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United Kingdom Government Privacy Your Rights Online

UK Ministers' Private Communications Subject To Freedom of Information Act 38

Posted by timothy
from the acting-within-the-scope-of-office dept.
Techmeology writes "Emails and texts sent from UK ministers' private accounts could be subject to the Freedom of Information Act, which means copies could be requested by members of the public. New guidelines to be released by the government say that the key factor is 'the nature of the information and not the format.' This development comes amid a two year dispute caused when a newspaper used the act to obtain and publish an email sent from the education minister's private email address."
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UK Ministers' Private Communications Subject To Freedom of Information Act

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  • by julian67 (1022593) on Sunday September 30, 2012 @10:42AM (#41506041)

    From the article:

    "New government guidance will say the act relates to "the nature of the information and not the format"

    Which means that communications re government business will fall under the Freedom of Information Act, that is they will be discoverable, regardless of the medium of transmission/storage. Personal exchanges will remain private.

    This doesn't mean that anyone gets to read ministers' personal/domestic/private sms or emails /partners but it does mean that ministers can't hide official business under unofficial accounts.

    Another benefit is that it might discourage ministers/officials conducting business on accounts which are hosted by potentially insecure and definitely unaccountable webmail providers, many of which would be storing data and hosting services outside the UK.

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