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    Location: Aberystwyth, Wales, United Kingdom

    I am the owner and managing director of Information Automation Limited (IAL), a company that specialises in research, consultancy and training for the information profession. We are particularly interested in all forms of electronic information resources (e-journals, e-books, etc) and I teach a course in electronic publishing at the Department of Information Studies in Aberystwyth. Drilling down still further(!), my interests centre on the quality and evaluation of electronic information, and in the thinking that underpins activities in library and information science.


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    Wednesday, May 30, 2007

    ID Cards - so, what have they got to hide?

    The FT reported today that - even before the Freedom of Information exemptions have been through the Lords - some parts of Government feel that they fall outside the law.
    The Office of Government Commerce is to appeal to the High Court over a ruling that requires it to disclose a review of the controversial ID cards project. ... It turned down a request for the early reviews of the ID cards project, in spite of Richard Thomas, the Information Commissioner, ruling in favour of disclosure. His judgment was backed early this month by the Information Tribunal...
    And why should the OGC be exempt from FoI? They say that if everyone knew what they were talking about, it would "hamper frank discussion." Well, I suppose that's a pretty frank admission!

    It's all down to how you define 'public interest' - the OGC thinks that it is in our own interests that we do not know how the ID Cards project is progressing (or not) or how the OGC intends to provide "value for money savings [by improving projects]." Personally, since it will be my ID they are storing - possibly securely, I think it is in my interest to know the project is progressing, what issues have arisen, and how the OGC thinks that it affairs can be improved.

    Why is it that:
    "disclosure would seriously undermine the effectiveness of the process, as confidentiality is essential to it."
    Can someone explain that? Anyone?

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