Feeds

back to article Info Commissioner must justify why stats data are personal

Sadly, there is more data protection case-law arising from the conflict over requests for personal data made under freedom of information (FOI) legislation, than there is when there is a data protection conflict. This state of affairs is the result of the fact the Commissioner has to publish a Decision Notice in relation to a …

COMMENTS

This topic is closed for new posts.
Anonymous Coward

Huh

Sounds a bit like reversed burden of proof to me. Legal opinions?

1
0
Silver badge
Thumb Down

I have to wonder...

... whether someone has an axe to grind here and what they're really saying is "kiddie fiddlers shouldn't be able to hide!"

This could become the first stage in sneaking through a version of "Sarah's Law" where one piece of information on its own isn't sufficient to identify someone, but combined with other pieces of information which also, on their own, aren't sufficient, *could* be used to identify a sex offender and let the lynch mobs get to work...

2
0

Sequential questions are an easy route to ID

Take example of a group of folks living in a block of houses. Every time somebody moves (in or out), one of the goup fires off their prepared FOI. Change in number - identified person.

2
0
Anonymous Coward

But not reliably, of course

You don't know how long it takes them to update the data and there's always the possibility of a resident being added to or removed from the register without changing their address.

2
0

Question is...

...what on earth were those Housing Associations doing trying to obtain this information in the first place? (perhaps an FOI request is in order...)

I can't think (off the top of my head) of any reasonable explanation for their action.

1
0
Anonymous Coward

I think you miss the point of FOI requests

"...what on earth were those Housing Associations doing trying to obtain this information in the first place? (perhaps an FOI request is in order...)"

The whole principle of FOI data is that the pertitent unbiased FACTS are released. Unfortunately, you appear to think its OK for requesters to only have access to the information, if they meet YOUR criteria. That would be like the police refusing a request to a journalist on the grounds it might show them in an unfavourable light. Not that their ethics policy or moral conviction would allow them to do that. /Sarcasm off.

Or like Southampton University trying to suppress FOI data by claiming it would be illegal for the requester to copy the information to a third party, see http://www.theregister.co.uk/2009/09/10/southampton_freedom_of_info/

FOIs are about trying to break the willful conspiracy of silence/perversion of social justice by public servants and other vested interests. In this particular case, if the information can be legally released, it should be. Its not OK for the releasing authority to provide the data with a caveat that the requester shouldn't use it to do things with it that the releaser wouldn't approve of. That would only happen in a police state :/

0
1

Not enough IT

> Clearly, the first four characters of a post code is not personal data in itself. So the question that had to be addressed by the Court was what “other information” could transform such a postcode into personal data?

The distribution of the shrouded suffixes against the permutation of possible suffixes, plus the distribution of properties at each actual postcode. This information is available on Wikileaks, and simply needs a bit of processing. That would give the Court an answer either way. (The database is rather large). (And no I don't have a copy).

0
0
Anonymous Coward

Stigma

The thing is, G40 6 may or may not have a large number of residential addresses in it, so the number is fairly useless, but as a statistic it's distorting. If you have 150 people in P40 6 and 10 in P40 5, nothing in P40 4 or 3 what does that prove. P40 6 could land up with a reputation undeserved because it's 150 out of a population of 30,000 compared to P40 5 which has a population of 1,000. P40 3 could be a wasteland, and P40 4 a rural community.

But you can guess how it would be taken.

BTW I know nothing of East Glasgow demographics so I used a fictitious example.

0
0
This topic is closed for new posts.