The timing of the latest gaffe in Owen Smith’s leadership campaign was exquisite. Just as the challenger was complaining about how “incompetent” Jeremy Corbyn is, his own inadequacy was laid embarrassingly bare.
The Labour leadership contender was humiliated when a campaign photo being circulated on social media revealed the login details for his phone-bank system.
— Another Angry Voice (@Angry_Voice) September 5, 2016
Call for Smith, anyone?
It’s believed that the photo was uploaded to Twitter by one of Smith’s campaign staff.
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It was swiftly deleted once the login details of Smith’s phone-bank system were noticed by the team. But by that stage, social media users had already seized on the embarrassing mistake, and re-posted the photo:
— James Brown (@Politicub) September 6, 2016
As this annotated version makes clear, the system link, client ID, username, and password were clearly displayed on the whiteboard in the campaign photo. The error could have enabled Smith’s phone bank system to be accessed, with all of its personal data, by anyone in possession of the login details.
Fortunately for Smith, the early detection of the unfortunate error allowed campaign staff to avoid that outcome. A campaign spokesperson told Buzzfeed:
The details were changed as soon as we were made aware of them being inadvertently posted on Twitter and the tweet was then immediately deleted.
We can confirm that there was no data breach and the login details were not used by any unauthorised users.
The devil is in the detail
Some commentators aware of the leak honed in on Smith’s choice of password for the account:
weirdest thing about Owen Smith password issue isn't they posted their security details, it's what the password is 😀 pic.twitter.com/T130kWvX2L
— Jo Phillips #GTTO (@joglasg) September 4, 2016
so Owen Smith's password is the name of a polling firm who work mainly with Sky News and the Daily Mail. hmmmm
— eyeswideshut (@eyeswideshut75) September 4, 2016
Survation is the name of a popular polling company that some allege may be involved in Smith’s phone bank operations. The company itself has not confirmed this.
Survation was responsible for conducting the poll that resulted in The Sun‘s controversial “1 in 5 Brit Muslims’ sympathy for jihadis” story. The tabloid’s interpretation of its poll results, however, was condemned by the company.
No fun Smith
Unfortunately for more mischievous observers, there were no pranks resulting from the blunder. Unlike in January when Corbyn’s Twitter account was hacked. In that incident, the imposter was able to lead Corbyn’s followers to believe he thought “davey Cameron is a pie” and that we should “f*** Trident”. The hack was quickly exposed and the messages deleted.
But coming at the moment it did, when Smith was raging against Corbyn’s supposed ‘incompetence’, this phone-bank howler highlights one important point. If you’re going to throw stones, make sure the house you’re standing in isn’t made of glass.
If it is, then the joke’s often on you.
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