About the image: In the early 1970s, the US government conducted surveillance on ex-Beatle John Lennon. This is a letter from FBI director J. Edgar Hoover to the Attorney General. After a 25-year Freedom of Information Act Request battle initiated by historian Jon Wiener, the files were released. Here is one page from the file. This first release received by Wiener had some information missing — it had been blacked out presumably with magic marker — or what is termed “redacted”. A subsequent version was released which showed almost all of the previously blacked-out text.
A new public engagement website provides the people of B.C. with an opportunity to provide input on ways to improve how Freedom of Information (FOI) requests and privacy protection operate in B.C.
As part of its work to improve public accountability, the B.C. government has launched public consultations on access to information and privacy protection. Members of the public can learn more about the freedom of information and privacy protection process as they participate in this next phase of stakeholder engagement by visiting the website.
British Columbians are being asked to participate in online discussions and provide written feedback on topics related to privacy and access to information, including what records should be released without an FOI request, timelines for responding to access requests and fees that can be charged, and what should happen when your privacy is breached. There will also be opportunities to learn more about how FOI and privacy work in B.C. and elsewhere in the world.
Submissions will be reviewed by government and the Minister of Citizens’ Services to help shape improvements to policy and legislation.
The Freedom of Information and Protection of Privacy Act (FOIPPA) covers approximately 2,900 public bodies in British Columbia and helps to ensure your personal information is protected.
Reviewing the legislation, policies and processes is necessary to ensure British Columbians have a government that is both transparent and open. As technology evolves, updates to FOIPPA help the Province to maintain protections for British Columbians’ personal information.
British Columbians will be able to participate until the engagement closes on April 9, 2018.
- The Freedom of Information and Protection of Privacy Act (FOIPPA) gives any person the right to access records of a public body, including their own personal information, as long as they request the information in accordance with the act’s provisions.
- It also allows ministries and public bodies to make information available by other mechanisms, so that British Columbians can engage meaningfully with government on the topics that interest them.
- FOIPPA specifies requirements for how public bodies must collect, use and disclose personal information.
- British Columbia receives a high volume of FOI requests. Between 9,000 and 10,000 are processed by government each year. These requests continue to grow in number, size and complexity.
- In addition to public consultations, British Columbia has continued its work to consult stakeholders and public bodies that could be affected by changes to FOI and privacy rules, policies or legislation.
Note: SPN typically strips out politician quotes from press releases—as they have been largely crafted by communications staff and not, as implied, uttered by the declared speaker. You can still read the full article, complete with quotes, here.