Martin Hoskins muses today on why – apart from those who’ve worked for the Information Commissioner’s Office – no data protection professionals have ever received royal honours. I can certainly think of a few information rights people whose selflessness and length of practice deserve recognition – Dr Chris Pounder, for instance, whose career in data protection spans five decades, or Maurice Frankel, without whom we might not even have an FOI Act. But, given that there’s little chance of this happening, I am today announcing an alternative
Information Rights and Wrongs Birthday Honours List
For services to the DfE, the Financial Times’ Chris Cook. Without Chris’s sterling efforts we would have little understanding of the devotion to the cause of ministers and SpAds at the Department for Education. Chris revealed that, such was this devotion, they spend much of their time and resources using their own home email accounts to do government work.
For services to public authorities in general, Alan M Dransfield, whose FOI campaigns mean there is now much greater clarity about how and when to treat FOI requests as vexatious.
For apparent defiance of in the face of the law, Jim Shannon MP, who – as well as holding the title of least sexy MP – does not appear to have been registered with the Information Commissioner for at least three years, despite the fact that processing personal data without a registration is a criminal offence (unless there is an exemption).
For donations to the legal profession Brighton and Sussex University Hospital Trust, who paid lawyers £178,000 in fees seeking to challenge an Information Commissioner monetary penalty, before withdrawing their appeal before it went to a hearing.
But there is one candidate which stands out above all others. A group honour, because no single individual could have (not) achieved all that they have (not) achieved. They are the inspiration behind a great new website, and they are the winner of the highest accolade, the Information Rights and Wrongs Arcana Imperii honour…
For sheer jaw-dropping contempt of the law, the Cabinet Office, who have decided to dispense with the need to observe the FOI Act. They are an inspiration for all of us and for as long as no effective enforcement is taken to ensure compliance, they will continue to be the shining beacon for all public authorities.