Justice CommitteeWritten evidence from Andy Macdonald

Much as I support the idea that the public should be able to query public bodies and large companies for information and that processes are transparent, it worries me that some people abuse the spirit of the law. For example it seems to be used by some businesses as a cheap way to get commercial information and the FoI laws in these cases serve to subsidise their information gathering at the taxpayers expense.

For example, someone going by the name John Wicker has posted 1,197 FoI requests via the ‘What do they know’ web site, which must have wasted many thousands of hours of time. I wouldn’t mind if this was genuinely in the public interest, but it seems to me that this was done just to earn John Wicker some money at the taxpayers expense.

See—http://www.whatdotheyknow.com/user/john_wicker and related pages on that web site.

February 2012

Prepared 25th July 2012