Thursday, May 13, 2004

Companies could have to reveal confidential data

The Information Commissioner, Richard Thomas, warned yesterday that information about private companies held by public bodies, which would previously have been treated as confidential, may have to be released in response to requests for information made under the Freedom of Information Act, when it comes fully into force next January. Mr Thomas said that the increasing use of private sector organisations in the delivery of public services made it inevitable that the full implementation of the Act would not just affect public bodies. Although the disclosure of information relating to private companies can be denied on the grounds that it could prejudice commercial interests, this can be overridden if the information is considered to be of sufficient public interest.

Financial Times, p3, 12 May

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