How schoolchildren’s data was used to support the Hostile Environment

...and other Transparency, FOI & Journalism news from mySociety

Uncovering facts with Freedom of Information

Campaign group Defenddigitalme investigated into schoolchildren's personal data: why was it being collected by the government? Who was it being shared with, and under what pretexts? 

The project was broadly conducted through FOI, using WhatDoTheyKnow. What it uncovered was, in places, pretty shocking.

Better case management for authorities

Supported by the Local Digital Fund, we've been working with five councils across the country to discover and prototype better processes for FOI and Subject Access requests.

We're sharing our progress as we go along, and the ultimate aim is an end-to-end request system that'll be open source so everyone can benefit. Here's where we are with the project so far.

Extending FOI: the case for including contractors

ICO report 'Outsourcing Insight?'The Information Commissioner's Office has called upon Parliament to extend the UK's FOI legislation to also apply to contractors.

In a well-argued report, it cites the collapse of Carillion and the Grenfell Tower tragedy as events in which public oversight might have averted disaster — but since the organisations concerned were third-party contractors, there was no access to the information they held.

Read the ICO's report here.

Have your say on the ICO's draft strategy

ICO Openness by design draft strategy The ICO is also planning ahead for the next three years, with the overall aim of increasing the people's trust in public authorities.

How can the body be more proactive and increase their own impact? They've set out their draft plans and would like all those with an interest in FOI to read and respond.

Find the strategy and the feedback form here.

Examining transparency at TICTeC

The full schedule for this year's Impacts of Civic Technology conference, TICTeC, is now live.

For those with an interest in Transparency, there's plenty to explore: Follow The Money fighting corruption around spending in Nigeria, Open SCHUFA crowdsourcing the algorithms behind the credit rating system in Germany; and French MP Paula Forteza giving an overview of how Civic Tech can increase transparency and accountability in the face of movements like the Gilets Jaunes in France.

See the schedule for TICTeC 2019 here, then be sure to book your ticket before they sell out.

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And finally...

  • Fancy being part of the mySociety team, but only occasionally? If you're a Perl developer you might be interested in joining our pool of freelancers.
  • We're extending our research repository to include external studies that inquire into our services: find out more here.

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