An enterprising approach to secrecy

Another reader of this blog has been threatened with prosecution if he dares publish information received under the freedom of information law.

The Office of Fair Trading released data to the requestor in response to his question, but then threatened him with criminal charges under the Enterprise Act 2002 if he discloses the FOI response to anyone else! He forwarded the following email that he received today from the OFT:

Sent:14 March 2007

Subject: Freedom of Information Act Request

Dear Mr X

Freedom of Information Act Request – OFT’s Response to the DTI’s Consultation Document on “The Removal of Barriers to the Sharing of Non-Consensual Cedit Data”

Thank you for your letter of 14 February in which you requested “a copy of [the OFT’s] response to the …[DTI’s] Consultation Paper dated 11th October 2006 entitled “The Removal of Barriers to the Sharing of Non-Consensual Cedit Data..”

We have considered your request for information under the Freedom of Information Act 2000 and, under this Act, we have a duty to confirm the existence of the information requested and supply it unless there are good reasons for not doing so. I can confirm that the OFT holds information that is within the scope of your request and that it is attached at the end of this e mail.

I would point out, though, that the information contained in this e mail is subject to the restrictions on disclosure in Part 9 of the Enterprise Act (“EA”) 2002. In practical terms, this means that any unauthorised further disclosure of this information could be in breach of section 241(2) of the EA, which is a criminal offence.

If you have any further queries about this e mail, please contact me on 020 7211 8735.

Yours sincerely

Nigel Bussey
Information Access Team
Office of Fair Trading
The Office of Fair Trading
Fleetbank House, 2-6 Salisbury Square, London EC4Y 8JX
Switchboard (020) 7211 8000
Web Site: http://www.oft.gov.uk/

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