Feeds

ICO power to stop FOI dodgers 'some way off'

More time to investigate destruction of FOI data requires change in law

Providing a secure and efficient Helpdesk

Christopher Graham, the information commissioner, has said that implementation of the justice committee's recommendation for his office to have more time to prosecute people who destroy data requested under freedom of information (FOI) is "still some way off".

Although it is an offence to destroy information so as to avoid responding to an FOI request, the Information Commissioner's Office (ICO) currently has only six months in which to prosecute an individual.

Under current law, the six months runs from when the offence was committed, not from when the ICO receives a complaint.

"The proposed change to remove the time limit on prosecutions would better reflect the seriousness of the offence, as would a higher penalty on conviction," says the information commissioner in his blog.

Allowing more time for the ICO to investigate the destruction of information in this way, will require changes to legislation, however. The matter will have to be considered by the Ministry of Justice and the Cabinet.

Graham Smith, the deputy information commissioner, told Government Computing that the change was unlikely to be in force before next year.

"I do not think this is that contentious, but just a question of the politicians and legal draftsmen sorting things out," he said.

Overall, Christopher Graham says in his blog that the committee's report appears to offer an insightful and balanced commentary on the way the FOI act is working.

"The ICO will now take the time to digest it in full, before considering how we can further improve our guidance to requesters and public authorities," he says.

This article was originally published at Government Computing.

Government Computing covers the latest news and analysis of public sector technology. For updates on public sector IT, join the Government Computing Network here.

Choosing a cloud hosting partner with confidence

More from The Register

next story
WHY did Sunday Mirror stoop to slurping selfies for smut sting?
Tabloid splashes, MP resigns - but there's a BIG copyright issue here
Spies, avert eyes! Tim Berners-Lee demands a UK digital bill of rights
Lobbies tetchy MPs 'to end indiscriminate online surveillance'
How the FLAC do I tell MP3s from lossless audio?
Can you hear the difference? Can anyone?
Inequality increasing? BOLLOCKS! You heard me: 'Screw the 1%'
There's morality and then there's economics ...
Google hits back at 'Dear Rupert' over search dominance claims
Choc Factory sniffs: 'We're not pirate-lovers - also, you publish The Sun'
EU to accuse Ireland of giving Apple an overly peachy tax deal – report
Probe expected to say single-digit rate was unlawful
While you queued for an iPhone 6, Apple's Cook sold shares worth $35m
Right before the stock took a 3.8% dive amid bent and broken mobe drama
prev story

Whitepapers

A strategic approach to identity relationship management
ForgeRock commissioned Forrester to evaluate companies’ IAM practices and requirements when it comes to customer-facing scenarios versus employee-facing ones.
Storage capacity and performance optimization at Mizuno USA
Mizuno USA turn to Tegile storage technology to solve both their SAN and backup issues.
High Performance for All
While HPC is not new, it has traditionally been seen as a specialist area – is it now geared up to meet more mainstream requirements?
Beginner's guide to SSL certificates
De-mystify the technology involved and give you the information you need to make the best decision when considering your online security options.
Security for virtualized datacentres
Legacy security solutions are inefficient due to the architectural differences between physical and virtual environments.