Your Right to Know: How to Use the Freedom of Information by Heather Brooke

By Heather Brooke

-- a well-liked advisor to the liberty of data Act, now up to date in a brand new variation -- have you desired to strength open the secretive doorways of presidency? This publication presents all of the instruments you would like. With a brand new foreword by means of Ian Hislop, it is also absolutely upda

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Extra resources for Your Right to Know: How to Use the Freedom of Information Act and Other Access Laws

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This is a non-absolute exemption except when the information concerned is held by the House of Commons or Lords. Section 40 – data protection. This complex exemption provides guidance on areas where the FOIA overlaps with the Data Protection Act. Some parts provide an absolute exemption while others are non-absolute. More information is found in Chapter 12. Section 41 – breach of confidence. This only applies to information provided to a public authority where disclosure would be a legal breach of confidence.

Lord Lucas said: ‘Here we have a government who say that they want much more openness in public affairs but when we reach the part of the Bill where their own affairs are concerned, they are quite clearly determined to stay rooted to the spot and even to go backwards’ (HL 3R, 24 Oct 2000, col 279). This is one exemption that certainly needs to be eliminated in future or rewritten with greater regard for the public’s right to know. The only bright spots are that a public interest test must be made.

Lord Goodhart showed what a ridiculous state of affairs this presents by giving the example of information about the Hatfield rail disaster, where the number of broken rails discovered on the rail track in the last twelve months is a statistic, but the discovery of a single broken rail at the site is a fact, and thus exempt. The only guidance given for determining the difference between a statistic and fact came from Lord Falconer: ‘It is pretty easy to identify what is a statistic: you know a statistic when you see it’ (col 299).

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