Monday, March 05, 2007

Freedom of information

Some of you may be aware that there are likely to be changes to the UK Freedom of Information Act 2000 and introduce restrictions on information to be requested. In the Times today:
The Information Commissioner will tomorrow demolish one of the main arguments being used by Government to introduce restrictions on people’s right to know about the State. Richard Thomas, who will be appearing before MPs on the Constitutional Affairs Committee, is expected to say that public bodies already have wide-ranging powers to ignore requests that are designed to waste civil servants’ time. The Government believes that laws introduced in 2005 requiring much greater disclosure of information from the public sector place an unfair burden on civil servants. However campaigners say that the proposed restrictions are unnecessary and designed to save the Government from embarrassment after a series of damaging disclosures.
The Freedom of Information Act 2000 already has a provision that does not allow for "vexatious or malicious requests". Are the changes necessary? I leave this with you to decide.

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