PRIVATE EMAILS AND FOIA: AAAARGGGHH!

February 13th, 2012

I blogged before Christmas about the ICO’s guidance on the circumstances in which emails sent from private accounts could come within the scope of FOIA. That guidance was prompted by a complaint to the ICO alleging that the Secretary of State for Education had used a private email account to communicate about departmental business. The complainant was the Financial Times‘ Chris Cook. A few hours ago, he published one of the emails about which he complained: https://blogs.ft.com/ftdata/2012/02/13/how-do-you-define-official/#axzz1mHjkKGlL

The ‘Goudie’ referred to in the email is 11KBW and Panopticon’s own James Goudie QC; the litigation prompting Mr Gove’s ‘aaargh!’ is the Building Schools for the Future judicial review, heard in January 2011, whose large cast of counsel included a smattering of Panopticonners (James Goudie, Rachel Kamm and me).

I also discussed the ICO’s guidance in an editorial comment piece, written at the end of 2011 and appearing in the latest issue of the Freedom of Information Journal: FOI Journal Vol 8 issue 3.

Robin Hopkins

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