Key Issue 5
Key Issue 5
Who Wants to Know? – Issues Concerning the Identity of the Applicant
This chapter provides an overview of freedom of information as it is practiced in Scotland, with particular emphasis on issues concerning the identity of the individual requesting for information. In Scotland, a request for information simply has to state the name of the applicant and an address for correspondence. Such an ‘applicant and purpose blind’ approach aims to prevent authorities from providing information to some individuals or organisations but denying it to others because of who they are or the presumed motive for their request. However, there are circumstances where the identity of the applicant or the purpose of their request is deemed to be relevant. Indeed, there are a number of provisions in the Freedom of Information (Scotland) Act 2002 (FOISA) for which the identity of the applicant is relevant. Leaving aside personal information, in practice what matters most when determining what information should be provided is not the identity of the applicant but issues of whether information is held; how costly it would be to comply with the request; whether exemptions apply; and the public interest in disclosure.
Keywords: freedom of information, Scotland, identity, request for information, applicant and purpose blind approach, personal information, public interest, disclosure, Freedom of Information (Scotland) Act 2002
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