Details of UK Policy Making on Drones to be Released

The All Party Parliamentary Group on Drones has successfully settled its Freedom of Information Challenge to the Cross-Government Working Group on Remotely Piloted Aerial Systems’s refusal to release details of its deliberations regarding drones policy in the UK.

Unusually for a FOIA case, the parties were able to agree wider ranging commitments towards transparency than were before the tribunal. It has been described as a ‘welcome culture change’.

The hearing due to take place on 9 July 2015 has now been cancelled and the proceedings withdrawn by a Tribunal Order referring to the new commitments that have been given by the Cross-Government group.

Tom Watson MP, chair of the APPG on Drones, said:

“I welcome the fact the Government has agreed to provide details about its domestic use of drones following an FoI request. But taxpayers shouldn’t need to take the Government to a tribunal to see what it is doing with their money.”

Daniel Carey of Deighton Pierce Glynn, who represented the All Party Parliamentary Group pro-bono, said as follows:

“I am pleased that the case allowed wide ranging transparency commitments to be agreed. This was a constructive approach that I hope will be followed by other public authorities in a similar situation. Secret policy making was clearly inappropriate for a technology capable of substantially extending surveillance of public life.”

For further details, see here.

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