On first inspection, it would appear that the right of access to information and the right to protection of personal privacy are irreconcilable. However the reality is more complex. For the most part, these two rights complement each other in holding governments accountable to individuals. But there is a potential conflict between these rights when there is a demand for access to personal information held by government bodies.
Targeted for practitioners working in governance and transparency issues and as part of its Governance Working Paper series, the World Bank Institute has recently published a sixth working paper on ATI addressing some of these issues.
“The Right to Information and Privacy: Balancing rights and managing conflicts” by David Banisar, Senior Legal Counsel for Article XIX. Available here.
Focusing on the cases of Ireland, Mexico, Slovenia and the UK, while also looking at other experiences, this paper examines legislative and structural means to better define and balance the rights to privacy and to information.