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Glastonbury data all at See

Booking firm blames human error

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See Tickets, the booking firm at the centre of the Latitude festival spam outrage, has admitted that an "error of judgement" led to data on applications for Glastonbury tickets being carelessly shared.

Martin Fitzgerald, general manager at See confirmed to The Register that the booking agency had sent out an email urging disappointed Glastonbury fans who didn't get a ticket to go to Mean Fiddler's Latitude festival instead. Outraged fans felt this amounted to little more than spam.

He said: "I guess someone thought it was okay to send the email because Mean Fiddler and Glastonbury have a common link, but in hindsight it is clear an error was made."

What many fans who signed up for their chance to get a Glasto ticket didn't realise was that See operated the registration form behind the Glastonbury branded website.

Fitzgerald explained: "If you registered online you went to a separate website that had been setup by See on Glastonbury's behalf."

As we reported last week, a lot of people who had registered didn't get as far as See's website on the day tickets went on sale because demand was so overwhelming. Despite this, many still received the Latitude spam.

It was believed by many who had been targeted by the email that their data, which is solely owned by Glastonbury for the purpose of this year's festival, had been, at best, thoughtlessly disclosed.

But Fitzgerald confirmed that "an error of judgement led to an email being sent to people who registered for Glastonbury. And I think part of that misunderstanding was, well, it's all the same company. I'm aware we've upset some people".

See sells between six and seven million tickets a year and has a policy for third parties to contact its customers only if they opt-in by ticking a box.

"If we were spamming people clearly we'd be in a very tricky position. We don't want to be known as a spam company," he added.

Fitzgerald would not be drawn on who was directly responsible for the mistake, but said that "conversations with the various parties" had already taken place between Mean Fiddler, Glastonbury, and See.

"I am not blaming any party. We all acknowledge that this shouldn't have happened."

Dick Vernon at Glastonbury told us the music firm will review the registration process and said the error "will be taken into account but that it won't be the key influence" over any changes to the system.

"It's happened. There's nothing we can do about it now except ensure it doesn't happen again in the future."

We've passed the details of the cock-up on to the Information Commissioner's Office, which enforces the Data Protection Act. ®

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