Identifiability and the Unmotivated Intruder – Panopticon

Posted August 6th, 2018 in disclosure, freedom of information, identification, news, statistics by sally

‘It is not uncommon for public authorities who hold statistical data to decline to disclose specific figures in categories for which the number is fewer than five, on the basis of a fear that the number of affected people is sufficiently small that they are reasonably identifiable. In other words, they rely on section 40(2) FOIA to withhold the number.That approach has now been considered by the Upper Tribunal in Information Commissioner v Miller [2018] UKUT 229 (AAC). That case concerned a request to (what is now) MHCLG for their information supplied by local authorities on a range of homelessness statistics. In relation to parts of the dataset which related to five or fewer individuals, section 40(2) was relied on. The FTT disagreed in a decision on the papers and the ICO appealed.’

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Panopticon, 3rd August 2018