Monday, October 03, 2005

Media update

The Times - Freedom to interfere? No minister, it's too sensitive
"The Times has learnt that, in a piece of pure Sir Humphrey logic, Whitehall has blocked a freedom of information request about the workings of the Freedom of Information Act because the information that might be freed is far too secret for public consumption."
Aslo see Al Roberts' website
"After March 1, 2005, the responsibility of handling cases referred from DCA has been assumed by the Cabinet Office's Ministerial Support Team (MST). See paragraphs 7, 8, 19 and 23 of the March 2005 version of the Toolkit and the same paragraphs of the July 2005 version of the Toolkit. (The Toolkit is also available on DCA's website.)On September 29, 2005, Cabinet Office refused a request for further data on cases referred from the Clearing House. Read the denial letter. The request was filed on April 13, 2005; Cabinet Office required over five months to issue this denial."

The Times - How requests are stalled
"The document advises officials always to consider whether they can use “the principle of Neither Confirm Nor Deny” to bat away an application for information. “The principle of Neither Confirm nor Deny (NCND) is long established and is known to many in its use by those responding to difficult questions from the press,” the guidance says."

The Times - Government's secrecy culture blocks freedom of information
"THE operation of the Freedom of Information Act is in severe difficulties because of a mounting backlog of appeals against Government secrecy."

The Times - Costly Crown Copyright
"In an unusual alliance, pro-democracy advocates and big business want an end to the complex copyright system in which public authorities up and down the country are restricting access to everything from staff directories and restaurant inspections to tidal timetables."

Sunday Herald - NHS court battle over freedom of information
"THE Scottish Information Commissioner, Kevin Dunion, is being taken to court by the National Health Service in an attempt to keep controversial cancer statistics secret."

Sunday Times - Private equity shuns the ‘tell-tale’ councils
"Under the freedom of information act anybody can request details on local government investments in private equity. Firms are worried their confidential data could be made public despite a clause in the act allowing confidential commercially sensitive material to be exempt from disclosure."

Daily Mail - Bizarre conduct at a time of crisis
"Catastrophic blunders... bullets pumped into an unarmed man... misleading information peddled about his 'suspicious' behaviour... Metropolitan Commissioner Sir Ian Blair admitting he wasn't told for 24 hours that his officers had shot an innocent Brazilian... public confidence in the Met has never quite recovered."

Crown Prosecution Service Press release
"Figures released today by the Department for Constitutional Affairs show that the CPS continues to respond in good time to the vast majority of Freedom of Information requests.With regard to the percentage of resolvable requests granted in full, most requests have been for information contained within current or recently completed prosecutions."

Scotsman - MSPs claim nearly £52k in taxis
"The figures, released under the Freedom of Information Act, showed that in 1999 - the year the Parliament was established -the total came to £25,514.38."

Bucks Free Press - Thames valley top for fines
"FINES amounting to millions of pounds were paid by motorists caught by speed cameras in Thames Valley last year the highest in England, new figures have revealed."

Guardian - MoD shuns Trident debate
"The Ministry of Defence is refusing to release any information about the replacement of the Trident nuclear missile system, including the costs and even whether it is needed to deter an enemy."

BBC news - Tracking the anti-apartheid groups
"Documents obtained by the BBC show that the Metropolitan Police closely monitored the activities of the anti-apartheid movement for 25 years."

News shopper - Council fails to meet guidelines
"EDUCATION campaigners have criticised the council for failing to meet targets on releasing information to the public.The New School Campaign asked Lewisham Council for three sets of documents in June, under the Freedom of Information Act (FOI

Sunderland Today -£170,000 legal bill for Porton Down probe
"POLICE chiefs investigating chemical tests on servicemen at the notorious Porton Down base have spent £170,000 of taxpayers' money on lawyers.
Former serviceman Gordon Bell, who was one of the recruits used "as a human guinea pig" in military experiments, unearthed the costs under the Freedom of Information Act."

Fire Brigade Union - ODPM Spends Twice as Much on IT Consultants for Fire Control Closures Than They Spend on Community Fire Safety

BBC News- Gate Gourmet rapped over hygiene
"Environmental health officers from the London borough of Hillingdon found breaches of food safety laws in the company's operations at Heathrow airport earlier this year, according to documents obtained by the BBC under the Freedom of Information Act."


P2Pnet - US fed database 'unsearchable'
"But, “TSA recently began notifying the passengers who filed Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) and Privacy Act requests that it lacks the ability to easily search its records,” says the EFF"

Sunday Times ( -SA fares poorly in transparency survey
"Of the 14 countries included in the results of the study, South Africa ranked 10th in terms of releasing information requested. More than 60% of access for information requests in the study were ignored."

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