Tuesday, August 01, 2006

Media update

The Guardian - Police DNA database 'is spiralling out of control'
"These latest disclosures, which were unearthed following a series of Freedom of Information Act requests by The Observer and the campaign group GeneWatch, will give rise to fears that many DNA samples being collected by police from innocent people could be misused."

The Guardian (Comment is free) - We need the data of death
"It's time the NHS treated us like intelligent human beings and provided us with doctors' survival rates."

The Guardian (letters) - Information access
"Lord Falconer's proposal to find a way in which to deter costly and time-consuming requests for information under the Freedom of Information Act (Report, July 31) not only negates the very principle of the act but is also unwarranted. Much of the time and effort spent in local authorities and NHS bodies searching for information is, in many cases, rendered unnecessary by advances in search and retrieval technology.....Glenn Perachio European director, Zantaz."

Sunday Times - Hundreds of police may have criminal records
"SCORES of police officers in England and Wales have convictions for offences including assault, theft, possession of an offensive weapon and actual bodily harm.
Details released by 13 forces under the Freedom of Information Act show that 164 officers have been convicted of offences, some since they joined the police."

Daily Telegraph - Arms row threatens legal crisis
"If the report is released, it could eventually be made public if used as evidence in any court case. A request for the report under the Freedom of Information Act was rejected because of international relations, parliamentary privilege and commercial interests."

IC Wales - Why some authorities do better than others
"The furore that greeted the publication of the local authority education league tables - reported in the Western Mail on Saturday - is not surprising.The information about which local authorities were the most effective in adding value to their pupils had to be extracted from the Welsh Assembly Government using the Freedom Of Information Act, so the data was clearly a hot potato."

The lawyer.com - New Pinsents head targets freedom of information work
"Pinsent Masons has appointed Rosemary Jay to head the firm’s information law practice. Jay takes over from Shelagh Gaskill, who passed away earlier this year. Based in Manchester, Jay specialises in freedom of information. Her priority will be to market the information law practice to the industries set out in the firm’s new core-sector strategy."

Regional News

Belfast Telegraph - Tribunal to decide on council's Ryanair deal
"A last-gasp attempt by Derry City Council to keep its secret deal with Ryanair out of the High Court will be heard at a tribunal in October. The Information Commissioner has confirmed the two-day hearing - sparked off by a Freedom of Information request by the North West Telegraph - will be held in the city's courthouse on October 17 and 18."

Harborough Mail - 2004 parking survey results still not released
"MORE surveys into people's driving habits are to be carried out by Harborough District Council as it tries to develop a 'parking strategy'. But the results of a similar survey completed by 701 people in July 2004 have still not come to light – and the council has said people will have to apply under the Freedom of Information Act to get a look. The council's ruling Liberal Democrat executive committee agreed in principle last month to spend at least £35,000 on consultants to draw up a parking strategy for Harborough. The outcome of the 2004 survey, which cost under £1,000, will form part of the strategy"

South Tyneside Today - COUNTING THE COST
"TWO South Tyneside councillors are under fire today after a furious allowances row broke out. Businessman Peter Shaw carried out his own investigation into the expenses claimed by Cleadon and East Boldon Conservatives Philip Parkinson and David Potts over the last year. Using the Freedom of Information Act, he discovered that Coun Potts claimed £2,251 in travel expenses, which included first-class travel."

Bexley Times - TFL's £520,000 'reckless' ad bill
"The figures were revealed under a Freedom of Information Act request which showed that the thousands of pounds marketing TfL were spent shortly after a £2.6 million television campaign."

IC Surrey - Beetles, droppings, mould - all in restaurant kitchens
"But is this the case in Mole Valley? Information obtained under the Freedom of Information Act gave the Advertiser access to environmental health reports carried out at premises across the area in the past year."

Overseas FOI

FT.com - India's official secrecy
"One of the few worthwhile reforms introduced by India's current government is the right to information act. By entitling citizens to seek disclosure of a wide variety of official records it provides a badly needed weapon for combating the corrosive culture of corruption that pervades the country. But less than a year after the legislation took effect, New Delhi plans to remove much of its force."

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