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FOI requests and ZOOM calls

0 votes

We have received another FOI request from  member of public for   AUDIO only recording of recent Parish Council meeting held on ZOOM

 We clearly stated that the purpose for the recording  was for  minute taking only and would then be deleted.

There is a view that this breaches section 40 of GDPR where you are releasing personal information about 3rd parties to the FOI applicant. In the Audio,  it could be argued that people can still be identified from the audio file ( a, because people recognise voices and b) because people introduce themselves before speaking). I am even more concerned about the video file because this has peoples names on their pictures and views from inside their houses.

The same person has also made request for all  correspondence  between the PC to several village organisations going back 2 years . Again does GDPR apply as an exemption here as well as this would mean revealing 3rd party data as people's correspondence to us has their personal data ( e.g. email addresses, phone numbers etc and content of their emails). 

Many Thanks

asked by (120 points)

3 Answers

0 votes
By default a public body has to provide any information which they hold unless they can cite a valid exemption under the FOI Act 2000. If you have deleted it then you have no information to supply.  However, Cllr's names, contact phone numbers and often pen pics are accessible from  websites frequently these days.  You can attend meetings to hear them speak in person when the meetings a re streamed or when we gat back to normal. Cllrs can on Zoom apply background effects to mask their surroundings, I would argue that it is questionable what, if any  additional personal data might result from watching a Zoom meeting over what can already be collected by other means and that Section 40 of GDPR would not be applicable.
answered by (20.8k points)
Thanks you.. can i just say its not really Councillor information that I am worried about - it is all the members of the public who attended and who have their names all over their video pictures and also pictures of the insides of their houses. I think this breaches their right to privacy especially, when we advised that the recording would be deleted after the minutes had been written.
0 votes
answered by (20.8k points)
0 votes
GDPR seeks to balance the rights of the individual against the wider rights of the general public. Local Government legislation allows any member of the public to video any of your meetings and broadcast that video anywhere they choose. As public servants, we surrender our right to privacy. Members of the public attending our meetings should be made aware that they may be recorded for broadcast, in the same way that they might be when walking down any street in this country, with the proliferation of CCTV cameras, or attending any televised sporting event. We don't own our image in a public place. Even children lack any legal protection in this regard, as long as they are in a public place, not on private property.

As a Clerk, I advise people to position themselves against a plain wall when using Zoom, as it provides a much better picture. If you have adopted a documented internal procedure to delete the video and audio file after the minutes have been published, then continue to do so and don't share them. If it isn't a formal policy of the council and somebody has submitted an FOI, you should not delete them.

For the correspondence request, you could redact all personal information. You should still perform the usual tests in determining whether or not to provide the information, based on the circumstances.
answered by (29k points)

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