28 January 2009
Ministers and mandarins kibosh privacy pledge
NO2ID has discovered not one single minister or head of a central government department has signed up to the Personal Information Promise (PIP), launched
today by the Information Commissioner .
Further, a Freedom of Information request  by campaign group NO2ID  reveals that Jack Straw, Secretary of State for Justice, Sir David
Normington, Permanent Secretary at the Home Office and Sir Leigh Lewis, Permanent Secretary at the Department for Work and Pensions were invited to
sign the PIP but have (so far) refused to do so.
Given the massive expansion of information sharing powers buried by the Ministry of Justice in the Coroners and Justice Bill, which received its
Second Reading in the Commons this Monday, the failure of Jack Straw – Minister of the department that sponsors the Information Commissioner – to
make this public commitment to preserve and respect people’s privacy is particularly noteworthy.
Phil Booth, NO2ID’s National Coordinator, said:
If ministers won’t even make a public commitment to abide by current data protection law, why should we trust them with even more personal information?
It’s no surprise they won’t sign the Personal Information Promise whilethey push ahead with virtually unlimited powers to traffick in private information. Clearly ministers and bureaucrats don’t want to be held personally accountable.
Notes for editors:
1) Details on the Personal Information Promise, and a list of organisations which have signed it can be found on the Information Commissioner’s website:
2) The response to Information Request IRQ0230364 on 19/1/09 says:
“The government departments approached by the ICO and invited to sign up to
the Personal Information Promise were as follows:
. The Ministry of Justice, Right Hon. Jack Straw MP.
. The Home Office, Sir David Normington, Permanent Secretary.
. The Department of Work and Pensions, Sir Leigh Lewis, Permanent Secretary.
You also asked for a copy of the responses given by those departments that chose not to sign up to the Personal Information Promise. … To date we
have not received a response from the government departments approached.”
3) NO2ID is the UK-wide non-partisan campaign against ID cards and the database state. See http://www.no2id.net/dbstate.php for a list of
‘database state’ initiatives that NO2ID is actively opposing. The background documents on the government’s developing information sharing
habit are assembled at http://www.no2id.net/datasharing.php