Protection of Official Data

Posted by Policyhubadmin on 10 April 2017
Posted under: 

The Protection of Official Data project was referred to the Law Commission by the Cabinet Office in late 2015. We commenced work in February 2016 and they will publish their final report in Summer 2017.

The BCS Law Specialist Group have a working party on 12th April at BCS London to respond to the public consultation, for event details please click here

To review the Consultation document please click here

To review the six pages of preliminary conclusions and questions for comment, please click here

Consultation Response

Only BCS Members can submit responses to Consultations.
Existing members please login here
Closes on: 
Friday, 12 May 2017


by Angus Marshall

Agree that the concept of "an enemy" is dated. In practice, unauthorised disclosure may be made to range of entities, only some of whom are directly hostile. It is quite possible that disclosure may be made to commercial organisations who seek commercial advantage without obviously being detrimental to the government or nation, or to allies who do not seek to do harm.... A more all-encompassing, and less emotive, term is therefore required.

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by Angus Marshall

On the concept of harm. Unauthorised disclosure may not immediately result in obvious harm, but does represent a clear failing and breach (cf Data Protection legislation). There should not be requirement to prove harm, but a public interest defence may be appropriate in some circumstances.

by Angus Marshall

3.35 Agree
3.38 Agree
3.45 the concept of "sensisitve information" may be too broad. If such a proposal is to be included, there should be an attempt to categories the information more precisely.
3.48 The concept of territorialist is made more complex by Internet communications. The offence should depend not on geography, but on the person and their role/responsibility - regardless of location. Broadly agree with 3.48

by Angus Marshall

3.51 Almost certainly. The OSA pre-dates modern communications and interception technologies and should, at least, be amended to allow it to encompass these properly.
4.12 Agree in principle.
4.15 Agree - if there are opportunities to make legislation more consistent (and concise?) they should be pursued.

by Angus Marshall

5.9 Agree - and would be interested to see what the Forensic Science Regulator has to say on the issue of spoliation in this respect.
5.16 Agreed. Our judicial process needs to be kept as transparent as possible - without scope for vague terms to be abused.
5.20 Agreed - should be part of normal disclosure process.

by Angus Marshall

5.24 Agreed. Fairness should be the over-riding concern.
6.8 Agree that public interest defence should not be statutory or have higher value than other defences, but it should be available in order to protect other fundamental rights.

7.39 Agree
7.42 Agree - some form of guidance is almost always helpful
7.47 Partially agree. A PI defence is potentially useful, but should not be limited to particular classes of person.

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