ICO States Official Info Sent Via Personal Email Subject to FoI Act

The ICO stated last week that any information regarding official business sent or received by one's private email account will now be subject to the Freedom of Information Act.

The new rules are a reaction to revelationsmade by the Financial Times earlier in the year where it was determined that education secretary Michael Gove, along with some of his advisers were using their private email IDs for the department's official businesses.

When approached for the release of data under the Freedom of Information Act, Gove simply refused to comply citing private email accounts were outside the Act's reach. The legality of the new guidelines will probably be under debate for some time.

"We've issued new guidance today with two key aims - first, to give public authorities an authoritative steer on the factors that should be considered before deciding whether a search of private email accounts is necessary when responding to a request under the Act," said Christopher Graham, the Information Commissioner, according to an IT Pro report.

"Second, to set out the procedures that should generally be in place to respond to requests," he added.