Information Tribunal ruling states that information is held if it is stored on back-up systems

Campaigners are encouraging people who were told that the information they wanted was not available from public authorities to resubmit their requests following the Information Tribunal ruling that e-mails and documents which have been erased but are still stored on back-up systems are subject to the Freedom of Information Act.

The ruling stated: “Simple restoration from a trash can or recycle bin folder, or from a back-up tape, should normally be attempted, as the tribunal considers that such information continues to be held.”

Heather Brooke, author of the book "Your Right to Know", said the ruling gave the public the same rights as investigative bodies: “When you think the Financial Services Authority has the power to go back and look at deleted files, why shouldn’t the public have the same right?”

Freedom of information victory over Whitehall's e-mail ploy (The Times, 22 December 2005)