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Council spending on the Olympic torch relay: where did the money go?

Council spending on the Olympic torch relay: where did the money go?

Collaborative investigation site Help Me Investigate has compiled data which shows how council spending on the Olympic torch relay breaks down.

As councils publish slashed budgets for the year ahead, collaborative investigation site Help Me Investigate has compiled data on how budgets were raided to pay for the Olympic torch relay.

Based on FOI requests by Juliet Ferguson and Carol Miers to 100 local councils and police authorities, the responses contain some interesting budget decisions. These include:

• One authority used their torch relay budget to appoint a new member of staff for 18 months

• Two authorities – Aberdeenshire and Lewisham – spent £7,398 of their torch relay budgets on new CCTV cameras

• The biggest spenders were Dover District Council and Bournemouth: both spent over £220,000. But Somerset paid nothing after organisers LOCOG agreed to pay all their costs, previously estimated in the hundreds of thousands

Read more.

Paul Bradshaw | The Guardian | 6th March 2013

ICO in mobile app developer outreach drive

The Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO) is briefing smaller app developers on data protection obligations as it and other data protection authorities draft an official “opinion” on how developers should treat consumers’ data.

The ICO’s efforts will concentrate on smaller app development workshops, or even individuals, making sure their products comply with the Data Protection Act and secure full consent of users over how their personal information will be accessed.

This includes potential workshops for start-up firms held at development hubs, such as TechHub in London’s Silicon Roundabout, according to Dr Simon Rice, group manager, technology, at the ICO.

“Getting to people like the ‘bedroom developers’ [smaller developers who often produce apps in their spare time] can be the tricky part,” he says. Read more.

Ronan Shields | Marketing Week | 4th March 2013

FBI release Whitney Houston files, revealing singer was blackmailed

The FBI has released 128 pages from its file on Whitney Houston, revealing details of an apparently successful blackmail plot, as well as an investigation into an obsessed fan.

Released in response to a freedom of information request, the FBI’s documents cover 11 years of threats against the singer, from 1988 to 1999. But the pages are heavily redacted – in many cases, to the point of incomprehensibility.

Sometimes the redactions are tantalising. In late 1992, an unidentified Chicago lawyer wrote to Houston’s New Jersey-based production company stating that unless the singer paid $100,000 (£66,000), his client planned to “reveal certain details of [Houston's] private life … to several publications”. Later the blackmail amount was boosted even higher, to $250,000 (£165,000). Read more.

Sean Michaels | The Guardian | 5th March 2013

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