TheyWorkForYou nothing to do with this sacked civil servant story

Update: The Telegraph posted a retraction yesterday.

You may have seen coverage on various websites saying that a civil servant was sacked after posting a comment on TheyWorkForYou.

We’ve no idea what this story is about, but we’re pretty certain it has nothing whatsoever to do with TheyWorkForYou. No journalist bothered to contact us before running the story.

  • There is no comment on TheyWorkForYou containing the text quoted in that article, nor anything like it, nor has there ever been. Nor in fact (as we’ve checked), on HearFromYourMP, WriteToThem, or WhatDoTheyKnow.
  • Only one comment has been left on any contribution by Hazel Blears in 2009, and it’s definitely not related to this.
  • 27 comments were left on 13th May, the date the comment was apparently posted; we’ve read them all and they’re all nothing to do with this.

So frankly, we’ve no idea what’s going on.

What we do know is that the implication that mySociety would merrily hand over sensitive personal data that ends up in getting someone sacked, without fighting tooth and nail for their privacy every inch of the way, is a complete misinterpretation of the way we work and the things we hold most dear. No-one has ever contacted us to ask us to hand over such data, nor have we ever done so.

We think what might have happened is a simple mis-remembering of the website that contained the problematic comment. We’re hoping to get in touch with Lisa Greenwood so we can get full details before asking the various media companies that have run with this for a correction.


  1. I think most commenters who have a clue have been saying that it will be her workplace tracing her internet usage via their own servers rather than thinking it was anything to do with you.

    Unfortunately, there are many who haven’t got a clue so don’t blame you getting a clarification out.

    Does make you wonder why the media would specifically mention you though.

  2. The story only really makes sense if the site that she was posting onto was explicitly partisan. I’d guess it was some sort of Tory forum, which might explain why the Telegraph and Mail appear to have ‘misremembered’ the source.

  3. “No-one has ever contacted us to ask us to hand over such data, nor have we ever done so.”

    Isn’t it a requirement of the RIP act that you have to say that even if you have handed over the data?

  4. I Am Not A Lawyer. But I’m not sure how the RIP Act applies to what I said or this instance – we’re not a telecommunications service/system, this is not about communication data, or the interception of data being transmitted. Which part of the Act are you referring to?

  5. Oh, this is probably just something timed to coincide with the vote on the ID Cards Act – the papers have also been full of stories about the Tories planning to hand NHS records to Microsoft and Google.

  6. That clears up this part of the story. Shows it up as sloppy and incomplete. But there are loads of other questions. Presumably the comment albeit “anonymous” was in work time on a work computer using a work email account or at least IP? And presumably there would have to more than one 10 minute aberration of doing this just the once to get summary dismissal for gross industrial misconduct, effectively theft?

    Despite the relatively short service (7 months) Lisa might have various grounds for a claim for wrongful dismissal and should consult her union and/or lawyer.

  7. This seems to be another clear example of one rule for us and one rule for them.Steven Broomhead, the Chief Executive of a Government Agency , paid £180,000 per year by the taxpayer can get caught sending texts about dying Pakistanis including the use of the ‘F’ word and not only keeps his job but actually gets promoted to another Government board. A lowly paid civil servant critices a Government Minister and gets sacked. A quick google of Steven Broomhead, racist text will substantiate this allegation. It really does make you despair.