Articles about freedom of information

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Open data not a replacement for FOI - Shadow digital minister

The government is "deliberately conflating" the issue of open data with Freedom of Information to disguise draconian plans to roll back the legislation, the new shadow minister for digital Louise Haigh has told The Register. The Cabinet Office has championed the use of open data in the public sector, requiring all departments …
Kat Hall, 30 Oct 2015
10 Downing Street. Pic: Sgt Tom Robinson RLC/Crown copyright

Downing Street secretly deletes emails to avoid exposure to FOIeurs

Email records on computers in Downing Street are subject to automatic deletion within three months through a system which makes it almost impossible for the public to view them under the Freedom of Information Act, former staff have disclosed to the Financial Times. Reporters at the salmon-pink broadsheet discovered that this …
Tony Blair closes the RSA 2012 conference

Freedom of Info at 10: Tony Blair's WORST NIGHTMARE

Although the Freedom of Information Act was passed in 2000, it didn't come into force until 1 January 2005, meaning we've had just about 10 years of FoI – as the Information Commissioner's Office was keen to point out in a minor PR blizzard. That load of celebratory snippets* included such worthy-but-dull moments as the first …
Gareth Corfield, 28 Dec 2014

Evidence during FOI disputes can be provided in SECRET

Public bodies defending a decision to withhold information requested under freedom of information (FOI) laws can submit evidence to an information rights tribunal in secret, the Court of Appeal has ruled. The Court said that tribunal rules allow for closed evidence sessions to be conducted, meaning that neither the FOI …
OUT-LAW.COM, 5 Aug 2014
Parliament House Canberra by Flickr user OzMark17 used under CC Share and Share alike licence

Voteware source code review 'could lead to hacking'

Australia's special minister of state has weighed in on solicitor Michael Cordover's freedom of information request to peruse the source code of the application used to count votes in Australian Senate elections with a bizarre suggestion that granting such a request could “leave the voting system open to hacking or manipulation …
Simon Sharwood, 16 Jul 2014
Homer Simpson confronts rigged voting machine

Interview: Michael Cordover, voteware freedom-of-information crusader

A barrister has offered pro bono assistance to Michael Cordover, the Hobart Solicitor seeking the source code to the EasyCount software used by the Australian Electoral Commission (AEC) to count votes in the nation's senate elections. Cordover first sought the source code last year because, as he told The Register, “I have …
Simon Sharwood, 15 Jul 2014
Parliament House Canberra by Flickr user OzMark17 used under CC Share and Share alike licence

Voteware source code requester labelled 'vexatious'

Australia's Electoral Commission (AEC) has again denied a request to reveal the source code of the software used to count votes in Senate elections, and pointed out the the man seeking it that he may be a vexatious applicant abusing the freedom of information process. Hobart Lawyer Michael Cordover first tried to view the …

EFF sues NSA over snoops 'hoarding' zero-day security bugs

Intelligence agencies are among the most prolific buyers of zero-day computer security flaws that can be used to spy on enemies foreign and domestic, or so it's claimed – and the Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF) has launched a lawsuit to find out what exactly they are doing with them. "Since these vulnerabilities …
Iain Thomson, 2 Jul 2014
Twitter for Mac New

ICO issues guidelines on #FOI #requests through Twitter, Facebook

The Information Commissioner's Office (ICO) has issued new guidelines for public authorities around how they can respond to freedom of information (FOI) requests made via social media. The watchdog confirmed that FOI requests made via messages to accounts operated by public bodies on sites such as Twitter or Facebook can …
OUT-LAW.COM, 11 Mar 2014
Oh no, I'll have to ask Dabbsy

Hear that, Sigourney? Common names 'may not constitute personal data'

Common names of people may not, read alone, constitute "personal data", the Court of Appeal has said. The Court said that only if common names were matched with other information would it be possible to identify the individuals to whom the names relate. Data protection laws only apply to the processing of personal data. "A …
OUT-LAW.COM, 12 Feb 2014

Watchdog drags Home Office to naughty step for dragging feet on FOIs

The Home Office may face sanctions if it fails again to reply to Freedom of Information (FOI) requests on time, the Information Commissioner warned today. The department - run by Home Secretary Theresa May - will be monitored by the watchdog to see how fast it responds to FOIs received between 1 July and 30 September this year …
Kelly Fiveash, 9 Aug 2013
The Register breaking news

Secret UN 'ZOD' climate deliberations: UK battles to suppress details

Can the Internet help climate scientists? Not everyone thinks so. "The Internet is a double-edged sword," Met Office scientist Peter Stott told a London courtroom last week. "There's a whole cacophony of voices on blogs, people with different opinions and people very motivated to dig around. But not in the 'big picture' details …

Watchdog: Gov bods should rummage through BINS for FOI data

Public sector bodies will generally be required to disclose information even if it is stored in computer 'recycle bins', the Information Commissioner's Office (ICO) has said. The watchdog has issued new guidance (25-page/350KB PDF) to help public bodies which are subject to the UK freedom of information (FOI) or environmental …
OUT-LAW.COM, 15 Oct 2012
The Register breaking news

ICO power to stop FOI dodgers 'some way off'

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 …
The Register breaking news

ICO: Nearly HALF all FOI complaints are about local councils

The Information Commissioner's Office (ICO) received 1,922 freedom of information complaints about local authorities in 2011-12, accounting for 43 per cent of the total number of complaints, according to the watchdog's latest annual report. The document says that of the 4,633 freedom of information complaints during the year, …
The Register breaking news

ICO to 'focus' on health sector when enforcing info rights

The Information Commissioner's Office (ICO) is to give "particular regulatory attention" to health organisations as it focuses on areas most likely to result in damage to people's information rights, the watchdog has said. The ICO, which ensures compliance with UK data protection, e-privacy and freedom of information laws, …
OUT-LAW.COM, 6 Jan 2012
The Register breaking news

Top cops placed under Freedom of Info law

The Financial Ombudsman Service (FOS), along with the Association of Chief Police Officers of England, Wales and Northern Ireland (ACPO) and the Universities and Colleges Admissions Service (UCAS), was added as a public authority under the Freedom of Information (Designation as Public Authorities) Order 2011. FOS has the power …
OUT-LAW.COM, 8 Nov 2011
The Register breaking news

Feds back down from legalizing government lies

The US Department of Justice has dropped a controversial proposed ruling that would have allowed them to say that records don't exist when, in fact, they do – a response that in the vernacular might simply be called lying. "The Justice Department decided that misleading the American people would be wrong, and made the right …
Rik Myslewski, 4 Nov 2011

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