So, Yes Scotland has been forced into a third climbdown and has said it will no longer harvest the details of its Twitter followers. In the future, those pictured on the website will have signed up actively in some way to support the campaign or have signed the Declaration of Cineworld. I get a mention in the article in the Herald. I take slight offence to not getting any credit in the Scotsman article.
For me the final proof that I actually had a point comes from a post on that Cybernats’ Haven, Newsnet Scotland. When I went to the Political Innovation day in Edinburgh in November 2010, Joan McAlpine was waxing lyrical, at length, about how fabulous this website was. This is the same Joan McAlpine who thnks that if you don’t agree with SNP policy, you’re anti Scottish and that the union compares to an abusive relationship. This is also the same Joan McAlpine whom Alex Salmond refuses to sack despite her outbursts and also discourtesy to Parliament.
The Newsnet article is hilarious. It accepts that NationBuilder counts Twitter followers as supporters, a point still being denied by Yes Scotland as recently as yesterday, but it tries to portray it as a denial of what I was saying. They also spell my name wrong.
Harvesting people’s personal information without their consent, then creating them a profile that they didn’t know about and putting their avatars on the front page of a site under a banner which implies support is devious and underhand, whoever does it.
I’ve been accused on Twitter of not attacking Labour for doing the same thing when they apparently used similar software. You can bet your life that if I’d ever been made aware that I was being used to promote the Labour party that I would have been as livid, but to my knowledge this has never happened. Nobody ever told me they saw me on the Ken for Mayor site, even though I was following him on Twitter.
It’s hardly like I have any input at all in whatever software Labour use anyway.
The comments on this Newsnet Scotland piece would also be funny if they hadn’t been made in all seriousness by people:
The YES campaign needs to be whiter than white until or unless there is a Damascene conversion in some of the MSM and a more balanced presentation of the issues is made. I will not wait for that to happen though (Hell and frost come to mind).
So they shouldn’t behave with integrity because it’s the right thing to do, but only until the media starts to agree with them and then they can unleash whatever dark arts they like? Lovely.
I know, though, that this is only a passing story. This is not the stuff of discussing Scotland’s future, as The Shoogly Peg has pointed out. But I think it is important to spend some time ensuring that the ethical basis on which the campaign is being fought is fair and right. At least a woman’s voice has been heard somewhere in the vicinity of the referendum campaign. And The Burd and I have plans to up the quality of the debate on the actual issues over the Summer.