European Data Protection Digest

ICO: Official Gov't Correspondence Subject to FOI

PRIVACY LAW—UK

December 16, 2011

Information Commissioner Christopher Graham says that official government correspondence falls within the jurisdiction of the Freedom of Information Act, The Telegraph reports. "It should not come as a surprise to public authorities," Graham said, "to have the clarification that information held in private e-mail accounts can be subject to Freedom of Information law if it relates to official business...This has always been the case--the act covers all recorded information in any form." Graham has also released guidance on the subject "with two key aims--first, to give public authorities an authoritative steer on the factors that should be considered before deciding whether a search of private e-mail accounts is necessary when responding to a request under the act...Second, to set out the procedures that should generally be in place to respond to requests." 
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