In response to a Cabinet Office request in 2015, the Law Commission has been reviewing relevant statutes – the Official Secrets Act in particular – to “examine the effectiveness of the criminal law provisions that protect Government information from unauthorised disclosure.” The review is believed to be necessary to “ensure that the law is keeping pace with the challenges of the 21st century.”
As part of this work, the Law Commission published a consultation report on ‘official data protection’. The Law Commission’s report has already attracted significant criticism from the media and whistleblowing organisations which regarded the proposals as a potential assault on free speech and freedom of the press. There were also concerns about the extent to which the Law Commission had consulted with NGOs and media organisations. Defending the report, Law Commissioner Professor David Ormerod QC argued that the Law Commission had considered “carefully the freedom of expression and public interest issues”.
The Law Commission has invited interested parties to write submissions commenting on the proposals outlined in the report. The consultation period closed for submissions on 3 May, although some organisations have been given an extended deadline.
The Information Law and Policy Centre has re-published some of the submissions written by stakeholders and interested parties in response to the Law Commission’s consultation report (pdf) to our blog. A list of the published responses is available in the spreadsheet below, while the individual blog posts themselves have been collated together at this link.
Please note that none of the published submissions reflect the views of the Information Law and Policy Centre which aims to promote and facilitate cross-disciplinary law and policy research, in collaboration with a variety of national and international institutions.