Number of animals used in University of Leeds testing revealed
Almost 17,000 animals were used in medical experiments conducted by the University of Leeds last year – and most of them were killed.
A Freedom of Information request submitted by the Yorkshire Evening Post revealed the university has carried out experiments on 55,235 mice and 5,155 rats over the past five years.
Other animals subjected to scientific tests between 2007 and 2011 were pigs, sheep, bats, gerbils, rabbits, guinea pigs, toads, frogs, and birds
Debbie Leigh | Yorkshire Evening Post | 29th June 2012
Civil servants find no documents supporting Alex Salmond’s BSkyB lobbying ‘alibi’
The Daily Telegraph used the Freedom of Information Act to ask for all emails and civil service minutes of meetings and telephone calls between the Scottish Executive and Mr Murdoch’s News Corporation that indicate the deal would have created jobs.
But Patrick Berry, Mr Salmond’s assistant private secretary, could not find any and said all the First Minister’s communications with the Murdoch media empire were published by the Leveson Inquiry earlier this month.
These documents also contained no mention of extra jobs. Jeremy Hunt, the Culture Secretary who was in charge of ruling on the aborted takeover, has already said that he was not aware of the deal increasing employment north of the Border.
Simon Johnson | The Telegraph | 28th June 2012
The FBI’s Secret Surveillance Letters to Tech Companies
Just what kind of information can the government get with a so-called “national security letter” – the tool that allows investigators to seek financial, phone and Internet data without a judge’s approval?
It’s a secret.
The letters let the Federal Bureau of Investigation get information without going before a judge or grand jury if it’s relevant to a national security investigation. The letters have been around since the 1980s, but their use grew after the Sept. 11, 2001 terrorist attacks and passage of the USA Patriot Act. Tens of thousands of the requests are sent each year, but they are generally .
Jennifer Valentino-DeVries | Wall Street Journal | 27th June 2012
Chinese Still Face Long March To Establish Freedom Of Information
Reporters Without Borders said Tuesday it is deeply concerned about the continued attacks by the Chinese authorities on those such as artists, human rights activists and the media who bring public attention to sensitive subjects.
“Rights campaigner Hu Jia beaten up on June 20, artist Ai Weiwei facing improper legal proceedings, journalists of the South China Morning Post forced into self-censorship… the record is shocking,” the press freedom organization said.
Eurasia Review | June 27th 2012
ICO chides South Yorkshire Police over arrest data blunder
The Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO) has chided South Yorkshire Police over a data breach that saw information on 600 arrests sent to a journalist by mistake.
The force sent data in response to a Freedom of Information (FoI) request but accidentally included sensitive information, including details of the offences for which the arrests were made, in a spreadsheet attached to the email.
The ICO said it decided against any financial action as staff at the force are trained regularly on handling FoI requests and the information had been deleted by the recipient once it was realised to have been sent by mistake.
Dan Worth | V3 | 27th June 2012
Boris Johnson accused of covering up another Murdoch meeting
London mayor met James Murdoch and Rebekah Brooks during the phone-hacking scandal but left it off the hospitality register
Boris Johnson had a third meeting with the Murdochs that was not declared on City Hall’s hospitality register, leading to accusations that he attempted to conceal his close relationship with the media baron. The meetings came to light after a Freedom of Information request on the hospitality register by the left-leaning political website www.politicalscrapbook.net
Lisa O’Carroll | The Guardian | 21 June 2012
The Increasingly Absurd Conceit That [US] Drone Strikes Are Secret
Late Wednesday, the Obama Administration denied a Freedom of Information Act request demanding information about its targeted killing program. Among the public, there is broad support for the notion that the president and CIA should be able to act in secret while waging the War on Terrorism. For that reason, the White House hasn’t gotten much grief for its denial. What needs to be more widely understood are the several issues that this particular denial raises. Even if you think the president should enjoy broad latitude to act in secret on matters of national security, there are good reasons to find his actions in this case objectionable and pernicious.
The Atlatnic | 22nd June 2012
The gas firm, the [Northern Irish] minister and the £250m decision
A STORMONT minister has contacted the independent regulator who sets gas prices about a sensitive £250 million decision – despite initially refusing to get involved – after being lobbied to do so by one of Northern Ireland’s largest companies.
Documents released to the News Letter under the Freedom of Information Act reveal that Enterprise Minister Arlene Foster wrote to the regulator who sets gas prices in March after being contacted numerous times by senior figures at Phoenix Natural Gas.
Sam McBride | Newsletter | 22nd June 2012
Scotland Yard says it is considering keeping secret a report detailing questions about the conduct and integrity of a police chief who went on to be hired by part of Rupert Murdoch’s News Corporation.
Former Scotland Yard commander Ray Adams was head of UK security for the software company NDS, owned by News Corp, which allegedly cracked the smartcard codes of rival company ONdigital. The codes then appeared on a pirate website. NDS denies any wrongdoing.
The Guardian has formally sought the release of the Operation Russell report under freedom of information legislation. But the Met says it may seek to keep the report secret using an exemption.
Vikram Dodd | The Guardian | 27th April 2012
Freedom of Information requests 2011: how many were there and which were turned down?
The Freedom of Information Act of 2000 is very British Institution – it allows anyone to request data from government departments – and to be entitled to a response.
And today, the latest figures, published by the Ministry of Justice, show that FoI requests are up in the UK – 47,141 in 2011, a 7% increase on 2010. The increase is in requests to central government, but not to monitored quangos.
Simon Rogers | The Guardian | 26th April 2012
Group to appeal after US judge blocks release of dead bin Laden photos
Judicial Watch told FOX News Channel there was “no provision under law to keep documents secret because their release might offend our terrorist enemies.”
The group launched the legal bid after asking the CIA and the US Department of Defence to publicly release photographs and footage of the May 2011 raid.
It filed a Freedom of Information Act request the day after the daring operation took place at bin Laden’s compound in Abbottabad, Pakistan.
NewsCore | 27th April 2012
Soaring rate of Kent grammar school offers to private pupils
Nearly 500 children from more than 80 fee-paying independent schools were offered places at grammar schools in Kent this year, according to figures obtained by the KM Group.
In some cases, pupils from private schools accounted for more than a third of the offers while at others, places were offered to pupils at schools in East Sussex, Surrey and London.
The startling figures, revealed for the first time under the Freedom of Information Act, underline the impact schools in the private sector have on the competition for places at some of the county’s highest-performing state schools.
Paul Francis | Kent Online | April 27th 2012
Faults with Terminator mean 26,000 tonnes of rubbish go to landfill
Rubbish weighing as much as an aircraft carrier has been sent to landfill instead of being recycled because of faults with a £42 million waste-shredding machine.
Cambridgeshire County Council has had to cough up £1.45 million extra in landfill tax because the giant machine at AmeyCespa’s Waterbeach site has not been operating at top capacity, the News has discovered.
The mechanical biological treatment plant, dubbed ‘the Terminator’, which is the length of three football pitches, should have been operating at full speed 18 months ago but that is yet to happen.
A Freedom of Information request revealed in that time 26,574 tonnes of rubbish were sent to landfill which could have been recycled if the machine was working at full capacity, the same weight as two-and-a-half Eiffel towers, a small aircraft carrier, or 1,772 guided busway beams.
Chris Havergal | Waste Management World | 27th April 2012