As you probably will have heard, the UK's long-awaited Freedom of Information Act is now in force, meaning that we, the little people, can now ask big public bodies pertinent questions relating to all the files they keep on us, the way they spend our money and exactly how long they've been in contact with little green men from Alpha Centauri. But while the act may well be good news for the makers of shredding machines and disk erasing software, Sneak has doubts about any other supposed benefits, due to the wide ranging list of excuses that a public body might cower behind. Say, just for a random example, you wanted to know exactly how the NHS managed to negotiate its huge, money-saving deal with Microsoft last year. An interesting question for anyone about to start negotiations of their own, but sadly one likely to fall foul of Section 43 of the act, which protects the commercial interests of third parties. Which makes the whole thing a bit of waste of time in Sneak’s book.
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