Freedom of Information

Do we need protection from data protection?

<p><em><strong>Do we need protection from data protection? asks David Taylor as he warns barristers of their duties under the Data Protection Act 1988</strong> </em>. </p> <p>Barristers and their chambers can no longer be complacent about their duties under the Data Protection Act 1998 (DPA), and fines of up to £500,000 are now within the power of the Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO). Worse still: if you fight your corner in court, then unlimited fines and up to five years in prison are added to the armoury. If that weren’t incentive enough to keep your data safe, many breaches of the act are also criminal offences of strict liability. </p>
read more

A secure environment

<p>Tony Shaw QC and Clive Freedman discuss the draft Guidelines on Information Security and Government Work </p>
read more

The Changing Role of the Press

<p>Siobhan Grey discusses the Gray’s Inn Seminar on press freedom and the Select Committee Report “Press Standards, Privacy and Libel” </p> <p>The incorporation of the European Convention on Human Rights into English domestic law has had a dramatic effect on the perpetual conflict between media freedom and media intrusion into private life; a conflict which is unremitting and which sometimes seems irreconcilable. The rights enshrined in art 8 (respect for private life, including reputation) and art 10 (freedom of expression, including press freedom) are of equal value, but how can a judge strike a fair balance between them? This dilemma has been given greater urgency by the technological developments that are changing the face of the media. An injunction obtained in one national court in one jurisdiction can quickly be rendered ineffective by the new virtual, stateless and unregulated chaos of information exchange, as the Twitter campaign in the recent Transfigura case revealed. </p>
read more

FOI requests

<p>The government is increasingly reluctant to answer Freedom of Information requests, but some departments are more open than others, according to Sweet and Maxwell statistics. </p>
read more

The Shadow of the Past

<p>Employment vetting law has been rewritten, warns Timothy Pitt-Payne </p> <p>In 2004, a woman (“L”) was employed by an employment agency that provided staff for schools. She worked as a playground assistant, supervising children during their lunchtime break. The agency applied for an enhanced criminal record certificate (“ECRC”) from the Criminal Records Bureau (“CRB”). The ECRC did not show any criminal convictions; but it disclosed that L’s son had previously been placed on the child protection register on grounds of neglect, and that he had been removed from the register after being convicted of robbery and given a custodial sentence. Soon afterwards she was told by the agency that it no longer required her services. </p>
read more