Scotland’s Information Commissioner has said that he will take action if he suspects Scottish government officials have been deliberately withholding information to “subvert” freedom of information laws. David Hamilton told Scotland News that excerpts of conversations published between the national clinal director, Jason Leitch, and other officials gave him “cause for concern that people were not abiding by the spirit, if not the law, of freedom of information.” Messages published by the UK Covid inquiry last week showed government officials discussing freedom of information laws in relation to Whatsapp chats. Prof Leitch responded by saying “WhatsApp deletion is a pre-bed ritual”. The Scottish government has said that it believes all legal obligations have been met. However, Mr Hamilton told Scotland News that “information may have been deleted that shouldn’t have been deleted.” He added that his office would take action if there was “any suggestion that people have been deliberately trying to withhold that, to subvert that policy of freedom of information.” Mr Hamilton said he had concerns about the “attitude” some officials had displayed towards freedom of information laws, and that he planned to consider if there was a “systemic problem”. The Information Commissioner said that some published conversations suggested a culture of “actively instructing people to delete conversations” as their content could be requested by the public. He added that there was a lack of “corporate oversight” on informal messaging apps, and that blended personal and professional conversations were leading to problems.
- Tech & Science