Public notebook

OH: Political dirty tricks merchant bragging on a train

In a further blow to the credibility of the Lib Dem campaign, Mr O’Brien read out a series of Twitter postings by Daily Mirror journalist Kevin Maguire, in which Maguire relates overhearing on a train a man boasting that he had “got Evening Standard to claim Lab has secret plans to shut Kingston Hospital.”

A second Twitter update from Maguire says “Train bloke now boasting the hospital scare story cooked up at his kitchen table. Very proud of Facebook following”.

Having posted his photograph, the man who was apparently so proud of having ‘cooked up’ a regional NHS review into ‘secret Labour plans’ to shut a hospital was later identified by Maguire as Lib Dem activist Dan Falchikov.


It’s not just social networks where people have the illusion that public spaces are private…

This case shows that people can invoke an imaginary privacy bubble in the real world too. The Liberal Democrat activist bragging about his antics on his mobile was having his conversation reported live on Twitter by a Daily Mirror journo.

There’s also a sense of grim satisfaction attached to this story of an inconsiderate “I’m on the train!” loudmouth getting his comeuppance.

In this case the hapless braggart was unlucky enough to be sitting near a Daily Mirror journalist who was posting what the man was saying and then his photograph. But many people like tweeting similar things – one friend of mine likes Googling loudmouth fellow passengers and identifying them while they are on the phone.

Give it a couple of years (months?) and facial recognition technology combined with cameraphones will mean that this process can happen even faster. Before someone has finished their “confidential” phone call the person two seats away can have posted their side of the conversation on the internet – maybe even the video too.

Loose lips, eh…

Via @johnniemoore – On Twitter, naturally

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