back to article Lib Dems, UKIP's websites go TITSUP* on UK local election launch day

Several political websites using the NationBuilder platform have been down for almost 24 hours – perfect timing for the launch of the UK’s local election campaign. The biz, whose marketing bumpf promises “software for leaders”, is used by a range of political parties, including the Liberal Democrats in the UK and Labour in New …

  1. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    That's got to be frustrating for the two lib-dem supporters in the UK.

    1. ArrZarr Silver badge
      Windows

      To be fair, it would never occur to me to check their website as all the guff on it would have been written by politicians, best of the bunch or not.

      1. TRT Silver badge

        This web campaign brought to you...

        by The National Spam Party.

    2. Teiwaz Silver badge

      That's got to be frustrating for the two lib-dem supporters in the UK.

      What? Only two sane* people in the UK?

      Sounds about right these days...

      * Which isn't saying much, considering the state of the party, just you'd need to be rabidly insane to vote for the other two main parties, they've taken turns mucking up the country for decades...

      It's only local elections, where I grew up, the Councils weren't allowed near anything important apart from REfuse Collection and Arts Council funding type activities....

    3. macjules Silver badge

      You think that they actually have TWO supporters?

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Well, I'm one of them, so my wife must be the other. The Libs have a good chance of getting the Tory swine out where I live. The Tories are intent on destroying the country locally and nationally and will never get my vote again, unless it's tactical.

  2. wolfetone Silver badge

    Typical Politicians

    They promise you everything but they never deliver.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Typical Politicians

      A day late and a dollar short

  3. monty75

    And zero f***s were given

  4. TRT Silver badge

    They'll blame the Russians you know.

    ...they always do.

  5. Dan 55 Silver badge
    Devil

    NationBuilder, eh?

    191 Million US Voter Registration Records Leaked In Mystery Database

    So who's worse, Cambridge Analytica or this other shower of bastards?

    Roll on the GDPR.

    1. Alister Silver badge

      Re: NationBuilder, eh?

      Roll on the GDPR.

      I don't know why there is such unbridled optimism that the GDPR will magically fix all IT security issues. In my view it is more likely to be an unmitigated disaster, just like all the other government led security initiatives.

      1. Dan 55 Silver badge

        Re: NationBuilder, eh?

        It is a very big stick, and enough businesses will get hit with it to bring about a change to the marketing-led free-for-all that there is going on at the moment.

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: NationBuilder, eh?

          I'm expecting in about 18 months time there'll be a crisis in the charity sector due a severe drop in income as a result of their inability to write to supporters who didn't return the "yes you can contact me" forms.

          1. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

            Re: NationBuilder, eh?

            a crisis in the charity sector due a severe drop in income as a result of their inability to write to supporters who didn't return the "yes you can contact me" forms.

            That'll be the National Trust in my case. Their effort has a very nastily misleading header on the top of the letter. It's a picture of a very large ticked box beside a headline "Stay in" clearly intended to give the impression that you'd lose your membership if you failed to tick the boxes on the form. Of course it only refers to their mailing attempting to flog me cruises, holiday cottages and all sorts of other stuff I've no interest in so they'll actually save money by my not opting in. I'm considering a complaint to the ICO as it clearly gives the impression that membership is tied to accepting their marketing guff which is contrary to the GDPR. Whilst I'd not like the NT to be fined a public caution might be a warning shot to others.

        2. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: NationBuilder, eh?

          It is a very big stick, and enough businesses will get hit with it to bring about a change to the marketing-led free-for-all that there is going on at the moment.

          It's a very big stick that will be waved at a few businesses in a vaguely threatening manner, while their lawyers look for loopholes, the lawyers' bank managers rub their hands in glee, and the politicians go on TV to tell us "see, we're doing something about it".

      2. Lars Silver badge

        Re: NationBuilder, eh?

        Is about more than IT security issues.

      3. Phil O'Sophical Silver badge

        Re: NationBuilder, eh?

        I don't know why there is such unbridled optimism that the GDPR will magically fix all IT security issues. In my view it is more likely to be an unmitigated disaster, just like all the other government led security initiatives.

        Not a disaster, just ineffective. People get all excited about the "€10m" and "2% of turnover" fines, but the current ICO limit is £500K and few companies get hit with even a quarter of that. I think TalkTalk's £400k was the biggest so far. I wouldn't be at all surprised if most GDPR punishments were the usual £20k - £50k smack on the wrist.

        As usual it will probably just make lawyers & popcorn suppliers richer as people argue over how it shoudl be implemented.

        1. Alan Brown Silver badge

          Re: NationBuilder, eh?

          "the current ICO limit is £500K and few companies get hit with even a quarter of that. I think TalkTalk's £400k was the biggest so far. I wouldn't be at all surprised if most GDPR punishments were the usual £20k - £50k smack on the wrist."

          One of the things driving GDPR is the fact that "some" governments (not mentioning any in particular) would abolish fines, whilst others have a "within living memory" history of governments who kept large files on anything and everything about their citizens.

          The driving force behind GDPR is to ensure that 'smacks on the wrist' go away and that punishments are more-or-less the same across Europe. Brexit won't change that, as in order to continue trading with the EU, the UK will be required to abide by GDPR rules and post-Brexit won't get to play silly buggers with rule interpretations anymore like it used to (nor will it be able to ram unpopular shit through Brussels over everyone's objections, then enthusiastically implement it as home whilst blaming Brussels)

          The current chocolate teapot status and Whitehall handcuffing of the ICO is going away, by order of the EU.

          1. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            Re: NationBuilder, eh?

            The driving force behind GDPR is to ensure that 'smacks on the wrist' go away and that punishments are more-or-less the same across Europe.

            I'll not be holding my breath. Who (or what) will be responsible for setting the fines?

      4. Alan Brown Silver badge

        Re: NationBuilder, eh?

        "I don't know why there is such unbridled optimism that the GDPR will magically fix all IT security issues."

        The GDPR itself won't fix anything.

        However it is a VERY BIG STICK to beat miscreants with, when they fuck things up.

  6. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    mmm, seems theres 1 law for us and another for tory MP's

    Why the hell hasn't that hacking MP been thrown in jail for crimes under the computer misuse act?

    Does not matter if they guessed the password, un-authorised access is unauthorised access under the law, and damage was done.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: mmm, seems theres 1 law for us and another for tory MP's

      Agree, it's why we have "Not in the public interest" when it comes to the law so that people with power can get away with whatever they want. No doubt the only reason for the apology was because she has been found out.

      1. Teiwaz Silver badge

        Re: mmm, seems theres 1 law for us and another for tory MP's

        "Not in the public interest"

        Call it like it is, Not in controlling the Public Interest when the law is ignored or waved by those in power.

        1. rmason Silver badge

          Re: mmm, seems theres 1 law for us and another for tory MP's

          I know it would be lovely to see an "us v them" situation here - but you or I would receive the same treatment, due to the age and nature of the offense.

    2. Dan 55 Silver badge

      Re: mmm, seems theres 1 law for us and another for tory MP's

      When I read something which tells me exactly what she did, then I'll know whether it was hacking or not.

      1. Craigie

        Re: mmm, seems theres 1 law for us and another for tory MP's

        'When I read something which tells me exactly what she did, then I'll know whether it was hacking or not.' she correctly guessed a website admin password and made a bunch of changes. Not really 'hacking' as anyone who reads this website would view it, but definitely a crime in law. Unfortunately it seems the date limit for prosecution has now passed.

        1. rmason Silver badge

          Re: mmm, seems theres 1 law for us and another for tory MP's

          @Craigie is correct.

          There's some sort of bizarre time limit for that sort of offence within the computer misuse act.

          IIRC once 6 months has passed, you're all gravy.

          Hence - Just owning up and an apology will do.

    3. SVV Silver badge

      Re: mmm, seems theres 1 law for us and another for tory MP's

      "According to a report in The Daily Mail, a source in Tory HQ said that Badenoch didn’t do any “real hacking”, but instead “guessed the password”."

      Well this is interesting, perhaps they'll clarify the law now then to cover the suposed alrightness of this activity if it isn't "real hacking". After all, brute force and dictionary based attacks also just "guess the password", so presumably Tory HQ wouldn't object to those either. And who cares if someone manipulates the democratic process by unlawfully disrupting your oponent's message if it's a "prank" eh? Just a bit of a larf, innit! Presumably if somebody were to do the same to the Conservative Party websites during future election campaigns, they'll be rolliing around in mirth as they're such good sports who can see the funny side, rather than asking the police to investigate?

  7. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Eh?? How come there's any need for a company that just does politico's websites?

    Not suggesting they use Worpdress but I don't get it. Still, great advertising for Nation Builder

    1. Nick Kew Silver badge

      Need? That's not a need, it's a niche. If your objective is to find customers who'll pay for a service, then you market yourself to whoever is likely to buy. As for Wordpress: do we know whether NationBuilder is anything more than wordpress (or other mature open-source system) under the hood? In this day and age, how many wheels should they reinvent?

      I first released software to power interactive parts of a website back in December 1995. Sometime in 1996, a search revealed my first declared user. It was the BNP. Not what I'd have chosen, but the software was GPL so they had every right to use it.

  8. x 7

    Shame there aren't a few more politico websites offline

    They're all a bunch of lying *****

    1. IamStillIan

      I think you're suffering optimism bias towards the rest of the net.

      Sure, it's all lies, but not below average.

  9. Roj Blake Silver badge

    Guessing the Password

    Just guessing the password isn't "not really hacking" - which is why people have ended up in court after doing it

    1. John Brown (no body) Silver badge

      Re: Guessing the Password

      "Just guessing the password isn't "not really hacking" - which is why people have ended up in court after doing it"

      yes, if just guessing the password is "not really hacking", then what is it when you go rummaging through unsecured servers looking for evidence of UFO cover-ups, no password required?

  10. Mr Dogshit

    What's so special about this NationBuilder thing?

    It's just a web server, no?

    Didn't Tomcat, IIS or SharePoint suffice?

    1. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

      Re: What's so special about this NationBuilder thing?

      "Didn't Tomcat, IIS or SharePoint suffice?"

      You need to explain it in terms your potential market will understand. Good luck trying to sell any of those and many others -PHP, Drupal etc - outside of the IT department. Someone going to political parties and explaining their services in terms that politicians understand ("winning votes" will be a good one but "communicating with voters" will probably be enough) stands a chance of making a sale.

    2. John Brown (no body) Silver badge

      Re: What's so special about this NationBuilder thing?

      "It's just a web server, no?

      Didn't Tomcat, IIS or SharePoint suffice?"

      Probably comes including page build tools, templates and photo/clipart libraries specifically oriented towards political parties and maybe even they will build the site for you. Nothing all that special or complex that dozens of other companies don't already offer, but targeted at a niche audience.

  11. John70

    Who cares if a politician's website goes down?

  12. allthecoolshortnamesweretaken

    Maybe it will dawn on some of them that security of cyberthingies is an important topic after all.

  13. Camilla Smythe

    I am voting Tory in the Council Elections.

    Given Labour are pro Brexit I would rather vote for the party that has already demonstrated that they are both hell bent and completely committed to totally fucking things up rather than some second hand want to be waste of parliamentary debate.

    Bring on a massive swing to the Conservatives and see if Labour bucks their ideas up.

  14. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Not to change the topic, but...

    I love the expression "tit's up," as shown in the headline. It's accurately descriptive and humorous at the same time. I wonder, though, why some pc-groveling snowflake hasn't demanded a ban for its use for it being sexist, demeaning, and offensive (not to me, but to the easily offended).

    If they try such a thing, please make being pc a criminal act. We must draw a line at how much they can control our speech!

    1. This post has been deleted by its author

    2. Alister Silver badge

      What could possibly be offensive about a small bird of the Paridae family?

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