Publishing emails was 'not fair'

The Information Commissioner has ruled that Liverpool City Council broke ‘the first principle of the Data Protection Act’after it published confidential emails between its former communications chief Matt Finnegan and its former leader.

The Commissioner upheld the complaint made by Finnegan, a former Manchester Evening News journalist, on the grounds that publication of personal information in this case was not ‘fair and lawful”.

A report written by executive director Phil Halsall containing emails between former council leader Michael Storey was sent to Liverpool’s 90 councillors in May 2005.

The report contained details of Finnegan’s mobile phone calls, text messages and emails and identified his daughter.

The Commissioner ruled that the council had breached an exemption in the Freedom of Information Act relating to personal information.

Finnegan says the council should take legal action against the council’s former chief executive

Sir David Henshaw for contravening the Data Protection Act and to suspend Halsall who is still employed at the council.

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