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Freedom of Information in Scotland in Practice, by Kevin Dunion

Freedom of Information in Scotland in Practice, by Kevin Dunion question can have a stark bearing on whether you can use FoI to find out about your local leisure centre, or about the private contractor mending roads. Can a requester be identified? FoI is intended to be ‘purpose blind’ to protect the identity of the requester. When and why a requester can be named can have deep implications. The attempt by Philip Morris to use FoI to access research data on underage smoking from the University of Stirling via a third party caused huge controversy when it was revealed who was doing the asking. Does a request cover information or just a document? The wrong answer to this question could seriously jeopardise how or even if an FoI Act can function, as it very nearly did in Scotland. The author spends some time examining one of the key balancing acts; that between openness and privacy. These two issues are likened to ‘tectonic plates’ as they ‘grind against each other, sending out seismic shocks’ (2011, 340). The potential for problems arises everywhere from government statistics to correspondence held by a local councillor. Many felt that this would give rise to endless complications 1570-1255/12/$27.50  2012 – IOS Press and http://www.deepdyve.com/assets/images/DeepDyve-Logo-lg.png Information Polity IOS Press

Freedom of Information in Scotland in Practice, by Kevin Dunion

Information Polity , Volume 17 (2) – Jan 1, 2012

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Publisher
IOS Press
Copyright
Copyright © 2012 by IOS Press, Inc
ISSN
1570-1255
eISSN
1875-8754
DOI
10.3233/IP-2012-0278
Publisher site
See Article on Publisher Site

Abstract

question can have a stark bearing on whether you can use FoI to find out about your local leisure centre, or about the private contractor mending roads. Can a requester be identified? FoI is intended to be ‘purpose blind’ to protect the identity of the requester. When and why a requester can be named can have deep implications. The attempt by Philip Morris to use FoI to access research data on underage smoking from the University of Stirling via a third party caused huge controversy when it was revealed who was doing the asking. Does a request cover information or just a document? The wrong answer to this question could seriously jeopardise how or even if an FoI Act can function, as it very nearly did in Scotland. The author spends some time examining one of the key balancing acts; that between openness and privacy. These two issues are likened to ‘tectonic plates’ as they ‘grind against each other, sending out seismic shocks’ (2011, 340). The potential for problems arises everywhere from government statistics to correspondence held by a local councillor. Many felt that this would give rise to endless complications 1570-1255/12/$27.50  2012 – IOS Press and

Journal

Information PolityIOS Press

Published: Jan 1, 2012

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