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The day in FoIA: data breaches, police abuse and the Tate Modern’s turbine

Data breaches 10 times worse, say ICO figures

Data breaches in the UK have increased tenfold in the past five years, figures from the Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO) reveal.

In local government the increase was 1,609% and within the NHS 935%.

The figures were issued after a Freedom of Information Act request by data company Imation Mobile Security.

But the ICO says the numbers show that organisations report many more breaches than before.

Read more.

BBC | 30th August 2012

Zero tolerance on abuse of the police

Police officers being verbally and racially abused is on the rise according to new figures.

According to the results of a Freedom of Information request, 26 Bedfordshire police officers were the victims of crimes of verbal or racial abuse or harassment last year.

This is a sharp rise compared to the 2007 figures where 11 police officers suffered abuse.

But the statistics show that police are cracking down on the perpetrators, with 19 people charged with the offences in 2011 and 24 people out of 28 crimes committed in 2010.

Read more.

Bedford Today | August 30th 2012

Tate Modern considers activists’ wind turbine for art collection

A 1.5 tonne, 16.5 metre-long wind turbine blade carried last month to the Tate Modern by artists objecting to the gallery’s sponsorship by oil company BP is being considered for the national art collection.

The blade, which for years generated electricity on a Welsh hillside, was renamed by the art collective Liberate Tate as “The Gift”, and “installed” in the main turbine hall of the former oil-fired power station.

This year Tate said in a reply to a freedom of information request that it had received more representations raising concerns about BP’s sponsorship than any other issue since the oil company became financially linked to the gallery in 1990.

Read more.

John Vidal | The Guardian | August 30th 2012

Ireland: Missing bank files turn up in Taoiseach’s office

THE Taoiseach came under fire yesterday after it emerged 17 files on the controversial 2008 bank guarantee were in his office.

But Mr Kenny, who earlier this year suggested ALL documents about the deal were shredded, remained silent about the latest revelation.

The files were discovered after a Freedom of Information request by Fianna Fail.

However, it was refused access to 14 of the papers about the €440BILLION plan to bail out struggling banks.

Opposition leader Michael Martin repeated his claim that Mr Kenny misled the Dail twice when grilled about it.

Read more.

Myles McEntee | The Irish Sun | August 30th 2012

Parking fines just the ticket for cash-strapped councils

The annoying ticket wrapped in cellophane that you find under the windscreen wiper of the car you parked in a strange town just might be a council official’s cunning way of reducing the impact of government cuts.

As the Government reduces councils’ funding, threatening local services, traffic wardens are out in greater numbers while free parking spaces are harder to find, Freedom of Information figures have shown. The result is that millions of fines are making a nice little earner for councils. While other council services are stretched and police are facing cuts in manpower, the number of traffic wardens – or Civil Enforcement Officers, to give them their correct title – is rising. Today there are 6 per cent more officers than in 2008 and one council in 10 has enlarged its battalion of traffic wardens by at least a fifth.

Read more.

Andy McSmith | The Independent | August 31st 2012

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