Monday, February 18, 2008

my very own Petition

Petition to: enable better Freedom of Information access to census and other archives.: "We the undersigned petition the Prime Minister to enable better Freedom of Information access to census and other archives.

"Give access after 20 years Normal Closure or 70 years Exceptional Closure. The Danish model is 20 years closure and 75 year closure for matters of state security and confidential personal data You may apply for special permission for early access on pain of a fine or 6 months in prison for unlawful publication. Their Census of 1930 1940 and 1950 are often accessed and in UK census 29 September 1939 - WW2 National Registration, 8 April 1951, 23 April 1961, 25 April 1971,and 5 April 1981, should be available conditionally too."

Submitted by Hugh Watkins – Deadline to sign up by: 08 January 2008 – Signatures: 301"

archives-access - epetition response

Thank you for signing the e-petition calling for the closure period on individual and personal census records containing confidential information to be reduced from its present 100 years.

The Government understands the frustrations this can cause to people who are researching their family history. But these frustrations have to be balanced against the assurances given by governments past and present about the privacy of information which people provide in censuses.

Clearly, the importance of the personal information provided in the census is that it enables a detailed and accurate picture to be built up of our society. This is of great assistance to Government and to society as a whole in helping shape policies and set priorities for the future. To obtain it requires Government and the UK's statistical offices to make promises about privacy. Promises about census privacy have to be straightforward, honest and always kept. The 100 year privacy promise is simple, honestly meant, and Government's intention is that it shall be kept.

It is for this reason that there is an open and transparent policy of a 100-year promise of privacy before releasing the personal data in the census. The Government does not believe this policy or the explicit assurances given to people at the time should be altered or broken.

We know this reply will disappoint some people but we believe it will have the support of very many more census respondents, past and future. We hope you will understand that in the long-term, the reasons given are in the best interests of preserving the census for future generations.

which is so smug and real boiler plate complacent rubbish - and no way to win votes for the labour party


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