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SNP forced to report councillor's alleged data breach to Information Commissioner’s Office

CORRECTION

The Morning Star would like to apologise to our readers and Councillor Chris McEleny. A headline appearing in yesterday's paper stated Mr McEleny had been reported to the Information Commissioner's Office for a data breach. We would like to clarify that while complaints were made, the SNP confirmed that no breach had taken place. 

 

THE SNP has been forced to report complaints to Britain’s data protection regulator following concerns about a data breach by a Holyrood hopeful. 

Inverclyde councillor Chris McEleny is said to have accessed the personal information of party members and supporters without their permission. 

The Morning Star understands that Mr McEleny had used data relating to Inverclyde SNP members, sending notices to their home addresses. 

Supporters are believed to have received these in July, with a number of complaints of a data breach subsequently made to SNP party headquarters, as well as the Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO). 

It is understood that party rules state a councillor can only access members’ details if they live in the ward they represent. But Mr McEleny is said to have contacted members across the entire branch. 

The ICO confirmed that it had received reports of concerns from the SNP. 

A spokeswoman for the regulator told the Star: “We are aware of concerns about correspondence sent by an SNP candidate. 

“The SNP have contacted us and indicated they are satisfied the issue does not meet the threshold for data breach reporting to the ICO.” 

The councillor, who was SNP group leader at Inverclyde council until last month, announced his intention to seek nominations to become a Holyrood candidate at the end of July, where he will challenge sitting Greenock and Inverclyde MSP Stuart McMillan. 

He was questioned on the issue on Twitter in response to a post announcing his candidacy bid, but failed to respond. 

The councillor has twice stood unsuccessfully for deputy leader of the SNP and served two terms on the national executive committee. 

Both the SNP and Mr McEleny were approached for comment. 

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