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Michael Gove could face legal action over his department’s failure to answer 85% of Freedom of Information requests on time

Michael Gove could face legal action over his department’s failure to answer 85% of Freedom of Information requests on time

Legal action against the Education Secretary, Michael Gove, has not been ruled out by the data protection watchdog following serious failures by the Department for Education to improve its record in answering Freedom of Information (FOI) requests.

The prospect of a legal battle, which would be likely to involve a number of close Gove aides, will do little for the morale of his government department, widely regarded as being under siege following a raft of controversial reforms demanded by Mr Gove.

Among the unanswered FOIs are requests that Mr Gove publish both official and private exchanges of emails, text messages  and transcripts of phone calls sent between two of his close advisers and officials in 10 Downing Street. Read more

James Cusick | The Independent | 22nd April 2013

Tripping over umbrellas and tearing trousers: House of Commons pays out £40,000 in compensation

Between January 2008 and January 2013 employees have received a total of £44,609.49 in compensation, a Freedom of Information request has revealed.

“Personal injury compensation” for “slips, trips and falls” accounts for £42,550 and the rest relates to property damage.

This property damage includes £435.50 for five “ripped suit jackets” and £688.80 for an incident in March 2012 when a “security road blocker rose up under the rear of a car while waiting for the preceding vehicle to exit through gates”. Read more

The Telegraph | 22nd April 2013

Creative Scotland emails reveal ‘political’ belief

EMAILS from former Creative Scotland chief executive Andrew Dixon reveal his belief that criticism of the body was “highly political”.

In the October 2012 email revealed after a Freedom of Information request by The Herald, Dixon claims that a protest letter signed by one hundred of Scotland’s top artists was part of a campaign against the organisation itself.

Dixon said in the email: “I was warned in the press on my appointment of ‘back biting’ arts community and a previous ‘loss of trust’ through the birth of Creative Scotland but what you can see here, and will get from Ewan Brown [former chairman of Creative Scotland’s transition board] is the history of over 400 artists, many of them on the list yesterday who fundamentally opposed the creation of Creative Scotland. Read more

The Scotsman | 22nd April 2013

Suffolk: Rise in number of children de-registered

THE NUMBER of children that have been withdrawn from Suffolk state schools has more than doubled over the last five years, it can be revealed. Union bosses have said they believe more parents are choosing to de-register and teach their child from home rather than expose them to a regime of tests and league tables that labels some pupils failures from an early age.

Although the numbers of children being withdrawn from local authority education remain small in terms of school population, there have now been calls to investigate the reasons behind them.

According to information released under the Freedom of Information Act, 77 children were de-registered in Suffolk during the 2007 to 2008 academic year. In 2011 to 2012, 188 children were de-registered. Read more

Matt Gaw | East Anglian Daily Times | 22nd April 2013

Labour MEPs call on government to release information about IBRC liquidation

LABOUR MEPs PHIL PRENDERGAST and Nessa Childers have called on an extension of the Freedom of Information (FOI) process to give insight into the State’s liquidation of IBRC.

The MEPs made the call following reports in the Irish Examiner that government were under instruction from the European Central Bank not to release details of the ongoing liquidation to the public.

The news comes just days after TheJournal.ie revealed that the Irish Bank Officials Association had told workers at the Irish Bank Resolution Corporation to cooperate with NAMA regarding the transfers of assets out of the liquidated bank. Read more

The Journal | 22nd April 2013

Google Fined in Germany Over Street View Collection of Personal Data

Following a $7 million settlement last month related to a long-standing Street View Wi-Fi case involving privacy concerns in the U.S., Google has now been fined in Germany by regulators for the same thing.

The Hamburg Commissioner for Data Protection and Freedom of Information fined the search giant approximately $190,000 for “illegal” recording of Wi-Fi networks, according to a statement issued today.

The data collection occurred between 2008 and 2010 when Google captured personal data on wireless networks within range of its Street View vehicles that took pictures of surrounding areas. Google cooperated with regulators during the investigation, according to the commissioner, and turned over its data for inspection. Regulators found a large amount of personal data, and Google was instructed to delete its illegally collected data. Read more

Evan Niu | The Motley Fool | 22nd April 2013

USA: How Many Assault Rifles Does The Waterford PD Have? An East Lyme Resident Wants to Know

Should the amount of assault rifles the Waterford Police Department has be made public? That’s what East Lyme resident David Godbout is asking. On April 19, he sent a Freedom of Information request to the Town of Waterford asking how many assault rifles the police department has and how many large capacity magazines they have.

Waterford has yet to make a decision on if they will give up that information or not. However, other towns have rejected similar FOI requests, citing a safety risk, and yet meanwhile the state is requiring its own citizens to do exactly that under its new gun control laws, Godbout said.

“The question is if it creates a safety risk for the town to provide this information, wouldn’t it also create a safety risk for the people who own guns in this state,” Godbout said. Read more

Paul Petrone | The Lymes Patch | 22nd April 2013

Tonga considers freedom of information rights

A government who is afraid of the media is a government that is afraid of its people – everyone has the right to information and this government has accepted these rights to information, the Acting Prime Minister Hon. Samiu Vaipulu said today.

A keynote speaker at the opening of a three-day “Rights to Information in Tonga Workshop – Freedom of Information Policy Awareness” aimed to provide better understanding on the issue and to look at the government’s Freedom of Information Policy launched in June 2012, the Acting PM said the right to information is enshrined in Article 19 of the UN Human Rights Declaration.

He said public consultations would be held in July-August this year on a Bill on Freedom of Information and participants in this workshop were to continue discussions, including a viewpoint of the receivers of information. Read more

Matangi Tonga Online | 22nd April 2013


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