An unreasonable opinion

In September, I wrote about the ICO’s generous use of the notorious S36 exemption in a request I made. Immediately after Chris Stokel Walker revealed that the ICO had spent £6000+ on chocolate, a group of What Do They Know regulars made some premature requests about the case. As it was still being investigated, ICO […]

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Problem gambler

We’ve all been there. You’ve got some knockoff ‘Orwell was right’ hokum to please the gambling industry, and a dusty tabloid owned by a media group that makes a lot of money out of bingo and betting have space in amongst the adverts to publish it. Do you really have to check the facts? Do […]

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Bitter Chocolate

Just before Christmas 2021, as a thank you gift to 254 staff for their hard work after a challenging year (not my words, but those of the Information Commissioner’s Office), someone in the ICO used their corporate credit card to buy them all a box of chocolates from Hotel Chocolat. I cannot tell you who […]

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Spamalot

This week, the Information Commissioner’s Office significantly changed its policy on direct marketing as it relates to the public sector. ICO now says most messages sent by public sector organisations – even those sent for explicitly promotional purposes – are not direct marketing. The definition has always included both commercial messages but also the promotion […]

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“I think she will be persuaded”

As surely nobody has forgotten, in April, the Duke of Edinburgh died. Even a committed republican such as myself would have to acknowledge that this is a significant event in UK public life. Government and government-adjacent organisations such as the Information Commissioner’s Office plainly had to weigh up how best to react to his passing. […]

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The China Syndrome

I don’t have an exciting Data Protection origin story. I’ve heard people talk about coming into DP or FOI to fight for inalienable rights, to battle the evils of surveillance and encroaching government or corporate power. Some people seem to have started work on information rights in order to save the world. But I wasn’t […]

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Seersucker

Although it appears to have fallen silent, the Institute of Data Protection had an impressive sales pitch. It was “one of the most forward thinking and advanced learning programmes available for data protection professionals. We represent and support our members, promoting the highest professional standards around data protection and privacy issues”. UPDATE: since this blog was […]

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“Data Protection concerns”

The family of Belly Mujinga, a railway worker who died from Covid-19 last year, want to launch a private prosecution against a man who allegedly spat on her while she was working in Victoria station. The British Transport Police refuse to name the suspect, citing “data protection concerns“. Whatever else one can say about this […]

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Low profiling

The MP for Ochil & South Perthshire, John Nicolson, wrote to the Information Commissioner last week, asking for clarification on what political parties can lawfully do with certain types of personal data. Nicolson previously enjoyed a minor coup at the DCMS select committee by coaxing Ms Denham into admitting that the Conservative Party’s profiling of […]

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