Tuesday, 14 July 2009

Toothless watchdog

In the Times today, former BBC journalist and goverment spin doctor Martin Sixsmith sinks his teeth into the information commissioner, for being utterly useless in pursuing what he describes as a freedom of information request but which seems to be a subject data access request under the data protection act.

Sixsmith tells how, after some pretty severe delaying tactics from the government

I urged the ICO to demand that the Government hand over the data. The ICO threatened enforcement action, but the Government did not reply. So the ICO set another deadline, which the Government also ignored. When the Government failed to meet a third deadline, the ICO moved it back again.

It was clear that the Government was accustomed to bullying and ignoring a toothless ICO, and that the ICO had no stomach to take it on.
All very familiar...

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