!

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