Monday, September 18, 2006

Media update

The Times - Call for inquiry into NHS ploy
"Andrew Lansley, the Shadow Health Secretary, tabled 31 requests for information about the secret meeting from the Department of Health under the Freedom of Information Act."

Accountancy Age - 500 property schemes in one year
"Disclosure rules relating to Stamp Duty Land Tax have applied since August of 2005, just over a year, and in that time promoters of schemes – largely in-house and legal teams – have revealed 506 of them to the taxman. The figures are revealed in Freedom of Information requests recently put by Private Eye magazine."

The Guardian - National Archives squares the data circle
"The National Archives, once the dusty haunt of academic historians, solicitors' clerks and UFO conspiracists, are now an international e-publishing phenomenon. Some six million people visited the archives electronically last year, to view records or order documents from a thousand years of British history." also see clarifciations and corrections

Sheffield Today - Expenses claim puzzle for MP
"SHEFFIELD MP David Blunkett has spoken of a "bizarre and unbelievable" situation after he was ordered to reveal details of his travel expenses. Following a complaint from an unidentified person, the Sheffield Brightside MP was told to release details about the number of rail warrants issued to him. But Mr Blunkett says he has never refused to reveal any details – and says he is totally bemused by the whole issue."

Scotsman - Cumming hits out at Jack's 'racist' own goal
"Scotland on Sunday has obtained documents under the Freedom of Information Act which reveal the extent and bitterness of the backlash against McConnell from English voters following his comments. Letters to McConnell's office revealed some people cancelled holidays to Scotland in protest, saying they wouldn't spend money where they felt unwelcome."

Regional news

Inside Housing - Camden keeps silent over its empty homes
"Camden Council has refused a developer access to its list of empty homes, claiming the disclosure could prevent it from getting a good price to buy the properties itself. ‘If this information was released into the public domain, we feel that the ability of the council to negotiate favourable prices with property owners would be affected,’ a statement from the authority said. ‘The council would have to compete with property developers whose primary motivation is to make profit.’"

This is Bradford - Bill for external NHS advisers tops £1m
"Information obtained by Conservative MP Grant Shapps under the Freedom of Information Act details how much had been spent in 2004/05, 2005/06 and latest data available for a three-month period in 2006/07."

International news

USA - Privacy group tackles US government on e-spying
"The EFF is using the Freedom Of Information Act (FOIA) as a springboard to introduce information requests and litigation that it hopes will show the extent of government monitoring of web, email and other electronic communications."

Senator Cornyn - Senate Passes Bill To Create Internet Database Of Federal Spending
"The Federal Funding Accountability and Transparency Act will create a Google-like search engine and database to track approximately $1 trillion in federal grants, contracts, earmarks and loans. The bill has forty-three Senate co-sponsors. It has been endorsed more than 100 organizations across the political spectrum as well as newspaper editorial boards across the country."

Canada - Information commissioner raises alarm about job ad, description
"The fix may be in for a candidate to replace Canada's information ombudsman, warns the man who currently holds the job. John Reid, the outgoing information commissioner of Canada, raised the alarm Tuesday, saying a recently posted job notice strongly suggests the Conservative government wants to fill the coming vacancy with a senior bureaucrat rather than someone more independent."

Address by Emily O'Reilly, Information Commissioner at Deputy Information Officers' Forum - Johannesburg, South Africa.

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