Internal review request of case IRQ 0576154

Thanks for your reply. However, I would like to request an internal review of case IRQ0576154.

Specifically, I would like you to review the decision not to release the executive summary of your audit of Talk Talk’s compliance with the Privacy and Electronic Communications (EC Directive) Regulations 2003 (PECR).

I can understand and accept the application, in your initial response, of s31(1)(g) of the Freedom of Information Act 2000 (FOIA) in regard to most of the held (and withheld) information you have identified, but you say the disclosing the executive summary itself would or would be likely to prejudice the relevant exercise of your functions, and that the public interest favours the maintaining of the exemption. But neither in your consideration of the application of the exemption nor in your consideration of the public interest have you taken into account the fact that the executive summaries of your audits are prepared on the presumption that they will be published. As your document “Communicating Audits” says:

The ICO will expect to publish the Executive Summary on our website and will encourage the data controller to allow us to do so

And certainly in the case of some PECR audits you do (last year you published the summaries of audits into EE and Telefonica UK).

I appreciate that the document goes on to say that a data controller (and by inference a person, for PECR purposes) can “prevent” publication, but surely allowing, or purporting to allow, a person to prevent publication (without any other reason) is an impermissible restraint on your public law discretion to disclose information.

Furthermore, I would submit that you have failed to take into account, both when considering whether the exemption was engaged and when considering the public interest, the fact that publishing (or disclosing) the executive summary allows consumers to make a more informed choice about which telecoms provider to choose to do business with. If some providers’ PECR compliance is better, or worse, than others, then consumers have an interest in knowing this.

For these reasons I hope you can reconsider your decision and disclose the executive summary at least.

Best wishes,

Jon Baines

2 Comments

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2 responses to “Internal review request of case IRQ 0576154

  1. What prompted the original request, Jon?

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