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Access to information? The ins and outs of information rights

We all support the idea of protecting personal privacy, at the same time as we want free access to information about public sector nitty-gritty. But sometimes one 'Good Thing' gets in the way of another. Is it right that the Information Commissioner should be the guardian of both rights, or is there a conflict of interest?

While acknowledging that there are tensions between the two, Christopher Graham sees it as a positive advantage to have one Commissioner with a mission to uphold both sets of information rights in the public interest, simultaneously promoting openness by public bodies and data privacy for individuals. In his presentation, he made a convincing show of his determination not to tolerate self-interested secrecy or careless disclosure of personal data. And he pointed to the wisdom of limiting the appointment of the Information Commissioner to a fixed term (five years), effectively liberating him from the compelling need to avoid offending important people.

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