It is disappointing to see what has happened to the relatively good start which the Department for Work and Pensions made towards transparency and open government, following our first FOIA request regarding the controversial DWP Longitudinal Study.
Although this is a statistical tool, which is supposed to help make the distribution of state benefits more equitable, and to help crack down on fraud, there is a huge potential for privacy and security abuse of the combined data set of Social Security databases and Tax records (going back for the last 24 years), through what is actually a permanent statutory data sharing gateway and is not simply a one off exercise, but a continuous programme of rearch projects and investigations.
That is why there is supposed to be an independent Ethics Committee which scrutinises various datamining project requests.
The DWP have promised to publish the List of Uses to which such sensitive and powerful datasets are being put to, on paper and on their website, every 3 months
However, either due to some ongoing malrkey with the DWP website, or the loss of mrale and staff cuts at the DWP, there has been no information on these authorised Uses published throughout 2006 i.e. at least two Quarters of information is missing.
Will our FOIA request below prompt them into action ?