The right to know

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  • The right to know
    • Data Protection Act 1998
      • Why might you request information held about you?
        • Doctor in order to check that it is correct
      • Implications
        • The lose or misuse of personal data can lead to prosecution under law
      • Exemptions
        • Not be possible to request information held about another individual as this would be a breach of the DPA itself.
      • Aims of the DPA
        • Allow access to a person's information if they request it
        • To protect the information held on an  individual
      • Case study
        • Hertfordshire County Council was fined £100,000 by the information Commissioner after employees accidentally sent two faxes containing private information to the wrong recipients on two separate occasions
    • Freedom of information act 2000
      • Why and how might you wish to request information
        • Authority may request more information in order to clarify the request
        • May cost a fee
        • Authority must respond within twenty days
        • Application must be made to the relevant department in writing
      • Implications
        • Citizens can contact the information Commissioner and ask them to investigate the decision
      • Exemptions
        • Request is vexatious
        • Request would cost too many man hours or too much money to supply the information
        • Information requested is legally privileged
        • Information is too sensitive in terms of national security or relations with other countries
        • Request concerns personal information or commercial confidence
        • Request is unnecessary as the information will be, or is, already published
      • Aims of the FOIA?
        • ensure that citizens can ask public authorities if they hold any information on a particular subject
      • Case study
        • At least 994 currently serving police officers and police community support officers have a criminal record
      • Advantages/ disadvantages
        • disadvantages
          • Can waste time and money
          • Take up a large volume of civil servants time
          • Money could be better spent on  public services
          • Exploiting exemptions to avoid disclosing information
        • Advantages
          • Easy access to information that may have been hidden by government
          • Increases the scope of freedom of the press
          • Greater transparency on government decisions
          • Relative low costs compared to other departments


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