Amnesty International, the actress Maxine Peake and Ahmed Masoud, a sometime Palestinian playwright, have been reported to the Information Commissioner’s Office for a breach of data protection laws. Masoud and Peake advertised that Amnesty International was hosting a performance by Peake of Masoud’s play “Obliterated” on Friday 9 August 2019, offering free tickets through Eventbrite. However, there never was a play, and the personal information about over 2,500 people who had registered to see the play was mis-used to send out propaganda on behalf of Masoud and Peake. Amnesty International has admitted that it supported the stunt.
Ahmed Masoud wrote to all those who registered saying “ Oblitereated [sic] is cancelled. There was never a play or a show, I didn’t write it and Maxine never rehearsed it. I am not sure whether I will be able to write or do theatre again.”
Masoud then proceeded to tell people about a theatre in Gaza which had been bombed by Israeli planes a year earlier, and that the actress Maxine Peake and Amnesty International had supported this “creative response”, so that he could “get his voice heard”.
Jonathan Turner, chief executive of UKLFI commented: “Personal data has been obtained by misrepresentation and used for a purpose other than that for which it was obtained and for which the subjects gave consent. This is a flagrant infringement of data protection law.”
Several people who had booked tickets to the show have now complained to the Information Commissioners’ Office. It is not clear whether Amnesty International, Peake or Masoud are continuing to violate data protection by retaining the personal data that was improperly obtained.