Freedom of Information Act

Discussion in 'Current Affairs, News and Analysis' started by big-timer, Sep 24, 2003.

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  1. I recently attended a (compulsory) presentation on the effects that this act is going to have on just about everything we do when it becomes law in Jan 05. I'll admit that I hadn't even heard of it before I attended the presentation.

    I wonder how much of the Army is living in blissful ignorance of this scary subject.

    From my limited understanding of the presentation I attended, I got the impression that everyone from North Korean intelligence agencies to the IRA can ask the MOD just about any question they want and in most cases we will be obligated to give out the information, as we will want to keep back our limited 'jokers' to stop the REALLY sensitive info getting out there.

    Can anyone put my mind at rest?
  2. ViroBono

    ViroBono LE Moderator

    I am certain that the MOD civil servants will be able to successfully obfuscate, delay and generally avoid providing an answer which is either understandable or accurate.

    At least, that's my experience! :lol:
  3. They can ask, and they certainly do, but they don't get. Anything marked Confidential, Secret, Top Secret and/or with UK Eyes 'A', 'B', etc, just doesn't make it to foreign countries unless it's is leaked or sneaked, contrary to the Official Secrets Act. Then the person(s) can expect the full weight of the law against them.
  4. ViroBono,
    very true mate, LOL.
  5. Gunny

    Yeah, that's what I thought right up until I got this briefing. Apparently that's not going to be the case any more after Jan 05. After that the marking of a file doesn't stop it being released if someone has specifically asked for the information.

    True the official secrets act stops any individual from releasing info, but the Freedom of Information Act means that the organisation is REQUIRED to release it, unless an exemption applies. These exemptions aren't very robust and can be overridden by some Governmental Mandarin called the Information Minister.

    They were even talking about classifiying documents by paragraph! So that only the really secret part of a secret document is held back.

    It's bloody worrying!
  6. well considering stuff from ww2 is still kept secret .and a lot of classified stuff is there because it is inconvient if the truth got out
    sa80 fiasco and politically embarassing .
    Stuff should be kept secret if it needs to be not just because we can.
    Would I be going out to desert for 4 months if the iraq data had been out in the open before ?
  7. But don't forget the irregular verb from 'Yes, Prime Minister':

    I give unattributable briefings;
    You leak;
    He is prosecuted under the OSA ...!