Govt orders destruction of emails

According to this report in the Scotsman newspaper, the government has ordered that all government emails more than 3 months old be destroyed:

The Cabinet Office, effectively the Prime Minister’s department, says messages more than three months old must be wiped by Monday, The Times revealed.

The deadline comes just 11 days before the Freedom of Information (FoI) Act comes into force.

Conservative leader Michael Howard has written to Mr Blair demanding an explanation.

“There are reports that your Government is engaged on a massive email destruction binge in order to get round the law which you yourself passed,” he wrote.

“How hypocritical can you get ? What is your Government trying to hide ?

“The public are entitled to a clear and simple explanation as to what is going on.”

Many officials, including those in the PM’s Strategy Unit and the offices of Alan Milburn and Cabinet Secretary Sir Andrew Turnbull, receive around 100 emails a day.

The Cabinet Office’s 2,000 staff have been told to print and file emails that should be disclosed but there will be no supervision. (Emphasis added)

Such is the government’s commitment to freedom of information. But then anyone who reads the Freedom of Information Act would soon realise the government’s commitment was weak — the Act sets out a right of access to information held by the government and then produce a list of exemptions so broad as to effectively nullify that right.

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