back to article Virgin Trains dodges smack from ICO: CCTV pics of Corbyn were OK

Virgin Trains did not break data protection laws when it released images of UK's opposition Labour party leader Jeremy Corbyn during his supposedly "ram-packed" trip to Newcastle, the UK’s data protection watchdog has said. It did, however, infringe on other passengers' privacy, the Information Commissioner’s Office ruled - …

  1. JimmyPage Silver badge
    WTF?

    “legitimate interest”

    Am I alone in finding this a tad worrying ?

    “namely correcting what it deemed to be misleading news reports that were potentially damaging to its reputation and commercial interests”.

    So it's OK to piss all over data protection to rebut a bad review ?

    1. Alister

      Re: “legitimate interest”

      I think "piss all over data protection" is overstating the case here, the act of publishing the CCTV footage was not in breach of the DPA, the only thing Virgin Trains fell down on was that other people could be identified from the footage.

      Had they pixellated the other people's faces there would have been no problem.

    2. rh587 Silver badge

      Re: “legitimate interest”

      Defamation of one's business constitutes a legitimate interest.

      As others have stated, it's a legitimate response to a publicity stunt marred only by their failure to pixelate other passengers. Something for which they have been cautioned by the ICO.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: “legitimate interest”

        I should imagine that legally a train would count as a public space where your expectations of privacy would be limited.

        Being slightly paranoid, there is a security aspect to this, namely that a train (or bus, or uber, or whatever) journey stands a good chance of being a regular occurrence; so outing people in the image could go badly wrong because you're letting world + dog know of a person's movements; which could go wrong in all sorts of ways. Stalkers and burglars would find the information useful, just to start with. They should have pixillated the other passengers and -quite rightly- got slapped for it.

        You have the defamation of the company angle; which the company has a rright to be able to defend against; but you also have "public figure lies glibly" aspect which -again- it is in the public interest to debunk.

      2. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: “legitimate interest”

        I would say that there's more public interest in exposing a politician for being a lying (...) than to counterbalance defamation of Virgins.

    3. Captain Scarlet
      Coat

      Re: “legitimate interest”

      "piss all over data protection"

      If my ugly mug was caught on there personally I don't think it would be a big deal (Everyone gets caught in horrid Facebook photos all the time for people I don't know or care about to see on other peoples profiles all the time).

    4. Alister
      Happy

      Re: “legitimate interest”

      Just laughing to myself at our inability to spell the word pixelate - for me, it's not recognised by my spillchucker in any form.

      In this thread so far, we have:

      Alister pixellated

      rh587 pixelate

      moiety pixillated

      And the winner is: rh587

      :)

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: “legitimate interest”

        My spellchequer also had problems with it. I have opted for a government stance....if it's not covered by existing standards (to whit the spellchecker) then whatever I type in is correct because it's me wot is typing it. So there.

      2. Scroticus Canis
        Happy

        Re: Pixielaté - @Alister

        Don't worry, even the OED can't make up its mind, vis: pixelate - verb (also pixellate or pixilate)

        Prefer the title version which refers to the Wee Small Men's morning brew.

        1. Alister

          Re: Pixielaté - @Alister

          @Scroticus Canis

          I cannae imagine Rob Anybody drinkin' such pish as a laté, and I'm sure he'd tell you "It's PICTSIES, ya scunner!"

    5. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: “legitimate interest”

      Thanks for reminding us he is another socialist liar. As if the Labour manifesto wasn't enough of a clue...

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: “legitimate interest”

        Socialist or conservative liars....is there any real difference? I honestly don't give a flying fuck about what colour tie or badge or whatever....I just want people to stop lying to me.

        Our country is not in a good position because these grandstanding cunts have given it some "love me or it'lll get worse" bollocks. And I'm very proud of all of you for not caving in to it.

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: “legitimate interest”

          I don't have any love for Virgin, but I agree with this judgement. If you're in a public place with cameras you should expect people to be able to see recordings made by those cameras.

          If my daily commute involved me walking past the Houses of Parliament, should I be able to demand that the BBC/ITV/whoever pixify my face every time I happen to walk into shot in the background? I was also in the crowd at Centre Court one day last week and if you pause at the right moment and stand close to the TV you can clearly see me picking my nose. How dare they infringe on my privacy.

          What is a *real* issue is the fact that the scum press can take pictures of people through their windows with zoom lenses, publish them for the morons who view their publications, then get away with it.

  2. MatthewE

    What about investigating Corbyn for making bogus claims now? Surely there should be some sort of investigation into that?

    1. Mark M.

      investigating Corbyn

      For what? *every* politician makes bogus claims at some point in order to further their ambitions. In some cases, they're too stupid to properly fact-check what they were told by someone.

      1. Fiddler on the roof

        Re: investigating Corbyn

        I thought he claimed to be above that and wasnt a career politician. I always thought it was bullsh1t, I think this goes someway to proving it.

    2. werdsmith Silver badge

      No need, he's a politician. Everybody knows they are full of shit, no investigation required.

    3. wolfetone Silver badge

      "What about investigating Corbyn for making bogus claims now? Surely there should be some sort of investigation into that?"

      He was walking past first class seats he didn't have a ticket for? So er, what's bogus about that? He's an MP so he should pay for a first class ticket?

      But yeah, fully agree there should be an investigation in to that. Shortly after one is conducted in to the Tory election fraud that happened 2 years ago, the election fraud that occured in this election just gone, and how Theresa May could find £1 billion to bribe the DUP to back her government while simultaneously sticking two fingers up to the nurse who was told "There is no magic money tree" when she asked for a raise and to the Good Friday Agreement that her deal ultimately destroys.

      Over to you, sir.

      1. Dan 55 Silver badge

        1) He was also walking past reserved spaces in 2nd class.

        2) You are allowed to use a reserved seat for the non-reserved part of the journey.

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          you are allowed to use a reserved seat...

          ... for the non-reserved part of the journey but (A) good luck checking every seat and (B) some of them just say "Reserved"

          I doubt Corbyn sat on the floor JUST to make a point but if he was going to make one he should have tried to make sure it was entirely justified.

          1. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            Re: you are allowed to use a reserved seat...

            >... for the non-reserved part of the journey but (A) good luck checking every seat and (B) some of them just say "Reserved"

            Give it up haters gotta hate - Virgin released the footage knowing that those lucky enough not to have to use their clown of a franchise wouldn't understand what they were looking at.

            The upside of sitting on the floor is a full refund - if you don't mind the floor, just ask them to find you a seat as late as possible - even if you're bounced from a partial reserved seat you still get the full amount (you have to ask for the Seat Guarantee Scheme form though, it's not information they volunteer as the cost would run into many millions)

        2. collinsl Bronze badge

          3. You are allowed to use a reserved seat if the reserver doesn't turn up to claim it (unofficial)

        3. Gio Ciampa

          "2) You are allowed to use a reserved seat for the non-reserved part of the journey."

          Until you get a Daily Mail reader screaming "Corbyn stole my seat" to all and sundry

      2. ToddRundgrensUtopia

        Is wolfetone really Wolfie Smith?

        Corbyn, McDonnel and McCluskey in power heaven help us

        1. wolfetone Silver badge

          "Is wolfetone really Wolfie Smith?"

          No, I'm not.

          I'm much better looking.

    4. codejunky Silver badge
      Trollface

      @ MatthewE

      "What about investigating Corbyn for making bogus claims now?"

      Of course not, he didnt tell the truth. If he did then he would surely be investigated.

    5. John Brown (no body) Silver badge

      "What about investigating Corbyn for making bogus claims now? Surely there should be some sort of investigation into that?"

      I'll admit up front that I've not watched either video, but from the still image in the article, it does appear that all those "empty" seats are reserved for punters still to get on the train. Is it allowed to use those seats until the reservee gets on at his/her station and then has to ask you to vacate, or is that "just not cricket"?

      Not being much of a train user, I'm ignorant of the accepted etiquette.

  3. Sgt_Oddball

    Did they...

    Let it be known how many of those 'empty' seats were booked at the time?

    Thought not.

    That being said if they investigate further then i wonder how the other side would fare under the same scrutiny? (£350 million a week anyone?)

    1. werdsmith Silver badge

      Re: Did they...

      Booked seats clearly show that they are booked between certain stations and are free elsewhere on the journey.

      The aids will have been capable of booking a seat (and so saving money) but the plan was to create a stunt and attempt to make a big deal out of it. Unfortunately for them it backfired.

      A lot of this stuff goes on. In the towns near me several street beds with duvets and pillows appeared in the town centre when the election campaigning started. Mysteriously they were never occupied and disappeared when the polls closed on election day.

      1. tiggity Silver badge

        Re: Did they...

        On most of the trains I go on, they just irritatingly say reserved (naff electronic displays) - with old skool "ticket" they say where its reserved to / from, but that method is increasingly rare.

        SO, you typically have no clue where a seat is reserved to / from.

        As for first class seat availability, massively high prices & loads of carriages - a deliberate ploy to entice exasperated cattle class passenger to "trade up" (expensively) just to get a seat: Cattle class prices are a massive financial strain, but first class takes price gouging to amazing levels

  4. John Robson Silver badge

    Carriage looks pretty full to me...

    At least the vast majority of the seats look as if they are booked for at least some of the journey.

    At which point I'd do the same, walk past them and find the most comfortable place I could stay for the whole journey.

    If getting off before the end of the journey then it might be worth checking them all as you pass, otherwise it's probably pointless...

    1. rh587 Silver badge

      Re: Carriage looks pretty full to me...

      If getting off before the end of the journey then it might be worth checking them all as you pass, otherwise it's probably pointless...

      Or if getting on after the start. There are a population of people who book seats and then don't make the journey. I've been on many a train where I've embarked at an intermediate station, found a seat which was booked from the origin station but is empty (i.e. they didn't get on there, and are unlikely to now!) and settled in for the journey.

      1. really_adf

        Re: Carriage looks pretty full to me...

        I've been on many a train where I've embarked at an intermediate station, found a seat which was booked from the origin station but is empty (i.e. they didn't get on there, and are unlikely to now!) and settled in for the journey.

        I commute and this is a near-daily occurrence for me. However, I think in many cases the "owners" of the reserved seat are on the train, but elsewhere: the train is initially empty at its origin, so why bother finding your reserved seat when there's a suitable empty, unreserved one here?

        (Ignoring the fact that, last I heard, for advance tickets you are technically obliged to sit in your reserved seat - perhaps a rule intended to avoid the exact situation I described above. This doesn't generally seem to be enforced.)

      2. JimboSmith Silver badge

        Re: Carriage looks pretty full to me...

        Midland Mainline deserve a special mention for their daft policy with advance tickets and reserved seats. I was travelling pre StPancras redevelopment on a train to Sheffield on a Saturday morning to watch my football team play Leicester. On the platform I met a friend who I hadn't seen in a long while had lost touch and was therefore going to have a few hours to catch up with them. Sadly she was on an advance ticket and therefore had a reserved seat and I had a walk up ticket. This was the start of many problems as they'd put all the advance ticket holders in one carriage and there were therefore few (namely 2) unreserved seats. I couldn't see the problem with her swapping with someone else so that we could sit either side of the aisle and have a chat.

        The Train Manager or whatever MM called them appeared just as we pulled out of StPancras and asked to see tickets. My friend explained that she had a ticket in the window seat and was it possible to swap with the gentleman in the aisle (who was happy to do so) so we were able to chat. "No you are on an advance ticket and must sit in your reserved seat" Gentleman who was in the aisle seat indicated to the Train Manager that he'd be happy to swap. At this point she said "If anyone on an advance ticket isn't sitting in their correct reserved seat, Move Now before I get to you or your ticket will be invalid". I offered to pay the difference but that didn't work either. There were only two unreserved seats in the carriage and the one I'd snagged was directly across the aisle from my friend but facing the same direction. This wasn't allowing us to see each face to face to chat and we decided that this wasn't going to work. She said to go and sit somewhere else with more space (i.e. less reserves seats) and she'd call me on Sunday. We then lost the football match so rounded off a lousy day.

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: Carriage looks pretty full to me...

          Oh, that reminds me how ridicously train reservations work in Spain. There, even for some mid-range public service commuter trains, the so-called Media Distancia, reservation is compulsory, which leads to two rather silly situations: one is, for some relations demand is way higher than offer and if you don't book in advance you can't travel at all, even between citites less than 20 miles apart, no exceptions; the other is, for some other relations demand is almost nil but the ticket sale system is so dumb that buying two tickets together can put you one apart from the other and, once inside the train, the ticket inspector may frown at you for not being at your seat and "making his duty more difficult", as they have a list of which seats are sold and have to manually check when a supposedly unsold seat is occupied.

  5. Anonymous Cowerd
    Big Brother

    regardless of Corbyn

    I can tell you from experience that this situation does occur, frequently, and their attempts to play it down don't fool anybody.

    1. werdsmith Silver badge

      Re: regardless of Corbyn

      Yes, everybody know it does occur but setting up a stunt to highlight it is quite weaselish.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: regardless of Corbyn

        "setting up a stunt to highlight it is quite weaselish."

        and one/some of your supporters complaining to the data protection regulator just makes it look like they want to dish it out but don't want you to have to take it back.

    2. Flocke Kroes Silver badge

      Re: Corbyn solution

      IAVO - old enough to remember nationalised railways. There is only one way I can think of that nationalising the railways again creates empty seats: the service becomes so unreliable that passengers have to find a different means of transport. The day after nationalisation the transport unions will demand a pay rise because it will make Corbyn look bad if there is a strike. Track maintenance will be cancelled because the prices will go up for a similar reason. Damaged track will be "fixed" by adding "temporary" speed limits (just like it was last time we had a nationalised rail service). Journey times will increase and the capacity of the network will decrease.

      To add more capacity, you can run longer trains (requires building longer stations). You can try double-decker trains (increases the loading time and makes the journeys slower). There can only be one train between a pair of adjacent signals, so adding more signals can increase capacity. You can develop automatically refolding parachutes to reduce the trains' stopping distance and increase the maximum speed through yellow and double yellow signals.

      There are (costly) ways to increase capacity or you can create empty seats by increasing prices. If Corbyn had promised to increase train capacity by investing in track, signal and station improvements then I would have had a hint of sympathy for him. As it is, I hope that he has difficulting finding a seat during the next election.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Corbyn solution

        There are (costly) ways to increase capacity

        That's true, but there's also cheap ways. If the rail regulator told Virgin Trains to refit the first class carriages on their Pendolinos as standard class (including the first class galley kitchen) then there would be another 25% searing capacity with not much cost other than buying and fitting new standard class seats. No new carriages, no long delays, no longer platforms to be built.

        It's a f***ing scandal that trains still have first class carriages on any route that is capacity constrained. I'm sure the numbers could be crunched to show that first class passengers pay their way, but if the job of the railway is mass transit, then that role should take precedence to massaging the egos of those on expense account travel.

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: Corbyn solution

          I was talking to a train manager on a GWR train on a Friday night a few weeks ago about how much 1st Class makes. He said that the cost of a 1st class ticket was often 2.5 times more expensive than a standard class one and did subsidise the standard class fares.

          He then also said that the new Hitachi Intercity Express trains were awful internally and he'd be amazed if people were willing to pay to sit in 1st class on those new seats. I speculated that maybe this was the plan all along to get rid of 1st class, make it so awful that people won't pay for it. He said he couldn't comment on that. Full disclosure I was sitting in 1st class at the time.

        2. really_adf

          Re: Corbyn solution

          If the rail regulator told Virgin Trains to refit the first class carriages on their Pendolinos as standard class (including the first class galley kitchen)

          GWR, to their credit, refitted some first class carriages on HSTs, adding 20% standard class capacity to many trains. I reckon it bought about four years worth of growth.... About four years ago :)

          More recently, they've reclassified the first class areas on some "Turbos". But many seemed to treat it as standard anyway to relieve overcrowding, so it was more like GWR officially giving up on the idea of having first class than an actual change.

        3. Random Handle

          Re: Corbyn solution

          >If the rail regulator told Virgin Trains to refit the first class carriages on their Pendolinos

          The refit would be paid for by the tax payer or at best heavily subsidised - and they aren't 'their' Pendolinos anyway - Virgin lease them from various ROSCO - ensures playing trains doesn't require a long-term financial commitment.

          1. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            Re: Corbyn solution

            "If the rail regulator told Virgin Trains to refit the first class carriages on their Pendolinos"....The refit would be paid for by the tax payer or at best heavily subsidised

            So what? It would still be a low cost, near instant gain of 25% in the capacity of the WCML, with an operating cost from lower ticket receipts of a few tens of million quid a year. About two thirds of the Pendolino fleet are already 11 car sets and platforms have already been extended, so there's not much prospect of making those longer still. Now consider the alternative options:

            1) Tolerate the current capacity and peak overcrowding.

            2) Even higher fares to deter rail travel, particularly for standard class peak travel. Hands up all in favour!

            3) Retrofit the (originally planned, then abandoned) moving block signalling, allowing higher frequency trains running at full design speed. Cost to rectify with moving block signalling I'd guess would be of the order of £5bn as a further retrofit, with a c7 year programme of much disruption. This will never happen because the bunglers of government are totally committed to the daft HS2.

            4) So, what's cheap, quick, and doesn't conflict with the nightmare that is HS2? Remove first class as I suggest.

            1. Roland6 Silver badge

              Re: Corbyn solution

              >near instant gain of 25% in the capacity of the WCML, with an operating cost from lower ticket receipts of a few tens of million quid a year.

              The trouble is that 'capacity' is only needed on a few trains, largely during peak period and then only those either running into London (morning) or out of London (evening) [Aside: I assume other parts of the coountry also have their own similar peak flows into and out-of the local business hub.]

              In these specific instances I doubt the per train increase in seating will have that much effect (I'm thinking here of the services out of Euston on late afternoon/early evening Friday to destinations north of Birmingham, such as Manchester, Holyhead...)

              This is yet another reason why HS2 is not going to solve the 'capacity' crisis. In fact is likely to get much much worse (*)

              However, there is no reason why the operators can't experiment and operate a two tier first class service: basic - seats on peak commuter services but no frills, full service - normal or even enhanced service on non-peak services - thus encouraging greater business usage outside of peak hours of lightly used capacity.

              (*) there are plans to build a new rail freight depot in Northamptonshire, ignoring the pro's and con's of the depot itself, the plans include giving access to the depot from the existing WCML tracks where currently trains can move at speeds of 100+ MPH, throw in a freight train either slowing to cross and enter the depot or accelerating to leave the depot - thus travelling at <30MPH, and you start to lose rather a lot of train slots aka capacity...

      2. a pressbutton

        Re: Corbyn solution

        Oddly, ISTR that the trains have got slower over the years.

        Back in the 80s Bristol <> Paddington was about 1h15m and is now about 1h45...

        Also the cost of an open return is about the same as the cost of a cheap return to LHR<>New York.

        Not everything gets better.

        1. really_adf

          Re: Corbyn solution

          Back in the 80s Bristol <> Paddington was about 1h15m and is now about 1h45...

          Journey times have got longer for sure, but Bristol Temple Meads to Paddington was never 1h15m. Bristol Parkway maybe just about, if stopping Swindon and Reading only - current duration is about 1h25m.

          I think there is simply more recovery time now due to PPMs and, in fairness, the fact that the line is at pretty much at capacity from Reading, maybe even Didcot.

      3. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Corbyn solution

        Don't really remember nationalised rail in the UK, but have worked with rail operators in UK for last few years, and also met and worked with people from operators / infrastructure managers in the Netherlands, Sweden, Denmark, Norway etc.

        Conclusion from that experience? I wish I could give a second upvote to Flocke Kroes.

      4. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Corbyn solution

        > Track maintenance will be cancelled because the prices will go up for a similar reason. Damaged track will be "fixed" by adding "temporary" speed limits

        ....yet Network Rail was nationalised by George Osbourne back in 2014 - no-one noticed as Labour were playing silly buggers and Tory MPs were ordered not to use the word 'nationalise' - rather they had to say 'it is now a public sector body'. Their faith in spin and contempt for the electorate is understandable when a major trick like that gets pulled off so successfully.

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: Corbyn solution

          Network Rail was formed as a government owned company when it took over former railtrack assets. Stephen Byers was the minister responsible; Osborne had nothing to do with it.

          The NAO tweaked NR's status a bit in 2014 - it became a government body, so all assets and liabilities had to go on the governement's books. But the structure of the beast didn't change one jot.

          1. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            Re: Corbyn solution

            >Stephen Byers was the minister responsible; Osborne had nothing to do with it.

            Osborne made the decision after NAO made it abundantly apparent that Network Rail Ltd was always going to be unsaleable (his frequently stated plan for the company). Byers certainly didn't have the power to make decisions of this magnitude.

            >it became a government body,

            Yes that's what nationalised means.

  6. Barrie Shepherd

    The train is essentially a public place - and the presence of CCTV is well advertised. Have we now got to seek agreement or pixilate every face in a photograph taken in a public place? I see no harm in what Virgin did on this occasion unless of course someone in the picture has something to hide :-)

    1. TRT Silver badge

      They have CCTV. They are required to publish a DPA notice because of it, controller details, purpose of recording, yada yada yada.

      They broke that. But not in a terrible way. Although if travelling salesperson Fred who was supposed to be attending a company sales conference in Portsmouth that day got spotted on the news by his wife as he was travelling in the opposite direction... well... questions could be asked. Awkward, divorcey questions.

      1. SkippyBing

        'They have CCTV. They are required to publish a DPA notice because of it, controller details, purpose of recording, yada yada yada.'

        It was a bit rich of Corbyn's crew to try the DPA angle, it's not as if it was a secret he was on the train, he'd told everyone!!

    2. xanda

      Not sure the "something to hide" angle figures any relevance here but it's certainly the case that riding on a train/bus/plane/donkey whatever is hardly a private event.

    3. I ain't Spartacus Gold badge

      People have a right to have something to hide. There's no law against having affairs for example, and nor should there be. Hence we try to make a compromise to protect people's privacy with the DPA while allowing useful things like CCTV.

      Corbyn's crew would probably have got away with this if it had been any other company, but Virgin have a much more free-wheeling marketing department than most. If they'd just issued a statement saying there were seats, it wouldn't have been a story. But because they instantly put out the CCTV, the stunt backfired.

      I still remember when Pepsi changed their cans from white to blue, the Virgin Cola marketing crew put out a bunch of big ads the next day saying they had a new type of can out now, where if the drink was past its sell-by-date the can would turn blue. Childish admittedly. But quick.

  7. Your alien overlord - fear me

    Virgin let off - I think this calls for a Virgingate scandal !!!

  8. Derichleau

    The ICO is not fit for purpose

    The ICO only tell use what they want to know. As a government agency, it is a seriously flawed organisation and should be investigated:

    http://www.mindmydata.co.uk/analysis/twitter.asp

  9. sebt
    Flame

    The ICO's decision is probably right here.

    However, nothing, not even a politician lying, can change the fact that Virgin, along with the rest of the bunch of spivs involved in the UK rail industry (and their lobbying outfit the "Rail Delivery Group", are nothing but monopolists making profits out of a politically-constructed, and insanely structured, privatised railway system.

  10. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Rarest of things on a Virgin train

    Paper reservation tags with the proper information.

    The electronic one on Pendolinos are all too often not working, showing information for a completely different trip to the one you're on, or just saying 'Reserved'.

  11. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Shit we don't know

    1. Is the seating in the picture reserved? What are those red tags?

    2. How many people were there in that carriage? Looking at the picture, I can see quite a lot of heads.

    3. Did Corbyn initially sit down, then when the train packed up did he give his seat to someone?

    4. What stages of the journey did certain points occur at?

    Etc

    Im not defending the cheese sandwich eating hippy, but theres a hell of a lot to consider.

    Im a regular commuter and I know that a train can go from empty to rammed pretty quickly and sometimes I give my seat up for the elderly, pregnant women etc.

    Also, a train goes through many stops. Some busier than others.

    The facts we have at hand are clear.

    1. Trains get rammed and people sit on the floor. Many of us know that.

    2. Trains get delayed and cancelled for all sorts of reasons. Depending on the network reasons ranging from the sensible to the absurd. (Accident on the line all the way to drivers stuck in traffic).

    3. Corbyn was trying to highlight the above but went the wrong way about it and looks like a bell end doing so.

    4. Virgin Trains tried to call bullshit on the situation rather than owning up and suggesting workable solutions. They had an opportunity to make Corbyn look like a wanker AND admit that despite this particular service being relatively quiet a lot of services are packed out and suggest some feasible fixes.

    No matter how you look at this both Corbyn and Virgin Trains are twats in this particular situation. Nothing was gained and nothing was resolved.

    1. I ain't Spartacus Gold badge

      Re: Shit we don't know

      I don't remember all the details now, but even Corbyn's team admitted that the train crew found them seats. But they all weren't able to sit together - which they wouldn't be on a train with no reserved seats either, unless it was totally empty.

      Given he was going up for a planned meeting, it looks pretty incompetent that they didn't all have seats booked beforehand - given that saves money. Unless not all sitting together wasn't really the issue. For example if they happened to be making a little film about train crowding...

      This was a cynical little stunt, where Corbyn got caught. A minor matter of course, but if you're trying to portray yourself as the honest outsider practicing a "a new kind of politics" - it does affect your image.

      Yes our train network needs more capacity. Short of rebuildling all the bridges to have double-decker trains, or knocking down thousands of buildings to build extra tracks - that basically means building more trainlines (HS2?). Which isn't Virgin's job, they just run trains on existing track.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Shit we don't know

        Theres plenty of capacity already. Its just that every cunting man and his dog decides to go to work and come home at the same fucking time. Despite the majority of people being on flexible hours these days.

        The usual whining I hear contrary to flexi hours is:

        1. I need to be in when everyone else is. We have meetings!

        2. I prefer to work those hours.

        My standard response is generally:

        1. You probably don't and even if you do, sldsing your shift an hour either way doesn't make a shit of a difference to most people. Nobody has meetings at dead on 9am and nobody sets up important meetings to occur late in the day. If you're being dragged into meetings booked at this these times, you aren't important enough to attend meetings at the most convenient times of the day, making your meetings largely superfluous.

        2. Bollocks. Everyone would prefer an extra hour either end of the day for family. Time. If you have no family you're just lazy.

        1. tiggity Silver badge

          Re: Shit we don't know

          In your (very lucky person) world view nearly everyone is on flexi time.

          I have never had a job with flexi time, none of my family / friends have a job with flexitime (nearest any of them get is different hours on different days but they do not have a choice in those hours, only choice any get is whether too do overtime on top occasionally)

          So, most people are stuck with hours "the boss" dictates & the hell of peak time commute as"the boss" tends to want people in at similar times to other companies hence "peak hours" travel.

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Shit we don't know

      What we do know is that the they took a video guy onto the train with them, and lost no time in making the video public. Definitely a stunt.

      At the time I thought they'd sought out a genuinely full train for the stunt, so Virgin's CCTV footage came as quite a surprise.

      It was a big let-down to discover that Corbyn's ethics are just as malleable as Boris'

  12. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    There are clearly seat reservation tags on every seat so he was right wasn't he?

    How does this disprove what he said?

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      See the responses an hour before your post.

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Technically it doesn't prove he was lying when he said there were no seats available for him to sit in. It's quite conceivable that neither he nor the bunch of advisors he had with him understood the simple rules that govern how reserved seats work.

      It's unfair to accuse people of lying when in fact they are simply stupid or ignorant.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        You can bet...

        If Corbyn had sat in a seat with a reserved tag, there would be negative press coverage of that too, especially if the passenger who had reserved it eventually joined the train. Corbyn's (like anyone's) search for a seat shouldn't need to be exhaustive, there is either an obvious seat or there isn't. Given my own experiences, it's not always clear and its better to be cautious.

        Whether you think it's tokenism or not, it raised the issue of lack of seating on UK trains, to the much higher profile the problem deserves, given what we pay for seasonal tickets.

        I think if Virgin had asked Corbyn first about releasing the CCTV beforehand, then the release would be acceptable if he gave permission. I think Virgin Trains are guilty of a data breach here, I think ICO are incorrect in judging this not to be a breach of Privacy due to the individuals involved. You have to go on the fundamentals here, not the individuals involved.

        1. JimboSmith Silver badge

          Re: You can bet...

          What about Mr Corbyn releasing a video of the incident himself.Doesn't that have some bearing on this? The ICO seem to think it does.

          1. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            Re: You can bet...

            No, if I was to show a video of the fact there was no seat. I still have the right to privacy, if I make a complaint regarding anything via video, that doesn't somehow give the right to shoot the messenger, to justify your (weak) position.

          2. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            Re: You can bet...

            From the ICO's own guidelines on CCTV.

            '5.2.2 Disclosure

            Disclosure of information from surveillance systems must be controlled and consistent with the purpose(s) for which the system was established. For example, it can be appropriate to disclose surveillance information to a law enforcement agency when the purpose of the system is to prevent and detect crime, but it would not be appropriate to place them on the internet in most situations. It may also not be appropriate to disclose information about identifiable individuals to the media.'

            Now, it matters not what Mr Corbyn's lot were up to here, but Virgin, as operators of the CCTV cameras and Data Controllers of the resultant footage have made a declaration somewhere as to the 'purposes' of said CCTV systems (can't find it on a quick browse...but must be out there somewhere), 'countering BS/Bad Publicity' I'll bet ain't a listed 'purpose'..

            The ICO saying that this breach is somehow 'justifiable' on 'potentially damaging to its reputation and commercial interests' grounds without there being any legal judgements confirming said damages in their favour just beggars belief..even if there was some sort of legal action, release of said CCTV footage would be up to the courts..

            Don't give a shit about Corbyn, don't care much for the hydra that is Virgin either, what I really don't care for here is the way the ICO seem to be saying 'fuck you' to both the law and their guidelines, and, in doing so, creating a horrible precedent for others to similarly abuse the system in the future.

            (And people wonder why I no longer do any CCTV and DP Act nonsense..years of telling idiots that 'no, you cant use personal data gathered explicitly for purpose X, for purposes Y,Z,A,B,C...' finally got to me - head, brick wall, butting, butting, lots of feckin butting....)

            1. Roland6 Silver badge

              Re: You can bet...

              >The ICO saying that this breach is somehow 'justifiable'

              Reading guideline 5.2.2 the key question to ask is what is the purpose of in carriage CCTV?

              Given the example given, in this instance: it was appropriate that surveillance information was placed on the Internet, and it was appropriate to disclose information about identifiable individuals (ie. J.Corbyn) to the media.

              I expect now we have a concrete example of the usage of CCTV information in a way that the ICO (and others) hadn't considered, theICO will update its guidelines and all DP Act compliant businesses will amend their filings and include both a "public interest" purpose and a "reputational and interests" purpose. So, for example, if a person were to contact a call centre and be abusive to the agent and then publicly complained about the service they received, the call centre operator would be able to publicly disclose the recording of that person being abusive to their agent...

  13. Tom 38

    Funny how time changes peoples recollections

    * He *did* find seats, they just weren't adjacent for him and his party, so they didn't sit there

    * He had booked seats on an earlier train, but decided to miss it and take a later one

    * Empty reserved seats can be sat in for the non reserved part of the journey, and if still empty after leaving the reserved departure station

    * After they filmed their video, an attendant saw them and found them seats

    Trains are crowded, but this was a proper stunt.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Funny how time changes peoples recollections

      I don't believe it was a calculated stunt at all. It was highlighting a genuine concern regards the lack of unallocated seating, nothing more, as experienced by the the general public, travelling Virgin Trains. These tickets aren't cheap.

  14. fobobob
    Coat

    Gategate

    Anyone willing to help kill off the constant stream of '-gate ' wank in the news by overusing it until nobody wants to hear it anymore? We'll call it gategate, and it's going to be grate! Or maybe we should call it Greatgate... or maybe we can walk all weird and call it Gaitgate... I'll see myself out.

  15. Davidwall

    Looking at the picture I would say that most of the seats were already occupied by a person - although some don't appear to have a head actually partially visible.

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