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Scottish FOI legislation to be strengthened

The report is here. One could almost imagine that this was a direct result of Climategate:

Our proposed Bill will allow for greater flexibility in reducing the lifespan of exemptions, paving the way for more information to be made public earlier.  The Bill also makes the legislation stronger by making more effective the ability to bring a prosecution where requested information has been deliberately altered, destroyed or concealed.

According to the bill, the new statute of limitations is proposed to be three years, with prosecutors having six months to bring their case after they have obtained sufficient evidence.

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Reader Comments (16)

Statute of limitations of three years AND having 6 months to bring the case to court ONCE they have enough evidence...why the only thing missing now is to make it a criminal offence to deliberately hide/delete/not release info you are required to release by law!!!


Jun 1, 2012 at 8:27 PM | Unregistered CommenterMailman

The bill's site is here, with explanatory notes etc.

This seems relevant (from said explanatory notes):

5. The 2002 Act has been in force since 1 January 2005. Two areas of the 2002 Act have been identified as requiring amendment which can only be achieved through primary legislation.

6. The two areas concern:

• the order-making power relating to the definition of what constitutes a ‘historical record’ and the lifespans of certain exemptions, and

• the ability to prosecute in the event of information not being disclosed due to, for example, alteration, destruction or concealment.

Jun 1, 2012 at 9:36 PM | Registered Commenterwoodentop

Men in kilts?

Jun 1, 2012 at 10:15 PM | Unregistered CommenterEl Sabio


"The electric power supply is available to us round the clock which are the main reason behind the careless use of the power supply. People are not aware of the harm this overuse is causing to our environment. At present the power consumption has increased to such a level that it is possible that the power resources might not be available for future generations.

FOI request for the data that lead the proposer of this bill to come to this conclusion? Direct result of Climategate: I don't think so.

Jun 1, 2012 at 11:02 PM | Unregistered Commentersimpleseekeraftertruth

ssat: he looks like another politician in the style of American Senator Ted "The Internet is a series of tubes" Stevens,

It's not a big truck

brilliantly sent up here:

(Play loud)

The Internet is a series of tubes

Jun 1, 2012 at 11:12 PM | Registered Commenterwoodentop


Despair is not too strong an emotion. Humour is the antidote: thank you.

Jun 1, 2012 at 11:24 PM | Unregistered Commentersimpleseekeraftertruth

@ mailman

I agree, but should read 7 years statute of limitations and/or 3 years to file charges after they have enough evidence. Racketeering takes time to build a case. Include language to prosecute any parties failing to report such activities within 6 months. Failing to prosecute such activities would be similar crime.

Jun 2, 2012 at 12:50 AM | Unregistered Commentereyesonu

Good point Eyesonu. Does anyone know if this is the standard length of time for Scotland though (as I cant be bothered entering those magic words in to google! :D).



Jun 2, 2012 at 1:37 AM | Unregistered CommenterMailman

The proposed changes will help, but it is always going to be difficult to prove that information was deleted after it was requested with the intent of preventing disclosure. After Climategate people may be much more careful about leaving the evidence to convict them.

The real deficiency in the Scottish FOISA and EISR is the lack of any Tribunals at which the Scottish Information Commissioner can be challenged without having to go to the Court of Session.

Jun 2, 2012 at 8:18 AM | Unregistered CommenterDavid Holland

Simpleseekerafter truth

If this charmingly ingenuous quotation from Mr Crawford's blog is anything to go by, you are correct:

"One of the major issues of concern today is the increased global warming and its harmful effects on the environment. We are directly or indirectly responsible for the increased level of global warming. The entire atmosphere is getting heated up and the temperature of the earth too has risen by many degrees. The increased wastage of energy has made this a global problem. The overuse of natural resources and power wastage has created irreparable loss for our environment. Many factors are responsible for this thing. Deforestation, increased use of electronic gadgets, pollution, emission of harmful gases, overuse of natural resources are some of the factors responsible for this overall problem of global warming."

Incidentally, the prose style is so peculiar and the English syntax so unusual I can only conclude that he wrote the blog initially in another language and used rather poor translation software.

For example:

"Most of us are not wary about the judicious use of the energy resources. There are many simple tips that can be undertaken which will help to save energy power. Lights and fans should be turned off before leaving the room. It helps in saving the power which would either have been wasted. This should be made a habit rather than a task. Lights of the bathrooms, kitchen, living rooms and all the other places should be switched off when not in use. It is always advisable to use the resources judiciously. The use of electrical equipments should be minimized. The air conditioner should be reset and the temperature should be adjusted to a normal level. The use of other power consuming equipments should also be decreased. With all these tips the energy usage should be kept in track. A regular monitoring of the power supply helps in curtailing the overuse of the energy."

Jun 2, 2012 at 8:24 AM | Unregistered CommenterAlan Kennedy

He says he is confused and puts it down to cyber squatting, though there is a link directly under his official address (page 5) on a fact sheet from the Scottish Parliament.

However, this is a more recent copy of the fact sheet, where the link has been removed. But I had to search on the Scottish Parliament web site to find it. Google finds the earlier one, no doubt because it had more hits.

Jun 2, 2012 at 9:57 AM | Unregistered CommenterDe Torquemada

Alan K; those excerpts do indeed read like a poor translation. Maybe they were cut and pasted from someone else whose mother-tongue is not English?

Jun 2, 2012 at 10:28 AM | Unregistered CommenterMikeH

I must see if Google does Scottish-English translation.
Awa' the noo...

Jun 2, 2012 at 11:26 AM | Unregistered CommenterJames P

The most ringing endorsement of FOI legislation that I can think of is that Tony Blair didn't like it.

Jun 2, 2012 at 11:34 AM | Unregistered CommenterJames P

Dont know if the Bishop will allow this
But has anyone got Adrobe Photo shop and can then upload to Flicr Facebook or Photo bucket etc

Can you tilt the back (calf and ankle) of the black carbon footprint by about 15 degrees downwards and then repost it
Fill in the blood splatter .make it look like someone has tried to cut someones foot in half with a hacksaw

Got the idea years ago. We were teenagers and we all started drinking in this really rough working mens club in Orpington back in 1980s
The people were alright in there .We used to get lock ins
Couple of the Lads had come back from a holiday in Portugal
They were laughing because they had seen some African Guy walking along the beech
with this T shirt
On the front it said Halve your Poll Tax
On the front it said Kill your wife and Kids
Seems rather apt for Maggie Thatcher back then and Gillian Gillard now

I will get a few T shirts printed up and sell them on Ebay in Australia
Then if its takes off possibly Amazon
If any fellow Ozzy Skeptics want to jump in and make a few quid go for it
The guy in the Printers said the Chinese will see it and then flood the market with conterfeits which is exactly what we want

Jun 2, 2012 at 11:39 AM | Unregistered CommenterJamspid

"There seems to be no point to this online impersonation." - SNP

I apologise to Mr.Crawford for my inadvertent misquote and wish him every success in strengthening Scottish FOI legislation.

Jun 2, 2012 at 1:06 PM | Unregistered Commentersimpleseekeraftertruth

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