It has oft been said that the only good thing that Anthony Charles ‘Son Of Satan’ Lynton Blair esq. did in office was the Data Protection Act 1998, which gave us the SAR (Subject Access Request and Freedom of Information Requests). However that is being slightly unfair to the man-no good deed going unpunished and all that. He may have introduced the act and taken it through Parliament but it was actually at the behest of the evil empire; EU
(you may boo and hiss if you must).
For the Non-Brits I will explain: a Subject Access Request means I can demand any Government Agency (and pretty much anyone else for that matter) has to hand me out copies of everything , of all the information, they hold on me. Every letter they have written to me, every letter sent to them, every ‘recorded for security and training purposes’ phone call, every form filled in and every written decision and judgement made, of all evidence gathered. It is an amazing weapon when jousting at the windmills of civil servicedom.
Often even the mere threat of an SAR being submitted alone can be enough… and every investigative blogger and journalist should print off a copy of the Act, colourize it in gold and then get down on their hands and knees and kiss it. Kiss it every morning. I lose count of how many articles I read each year that start with the phrase ‘following an FOI request’.