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back to article Office admin sacked for Blears abuse

An office administrator at the Department of Children, Schools and Families has been sacked for posting an anonymous comment about Hazel Blears on TheyWorkForYou - the government-funded* website which aims to increase political engagement. Lisa Greenwood, a £16,000 a year administrator, was sacked in May after an anonymous …

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Big Brother

What a Numpty

Fancy using your work email account, doesn't she realise they are watching you.

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Hmm

Now if mem servers me corretly in your terma nd conditions of employment went employed by goverment you have to have no bias of any polictal stuff.

Feel free to correct me if wrong.

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Black Helicopters

sinister

The most sinister thing about this is that someone traced the posting. Was it obscene or legally defamatory? I don't think so - so why was anyone from DCSF tracing stuff in the first place? Are they doing this with all posts made to theyworkforus? Is it in fact a honeypot to trap the unwary public and identify names to add to a 'watch' list?

/me barricaded into my mountaintop complex.

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New job opportunity

She should stand against Blears at the election.

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Stop

Very little sympathy

Never send ANYTHING out from a work email addy that could come back to bite you.

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Megaphone

Disrepute? How, exactly?

If the comment was anonymous, how the flipping photon can it be said to have brought annything into disrepute? Either there's some detail missing, or the Powers That Be have become even more deranged and vindictive than I previously realised.

Or maybe it's both.

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Anonymous Coward

Disgraceful

This is how democracy works? if you work for, you are owned by, the state.

anon because...

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Thumb Up

Hazel Blears...

...is a wonderful woman and I support her fully.

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Silver badge
FAIL

Posting from a work email account?

Epic fail.

Bite your lip, and then post your comment from home.

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Black Helicopters

duh

When will people realise that you are not as anonymous as you think...

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Welcome

give that lady a medal

i for one welcome our new shouty female overlord

never mind a P45 she wants to be the new speaker!

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Big Brother

Bye bye freedom of speech

Does this ruling mean that if you are a civil servant, you are not entitled to air your views of events that are in the public domain, no matter how emabarrasing for the executive? I wonder how much Big Brother spent on finding the author of this 'anonymous' posting!

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Black Helicopters

Monitoring their own staff's internet usage??

So anyone know how they tracked her down?

Were they monitoring their own staff's access to this site?

Or some other method?

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Dead Vulture

why ?

Why were anonymous comments being tracked and traced?

Were they tracking down EVERYONE who posted anything online anonymously.

Sure she should be sacked, but then she should not have been found out...

This article raises more questions than it answers!

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Idiots...

...there's no disrepute unless she posted that she was a minion. I assume she didn't publish her email address and affiliations?

The bringing into disrepute was by tracking her down, publishing who she was and sacking her.

Hope she gets a good lawyer takes them to the cleaners.

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Big Brother

Anonymous

Hi,

So basically, any anonymous post (or probably any that forget to mention how GREAT OUR LEADERS are and/or PRAISE OUR LEADERS) is traced??? What's the anonymous part of this then?

What's next? Send the Territorial Support Group to your home to beat you up (hey a nice way to save on travel, no need to go to protest any more). (I can see some UK style swatting coming...)

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Freedom of speech my arse

Wankers the lot of them. It was posted anonymously, so I wonder how much more of my (tax payers) money was wasted tracing this back to her?

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Alert

Bleary Hazel

As one of Bleary Hazel's constituents, I'm surprised it's taken the rest of the country so long to cotton on to her self-serving ways, at last we know why she always has that smirk on her face

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Big Brother

Anonymity is essential in political discussions

This story is a perfect example of why anonymity is essential when it comes to political discussion:

This person has been fired because of a political opinion. This is not acceptable in a supposedly free country.

If I were to slag off my politician-boss like this, I would have posted the comment using any anonymous feature the web site offers (and still not trust the features). If they force account creation (like here), I would created a new account using made up details and a spam.la or mailinator email address. I would then submit the comment through TOR, accessing the TOR network over an SSH tunnel out from the corporate network.

People need to educate themselves in these technologies, because those who would be tyrants given half a chance are still working for governments, and probably always will.

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Big Brother

Them v us

Well of course this girl got sacked....posting the feelings justifiably felt by many about thieving MP scum like Blears is obviously a lot worse than stealing thousands of pounds from taxpayers.

Welcome to Brown's Britain.

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Big Brother

I wonder...

...just how many NuLab apparatchiks are used to track & trace any comment/communication to a Gov website.

That's bad enough, but to be fired for having your own opinion is so typical of this Stalinist Caledonian dictatorship currently occupying my country.

I hope they don't come the old "fired for mis-using web access" crap as that would make them look even more ridiculous - if possible. We all know that no "offence" would have been committed had there been an anonymous sycophantic post, don't we?

When do they open the "Camps for Political Re-education"?

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Big Brother

Tracing of a non-offensive anon comment.

"...was sacked in May after an anonymous posting was traced to her work email account"

So let's get this right, post to any Government 'open forum' with an opinion that they don't like and you'll get the comment traced back to your door where they'll fire you for it.

I hope that she takes them to tribunal for it and drags them through the muck.

New Labour sometimes makes Orwells 1984 look less like a work of fiction and more like a documentary.

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Big Brother

Luckily

Luckily, I'm free to call Hazel Blears a freedom hating, ignorant, doom-mongering fuckwit. Made things that look like guns nearly-illegal to buy, great for Airsofters. At least the Daily Fail readers will feel safer (baseball bats, still legal though, natch)

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Silver badge

<Title/>

"Lisa Greenwood, a £16,000 a year administrator, was sacked in May after an anonymous posting was traced to her work email account."

Here we see evolution in action.

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Grenade

Have any of my anomymous posts been traced?

Because I have posted some stuff there too..

Perhaps somebody form the site should comment..

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Anonymous Coward

"bringing her department into disrepute"

Complete nonsense.

Just goes to show how easy it is to get rid of the little people when they make the most minor of mistakes.

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Flame

Frightening.

Think about this for a minute.

She posted anonymously, so nothing immediately gives her away as being an official, and more than likely is a member of the public.

What frightens me, is that even when working under the assumption that this post came from a member of the public, somebody with access to the (supposedly) independant TheyWorkForYou has gone and looked up the IP address, done the necessary research to find the IP was allocated to the Civil Service (I'm assuming they don't just pass all IPs on, not ready for the tinfoil hat yet), and then finally reported this borderline offensive comment to somebody with sacking power.

How many public posters have been subject to this type of investigation? Do all negative comments recieve this treatment? Have they run a whois on my IP as well? Yours?

El Reg:

If you've got nothing else on, I'd love to hear more about the how and why this IP was retrieved.

TheyWorkForYou probably won't answer my e-mails, and I'd really like to know who within the (independant) organisation has decided that it's their job research and report ALL/ANY negative comments. I'd also love to know who they report to.

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Anonymous Coward

Data protection Act

The site is run by a charity called mySocietly and if they have passed on email details to the Department of Children Schools and Families then they may be in breach of Data Protection Laws.

If I was Lisa Greenwood then I would go and see a lawyer about mySociety passing on personal details to a third party without her consent.

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Outrageous

This is totally outrageous, is it a one-off for They Work For You routinely give up the names of commentors?

Also, this persons comments seem to be the model of self restraint, the tirade that came out of me when I saw her doing her best 'lodsamoney' impression, cheque in hand, on the telly was rather more opinionated and explitive laden.

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Gold badge
Grenade

Except you can't do this.

"....agreed to pay the Revenue £13,000 to cover her missing tax payment...."

Private Eye pointed out how this works some time ago. She could apply to resubmit her tax return for the year in question and then pay the 13,000 quid bill resulting or, more likely, 13,000 quid plus interest and a big fat fine for tax evasion.

Just sending them a cheque will result in the cheque being taken as an advance payment against this years tax and in its eventual refund when its found not to be required (and rather conveniently after the heat's off).

But this is being seen to be doing the right thing, so that's all ok then.

When I originally saw this, I suddenly understood why the thieving bastards were falling over each other to "refund" any tax underpaid.....

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WTF?

Pause for breath

Perhaps the DCSF have logs of outbound traffic ... like many businesses do ... so they can track abuse. I do. But then I'm just a lowly PHP dev. What do I know? Perhaps all you C-tards can tell how the real men do it.

And as the first post pointed out, as a civil servant she is contractually obliged to be politically neutral.

Perhaps not as sinister as it first seems.

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Coat

This is a charity???

From the website...

"TheyWorkForYou is a website run by mySociety, which is itself a project of UK Citizens Online Democracy, a registered charity. It was originally built almost entirely by volunteers (see History below), but now mySociety pays Matthew to keep the site running and up-to-date as part of his wider work for mySociety. However, things are still added voluntarily by anyone who wishes."

Now, you don't email in comments, like on el Reg, so if they really did trace her through her email account she must have given it during the post and the charity then handed it over to the spooks. Nice. Or the spooks could be lying and have keyloggers etc on all the government PCs.

Their logo says "Keeping Tabs on the UK's parliaments and assemblies", but maybe that should read "helping the UK's parliaments and assemblies keep tabs on you".

Now, big brother or black helicopter? No wait - someone in dark glasses is going through my coat pockets!!!

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Silver badge

Truth and Democracy on Trial? .... or just Evidenced as Regularly Roundheadedly Abused.

Seems like a most unfair dismissal case for which there is normally compensation to be claimed.

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Big Brother

@Blitz

"New Labour sometimes makes Orwells 1984 look less like a work of fiction and more like a documentary." - Blitz

Nearly true, old lad.

They have in fact, adopted it as an instruction manual & party manifesto.

It has been in use since 1994 within the party, and imposed on the rest of us since '97.

Ten years ago, I was accused of being paranoid. Today, I am hailed for my perspicacity.

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Alert

@ John Oates

Echoing what EdwardP said - something to investigate here perhaps?

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Anonymous Coward

Hushmail...

or someone elses email account, or a generic email account. Easy really.

Although, anyone noticed how most free secure email services (with the exception of Hushmail) seem to be unavailable these days? Almost like someone doesnt want us using encrypted anonymous email services. Weird eh!? Kinda makes me wonder who owns Hushmail... (!)

Agree w/ all comments regarding the highly suspect nature of theyworkforyou/us ....stinks of shit, looks like shit, probably is...

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Silver badge

@eJ2095

"You are only sorry that you have been caught. You are a disgrace (including all the other honourable members). Why haven't you been sacked?"

Doesn't sound biased to me.

She just hates the whole damn thieving lot of them.

Hope she takes them to an employment tribunal. Could make for interesting news coverage.

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Black Helicopters

@ Unfair dismissal claims

She's shit out of luck on that one, as she was working there for under the required 12 months needed, to be legaly able to bring up any employment dispute action.

But certainly, I would love to know WHY they traced an anonymous comment.

Oh, and surely Civil Servants have to maintain political neutrality, when in an offical capacity. In private, they can vote for who they like and tell their neighbours that the whole bunch of unelected criminals deserve to be strung up with pianowire; and I would consider an anonymous posting as a private matter.

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Stop

'traced'?

I suspect that this person wasn't "traced" by a vindictive official tracking down the source of every negative comment on theyworkforyou.com.... more likely, the source of and/or keywords in an email she received from the site triggered an internal process.

As a civil servant she cannot be seen to be politically biased and it seems only reasonable that her WORK email would flag certain items for investigation. Take the 'government' factor out of this and all we have is an employee who used her employer's resources (the email system) to undertake an activity specifically prohibited by her Ts&Cs.

She knew she was doing wrong and admits that she expected to be disciplined... big surprise, she was!

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Big Brother

but why?

@Data Protection Act, you're right, they may well be in breach, but there is still something missing. All we've got so far is an anonymous posting on the site, and a population of 60 million who could have posted it (ok, minus infants/illiterates etc for the pedants).

What was it that made DSCF request the IP of the poster? Because if they had a specific reason for thinking it was from within the Civil Service, then a witchunt is a very bad thing, but if they requested it purely because the comment was negative (i.e is this routine practice?), then we are into some seriously sinister territory indeed.

Come on El Reg, this one's got some legs, can you do some more digging and find out what's going on?

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WTF?

Disrepute?!

She was found guilty of gross misconduct and bringing her department into disrepute.

How could she bring her department into disrepute when she posted anonymously, the only people bringing the department into disrepute are the nazis that tracked her down and fired her.

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Anonymous Coward

Political comment

"How dare you wave a cheque about on national TV, saying that you are sorry.

You are only sorry that you have been caught. You are a disgrace (including all the other honourable members). Why haven't you been sacked?"

Slap me if I'm stupid, but how on earth is this a political comment?

The post itself includes all of the thieving barstwards^h^h^h^h^h^h^h^h^h^h honourable members. So she was following Civil Master guidelines and treating all parties equally.

Oh I forgot Zanu Labour has to be treated more equally than the others.

But I’m not a Civil Serpent.

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Silver badge

Fail and OBEs

Well, apart from the fact that she should have been more careful about whose computer she used to post the comment, they should have awarded her an OBE for accurately capturing the mood of the nation rather than a P45.

I've been rude about politicians on websites but I use my own computer (and my own name) when I do so. And I don't work for the government, apart from as an unpaid tax accountant, like many others.

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Flame

Update...

I've been talking to MySociety, and they have NO record of this comment ever having been made, let alone being reported to the authorities.

They're investigating, but as of yet nobody has been able to track down the original comment.

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Stop

They are incompetent, yes

but have any of the people banging on about '1984' actually read the book. There's never been a regime as bad as the one in 1984, except perhaps North Korea, even Stalinist USSR didn't have telescreens.

As I've said before, Brave New World(by Aldous Huxley) is far, far nearer the truth - read it and understand.

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Theyworkfor...them

Five seconds of research finds that this fake outfit called Theyworkforyou is in fact a project of MySociety. MySociety is part of UK Citizens Online Democracy, a registered charity, number 1076346.

Sounds good.

However...

The "charity" UK Citizens Online Democracy is mostly funded from the Office of the Deputy Prime Minister, to the tune of £336,000 to date, Department of Transport to the tune of £25,825 to date, and the Department of Constitutional Affairs to the tune of £12,000 to date. There have been some smaller "private" donations.

They work for you?

My fucking arse.

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a civil servant she is contractually obliged to be politically neutral.

1. Where did you get that idea. There is nothing that says member of the civil service cannot be members of political parties or hold political views. What they are not allowed to do is allow their political views to influence how they do their job.

http://www.google.co.uk/url?sa=t&source=web&ct=res&cd=10&url=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.civilservice.gov.uk%2FAssets%2Fcs_code_tcm6-2444.pdf&ei=CvxRSoG_GqSRjAf1k-24BQ&usg=AFQjCNE-l1tDuCciWWTCWF9ZzMBMMXMe_w&sig2=ZJ6lTcY4JKw5GN4ApG6-Gw

2. The rant was not political it was directed at a poison dwarf who'd been caught with her hands in the till.

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Flame

@Dangermouse Brave New World

Agreed.

It's a less pleasant read than 1984, but gets far closer to the mark in my opinion.

1984's a story, Brave New World is dystopian social commentary.

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@David 63

Sorry, I'll correct that for you:

"a civil servant she is contractually obliged to be politically neutral in her job".

She's contractually obliged to behave in all sorts of ways ... at work.

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Happy

hazel

not surprised. I'm from Salford, and this sums up what we think about her:

http://www.salfordstar.com/article.asp?id=190

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