Freesteel Blog » Democracy Live feedback

Democracy Live feedback

Tuesday, September 14th, 2010 at 9:35 pm Written by:

Do you have 5 minutes to tell us what you think about this site?

Oooh, I certainly do.

What is it you most dislike about Democracy Live?

I dislike the following missing features. There are no links to the official written transcripts. No record of votes. No written questions. No indication of legislative activity whatsoever (eg what Bills and amendments being discussed). No links to the source documents. The featured summaries contain quotes from the debate but no links into the debate to the point where that quote is spoken. The featured do no journalism and supply no contextual information outside of the debate. There’s no forum to comments among viewers about any debates. There’s no way the audience can flag particular debates to be covered in depth (eg the Digital Economy Bill which a lot of people watched and couldn’t follow). Democracy Live provides no links to other sites where the missing information (transcripts, votes, bills, amendments) can be found and shows no sign of importing these features into its own pages (which it is entitled to do).

Meanwhile, I’ve just given a talk at OpenTech in London, and while I was there someone congratulated me on a Judgment they’d seen in my favour on the Information Tribunal webpage.

I was quite taken aback. Who was he that was monitoring my appearance as an appellant on the Information Tribunal website when I wasn’t even doing so?

The Tribunal Procedure (First-tier Tribunal) (General Regulatory Chamber) Rules 2009 Mr Julian Todd v IC
Additional Party BBC

But then he disappeared into the crowd.

This has got to count as one of the less significant rulings deposited on the site.

I expect to report on it once I get through my backlog of canyoning blogs.

Meanwhile, I’m quite pleased with my response on the bulk users of the registry of judgments database FOI request.

Apparently there are 11 companies who take downloads of this “sensitive personal data” (as defined by Section 2 of the Data Protection Act 1998), but the Ministry of Justice wouldn’t give their names to me because it would breach the data protection principles that “Personal data shall be processed fairly and lawfully”.

There is one slight problem with this argument: “personal data” means data which relates to a living individual. These companies may be legal persons with “human” rights, but they are most definitely not individuals who are alive.

This would be funnier and less serious if it wasn’t the case that these are the people who are (a) supposed to be enforcing this law, and (b) selling vast amounts of sensitive personal data to the highest bidder with evidently so little understanding of what it entails.

1 Comment

  • 1. Alex Skene replies at 14th September 2010, 10:47 pm :

    That would have been me on Saturday… My beard probably acted as a disguise 🙂

    We discussed your Tribunal case at the mysociety retreat back in July, and when I saw it mentioned on a law firm’s blog I’d thought I’d let you know.


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