Did Virgin Trains break the law by releasing CCTV footage of Jeremy Corbyn?

Sometimes public transport offers you no choice but to stand.

Sometimes public transport offers you no choice but to stand.

Everybody has been getting so thoroughly animated about whether Jeremy Corbyn could have had a seat on a Virgin Train that they appear to have missed a fundamental aspect of the story.

Virgin broke the law when it released CCTV footage which it claimed showed Mr Corbyn walking past empty seats to sit on the floor.

Steve Walker was quicker than This Writer to produce an article about this, so I’ll hand over to him:

There is another key question to address: that Virgin may have broken data protection laws in apparent eagerness to protect their commercial interests by making a politician who is unashamedly on record as wanting to re-nationalise a key money-spinner [look like a liar].

There’s nothing whatever in the rules that states a company can release CCTV of an identifiable person in order to shore up their commercial reputation that might be damaged by revelations of over-full trains (although Corbyn only talks about general overcrowding issues, not Virgin’s).

By releasing it online and to the BBC so that the BBC can use it for entertainment – which BBC News undoubtedly is – both organisations appear to have contravened the ICO’s specific prohibition, since the BBC is evidently not protecting Corbyn’s identity as adherence to the Data Protection Act requires.

You can read Steve’s conclusions by visiting his own site, here: Did Corbyn stage traingate? Clearly not. Did Virgin/BBC break law? Probably. | The SKWAWKBOX Blog

The Information Commissioner’s Office has published the rules on making CCTV images public, as follows:

160823 CCTV law


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22 thoughts on “Did Virgin Trains break the law by releasing CCTV footage of Jeremy Corbyn?

  1. David

    Any stick will do to beat Corbyn with. How do we know that the apparently empty seats weren’t booked for people getting on further on up the line?

    1. Mike Sivier Post author

      They would have had reservation notices & he could have used them until the people who reserved them got on.

      1. Joan Edington

        On the clip I saw on TV last night, every empty seat did seem to have a reservation ticket. Obviously you can’t see where folk were getting on.

  2. wildswimmerpete

    The Corporate State won’t give up trying to bury JC as long as he’s treading on corporate toes. I hope to see the day JC becomes PM and realises his aim to renationalise both rail and bus transport.

  3. wildswimmerpete

    Not for publication. Mike, why do you immediately delete my contributions? I suspect this is something personal? Perhaps I shouldn’t bother anymore? I’m very terse and blunt simply because of the consequences of stroke, writing meaningful prose still quite an effort even after four years.

    1. Mike Sivier Post author

      It’ll have to be published simply so I can answer: I am not immediately deleting your comments.
      There are none in the Trash file and none in the Spam either.
      This comment is an out-of-the-blue surprise.

      1. Hairyloon

        Is the site possibly a bit glitchy?
        You’ve never given me explanation for why some of my posts have not been published, and I’d like to think that you’re too decent to delete them just ‘cos you don’t like them…

  4. Tim

    It would be funny if Mr Corbyn, who has been calling out for much more openness and transparency, was offended by and complained about footage recorded of him in a public space on a train. Even the most thin-skinned Corbynista would find that slightly amusing, surely?

    1. Mike Sivier Post author

      He hasn’t complained about that, I think.
      But it is against the law to publicise that footage.

  5. brian RICHARDSON

    it wasn’t Virgin Trains, it was Virgin Trains East Coast, different company & different rolling stock

  6. Tosh

    One of the original Virgin images had other peoples faces on them, I know if I was one of them I would sue there ass,

      1. Mike Sivier Post author

        What business is it of yours? The mere fact of being recognisable in the footage is actionable.

Comments are closed.