The PCC was pressured [by the information commissioner] for a year
to stop newspapers using private detectives to obtain confidential
information illegally, Mark Watts claimed last week in Press Gazette.
The information commissioner was pushing at an open door so far as the
PCC was concerned regarding his request for us to issue guidance about
the Data Protection Act. We have made clear many times that the
commission cannot condone criminal behaviour.
In this case, the
dull truth is that the guidance was somewhat delayed by detailed
queries from one of the trade bodies. It is hardly fair to us or the
information commissioner to say he pressured us: when this hurdle arose
we heard nothing from his office for eight months while the matter was
considered further. Anyone interested should go to www.pcc.org.uk and
look under Guidance Notes.
Tim Toulmin director Press Complaints Commission