Tuesday, September 19, 2006

New research into FOI from Demos

Martin at Open Secrets has picked up news of a new project by think tank Demos that will explore:

"..the the new relationship to knowledge, spurred on by cultural and legislative changes such as the Freedom of Information Act. We want to understand how the emerging channels for freer access to information are changing how people live."

This will be important work as often oversimplified links are made about FOI/Access to Info. legislation and the value the information can provide. FOI should be a means to an end and we must look at the end. The information provided is often part of a wider mosiac of information that the user then has to filter and analyse in context (information is not the same as knowledge). As I've found myself - using the FOIA will not always lead straight to clear understanding of a topic (though is this down to the legislation and the way public authorities assist applicants?) There is also the issue of re-use barriers to the information once it has been received as well.

1 comment:

Shrewd Squirrel said...

I agree that Freedom of Information is about more than what the current legislation addresses.

I still cannot believe that the Office of Public Sector Information (OPSI) website currently includes only one Act passed prior to 1988 the European Communities Act 1972.

Since ignorance of the law is no defence and legal advice can be very expensive I believe more laws should be made freely available. I list below some important Acts which are not currently available from the OPSI. Some of them have historical and constititutional importance.

Companies Act 1985
Parliament Act 1911
Bill of Rights 1689
Public Order Act 1986
Trade Descriptions Act 1968
Representation of the People Act 1983

If you want to support further publication of UK law please sign up to my pledge: