Fines scrapped to stop freedom of information scams

plasterkHome affairs minister Ronald Plasterk is to amend freedom of information legislation by scrapping the fine for public bodies which don’t provide requested paperwork in time.

The minister told website earlier this year he planned to make changes because specialist firms have sprung up to claim the fines, which can mount up to €1,260 per request.

A fine for not providing information in time encourages abuse of the system, Plasterk says. Officials estimate the fines cost between €8m and €14m a year.

The fines will be replaced by an option to go to court if councils and government departments don’t provide information to private individuals and journalists within the allotted time. quoted the case of one freedom of information request, known as a wob, which was hidden in an open job application letter in the hope it would go unnoticed.

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