We all support the idea of protecting personal privacy, at the same time as we want free access to information about public sector nitty-gritty. But sometimes one 'Good Thing' gets in the way of another. Is it right that the Information Commissioner should be the guardian of both rights, or is there a conflict of interest?
While acknowledging that there are tensions between the two, Christopher Graham sees it as a positive advantage to have one Commissioner with a mission to uphold both sets of information rights in the public interest, simultaneously promoting openness by public bodies and data privacy for individuals. In his presentation, he made a convincing show of his determination not to tolerate self-interested secrecy or careless disclosure of personal data. And he pointed to the wisdom of limiting the appointment of the Information Commissioner to a fixed term (five years), effectively liberating him from the compelling need to avoid offending important people.