Dear Information Commissioner's Office,

I am interested in information concerning Sarah's Law and convicted sex offenders. In this news story, a woman was charged with breaching data protection laws because she outed a convicted sex offender living in her street:

https://www.mirror.co.uk/news/uk-news/mu...

1. Please provide all recorded information related to Sarah's Law and data protection.

2. If you hold information on the number of individuals charged or prosecuted with data protection offences related to Sarah's Law, please provide by year.

Yours faithfully,

J Roberts

Information Access Inbox, Swyddfa'r Comisiynydd Gwybodaeth

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The Information Commissioner’s Office

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Swyddfa'r Comisiynydd Gwybodaeth

23 May 2019

 

Case Reference Number IRQ0844135

 

Dear J Roberts,
 
Thank you for your correspondence which we received on 19 May 2019, in
which you have made a request for information held by the Information
Commissioner's Office (ICO). 
 
Your request has been passed to the ICO’s Information Access Team, and is
being dealt with in accordance with the Freedom of Information Act 2000
under the reference number shown above. 
 
As you are probably aware the FOIA provides individuals with the right of
access recorded information held by public authorities. It is important to
note that a release under FOIA is applicant blind and therefore
effectively a release to the wider world.
 
We will respond to your FOIA request promptly, and no later than 17 June
2019, which is 20 working days from the day after we received your
request.
 
Should you wish to reply to this email please be careful not to amend the
information in the ‘subject’ field. This will ensure that your reply is
added directly to your case.
 
Yours sincerely
 

Shannon Keith
Senior Information Access Officer, Risk and Governance Department
Corporate Strategy and Planning Directorate
Information Commissioner’s Office, Wycliffe House, Water Lane, Wilmslow,
Cheshire SK9 5AF
T. 0330 313 1636  F. 01625 524510  [1]ico.org.uk  [2]twitter.com/iconews
For information about what we do with personal data see our [3]privacy
notice.
Please consider the environment before printing this email

 
 
 

References

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Swyddfa'r Comisiynydd Gwybodaeth

1 Atodiad

12 June 2019

 

Case Reference Number IRQ0844135

 

Dear J Roberts,

Thank you for your recent request for information. We received your
request on 19 May 2019. Further to our acknowledgment of 23 May 2019 we
are now in a position to respond.
 
We have dealt with your request in accordance with your ‘right to know’
under section 1(1) of the Freedom of Information Act 2000 (FOIA).
  
Request
 
In your email you asked:
 
I am interested in information concerning Sarah's Law and convicted sex
offenders. In this [1]news story, a woman was charged with breaching data
protection laws because she outed a convicted sex offender living in her
street.
Please provide all recorded information related to Sarah's Law and data
protection. 2. If you hold information on the number of individuals
charged or prosecuted with data protection offences related to Sarah's
Law, please provide by year.
 
Response
 
Request one
 
We can confirm that we hold information within the scope of your first
request. The ICO corresponded with the Home Office about the Child Sex
Offender (CSO) Disclosure Scheme—known as ‘Sarah’s Law’—in 2010, following
the 12-month pilot of the scheme.
 
Please find attached the information within scope of your request.
 
Some information has been withheld under the provisions of section 44 of
the FOIA which places prohibitions on disclosure. This exemption is an
absolute exemption, which does not require a consideration of the public
interest test of the type required by the qualified exemptions.

Section 44(1)(a) of the FOIA states;

‘(1) Information is exempt information if its disclosure (otherwise than
under this Act) by the public authority holding it -

 1. is prohibited by or under any enactment’

The enactment in question is the Data Protection Act 2018 (DPA) and
specifically Part 5, section 132(1) of that Act. This states that:
 
“A person who is or has been the Commissioner, or a member of the
Commissioner’s staff or an agent of the Commissioner, must not
disclose information which—
 
(a) has been obtained by, or provided to, the Commissioner in the
course of, or for the purposes of, the discharging of the
Commissioner’s functions,
 
(b) relates to an identified or identifiable individual or business,
and
 
(c) is not available to the public from other sources at the time of
the disclosure and has not previously been available to the public
from other sources,
 
unless the disclosure is made with lawful authority.” 

Section 132(2) lists the circumstances in which a disclosure can be made
with lawful authority, however we find that none of them apply here.  As a
result the information is exempt under the FOIA and withheld from our
response.
 
Information which constitutes the personal data of Home Office employees
and a former ICO employee has been withheld in line with Section 40 of the
FOIA. Section 40(2) exempts information in response to a request if it is
personal data belonging to an individual other than yourself and it
satisfies one of the conditions listed in the legislation. The condition
contained in section 40(3A)(a) applies - that disclosure would breach one
of the data protection principles. The principle is that -
 
“Personal data shall be processed lawfully, fairly and in a transparent
manner…”
 
We do not consider that disclosing this information to you, and
consequently the public, is necessary or justified in order to satisfy
your information request and the requirements of the FOIA. In the
circumstances of this request there is no strong legitimate interest that
would override the prejudice to the rights and freedoms of these
individuals. We have therefore taken the decision that disclosing this
information to you would be unlawful.

The CSO disclosure scheme guidance and associated appendices referenced in
the exchange of correspondence between the ICO and the Home Office are
publicly available on the Home Office website [2]here. Therefore this
information is technically exempt under section 21 of the FOIA as it is
accessible to you by other means.
 
Request two
 
We can advise you that we do not hold information within the scope of your
second request. The ICO has not charged or prosecuted any individual with
an offence under DPA 1998 or DPA 2018 in relation to disclosure of
information obtained via the CSO disclosure scheme.

This concludes my response to your request. I hope the information
provided is helpful.
 
Review Procedure
 
However, if you are dissatisfied with this response and wish to request a
review of our decision or make a complaint about how your request has been
handled you can write to the Information Access Team at the address below
or e-mail [3][ICO request email].
 
Your request for internal review should be submitted to us within 40
working days of receipt by you of this response.  Any such request
received after this time will only be considered at the discretion of the
Commissioner.
 
If having exhausted the review process you are not content that your
request or review has been dealt with correctly, you have a further right
of appeal to this office in our capacity as the statutory complaint
handler under the legislation. To make such an application, please write
to our Customer Contact Team at the address given or visit our website if
you wish to make a complaint under the Freedom of Information Act.
 
A copy of our [4]review procedure can be accessed from our website.

Yours sincerely
 
 

Shannon Keith
Senior Information Access Officer, Risk and Governance Department
Corporate Strategy and Planning Directorate
Information Commissioner’s Office, Wycliffe House, Water Lane, Wilmslow,
Cheshire SK9 5AF
T. 0330 313 1636  F. 01625 524510  [5]ico.org.uk  [6]twitter.com/iconews
For information about what we do with personal data see our [7]privacy
notice.
Please consider the environment before printing this email

 
 

References

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1. https://www.mirror.co.uk/news/uk-news/mu...
2. https://www.gov.uk/government/publicatio...
3. mailto:[ICO request email]
4. https://ico.org.uk/media/1883/ico-review...
5. http://ico.org.uk/
6. https://twitter.com/iconews
7. https://ico.org.uk/global/privacy-notice/

Gadawodd J Roberts anodiad ()

“5.2.12 The person to whom the disclosure is made will be asked to sign an undertaking that they agree that the information is confidential and they will not disclose this information further. A warning must be given that legal proceedings could result if this confidentiality is breached and that it is an offence under Section 55 of the Data Protection Act 1998 for a person to knowingly or recklessly obtain or disclose personal data without the consent of the data controller (i.e. the agency holding the information that will be disclosed, which in most cases will be the police). This should be explained to the person and their signature obtained on this undertaking. If the person is not willing to sign the undertaking the police will need to consider if disclosure should still take place. The outcome should be recorded and considered in the subsequent risk assessment and decision making process.”

https://assets.publishing.service.gov.uk...

I note that disclosure may still occur if no undertaking is given not to disclose that Mr X is a convicted sex offender. It would be shocking if a child got raped because the police withheld important information on the basis that no signature was obtained.