ICO - FS50812647

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ICO - FS50812647
LogoUK.png
Authority: ICO (UK)
Jurisdiction: United Kingdom
Relevant Law:
Freedom of Information Act (2000)Section 27(1)(a)
Freedom of Information Act (2000)Section 27(1)(b)
Type: Complaint
Outcome: Rejected
Decided:
Published: 5. 2. 2020
Fine: n/a
Parties: n/a
National Case Number/Name: FS50812647
European Case Law Identifier: n/a
Appeal: n/a
Original Language(s): English
Original Source: ICO (in )
Initial Contributor: {{{Initial_Contributor}}}

The Information Commissioner's Office (ICO) decided not to take further actions over the Department for Digital, Culture, Media & Sport (DCMS) for its management of a UK citizen's (the complainant) request of information on which articles of the (now repealed) Directive 95/46/EC, according to the European Commission, had not been properly implemented by the UK government at the (now repealed) Data Protection Act 1998.

English Summary[edit | edit source]

Facts[edit | edit source]

The complainant submitted a complaint to the ICO stating that he had made a request of information to the DCMS and that it has not been properly managed by this institution; in that request, he had asked for a list on which articles of the Directive 95/46/EC had not been properly implemented by the UK government at the Data Protection Act 1998 according to the European Commission, with identification of the sections of this law to which each allegation relates.

The ICO clarified that its mission here was to not to judge the DCMS behaviour, but to determine whether DCMS is entitled to rely on the exemptions applied as a basis for refusing to provide the withheld information.

Dispute[edit | edit source]

(a) The DCMS decided not to handle the requested information to the complainant, with basis on public interest exemptions foreseen at the Freedom of Information Act 2000 (FOIA). Despite that, as a result of the investigation by the ICO, it appeared that, during the several communications of DCMS with the complainant, this institution did not choose the correct exemption at the first attempt nor it made the adequate public interest test applicable to the actual information requested, it finally chose Section 27(1)(b) (the information to be disclosed may prejudice ‘relations between the United Kingdom and any international organisation or international court’) as the applicable one.

(b) In order to determine the applicability of Section 27(1)(b), the ICO based its legal reasoning in previous similar ICO decisions dated 2011 (FS50290504) and, specially, 2016 (FS50577377). In this last one, it highlighted that it is strongly in the public interest that the UK maintains good relations with the European Commission, and considered that it would not be in the public interest if there were to be a negative impact on those relations as a result of the release of such information, particularly ‘when the potential for infraction proceedings against the UK remains live’. To this respect, in the moment in which the complaint requested the information to the DCMS, infringement proceedings against the UK despite the enactment of the GDPR were still open.

Holding[edit | edit source]

Thus, with basis on Section 27(1)(b) of the FOIA, and considering that, at the time of the complainant’s request, and at the present time, the ICO is satisfied with the final balance of the public interest by the DCMS, the ICO concluded that the information withheld by the DCMS in this case is exempt from disclosure, and that the balance of the public interest supports maintaining the exemption, so no more steps from the DCMS are required.

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English Machine Translation of the Decision[edit | edit source]

Not applicable. Please see the English original.