Mar 132011
 March 13, 2011  Posted by  Non-U.S.

A reader kindly forwarded me a copy of an announcement from the World Bank Institute concerning a working paper authored by  David Banisar, Senior Legal Counsel for Article XIX (a group oriented to global free expression):

The relationship between privacy and Right to Information laws is currently the subject of considerable debate around the globe as countries are increasingly adopting these types of legislation. To date, more than 50 countries have adopted both laws.

On first inspection, it would appear that the right of access to information and the right to protection of personal privacy are irreconcilable. However the reality is more complex. For the most part, these two rights complement each other in holding governments accountable to individuals. But there is a potential conflict between these rights when there is a demand for access to personal information held by government bodies.

Targeted for practitioners working in governance and transparency issues and as part of its Governance Working Paper series, the World Bank Institute has recently published a sixth working paper on ATI addressing some of these issues.

“The Right to Information and Privacy: Balancing rights and managing conflicts” by David Banisar, Senior Legal Counsel for Article XIX. Available here:

Focusing on the cases of Ireland, Mexico, Slovenia and the UK, while also looking at other experiences, this paper examines legislative and structural means to better define and balance the rights to privacy and to information.

Links to other working papers can be found on WBI’s web site.

Note: David Banisar, the author of the working paper, was formerly with EPIC and Privacy International.

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