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Lufthansa to slash leadership, cut 1,000 administrative jobs 

German flag carrier Lufthansa announced on Tuesday that it will cut 20% of its leadership positions and 1,000 administrative jobs, in a restructuring plan to cope with the economic fallout of the coronavirus pandemic. 

After downsizing the executive board of the Lufthansa parent company, the corporation is now also planning similar actions at its subsidiaries, with Lufthansa Cargo AG, LSG Group, and Lufthansa Aviation Training set to lose one board position each. 

The airline said that it would also halve its investment in new aircraft, although it could still add up to 80 new planes by 2023. According to a statement, the company has already phased out 22 aircraft, including six Airbus A380, 11 Airbus A320 and five Boeing 747-400. 

Read more:  Lufthansa bailout package overwhelmingly backed by shareholders

Post-bailout stability

Lufthansa’s finances are now secure, after shareholders backed a €9-billion ($10.2 billion) bailout from the German government, and the Austrian and Swiss governments also made commitments, according to a statement.

It added that it wanted to reduce government loans and equity stakes as soon as possible to avoid an increase in interest charges. 

“However, the complete repayment of government loans and investments, including interest payments, will place an additional burden on the company in the coming years, making sustainable cost reductions inevitable for this reason as well,” the airline said.

Roughly 22,000 at Lufthansa are liable to lose their jobs, most of them not in the management echelons

According to previous statements, the impact of the coronavirus pandemic on the airline, which currently employs around 138,000 people, has resulted in 22,000 full-time positions becoming untenable. 

Read more:  Germany: Lufthansa subsidiary SunExpress to shut down

The group is currently in negotiations with the German trade unions Verdi and Vereinigung Cockpit, which represents pilots, on the restructuring measures. Lufthansa has only been successful so far in making an agreement with the UFO union, which represents German cabin crew.  

Additionally, Lufthansa intends to speed up longstanding plans to make its core airline a separate corporate entity, a spokesman said. 

In April, Lufthansa cut 100 aircraft from its fleet of about 760, and ceased operations of its budget carrier Germanwings.

lc/msh (Reuters, dpa)

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Germany takes helm of EU presidency, Merkel urges resolve on virus recovery plan

German Chancellor Angela Merkel and President of the European Commission Ursula von der Leyen on Thursday called for a speedy agreement on the coronavirus recovery fund for the European Union.

The two Germans held a joint virtual press conference where they outlined the goals for Germany’s six-month presidency of the EU, which Germany officially took over on Wednesday.

Read more: Angela Merkel’s last EU Council Presidency — what to expect

Coronavirus recovery package

“We have an unprecedented crisis and it needs an unprecedented response,” von der Leyen said.

“Every day we lose will see people losing their jobs, companies going bust, the weakening of our economy. Every single day counts,” she said, calling for urgency on the agreement. 

The EU is currently in negotiations over an economic stimulus and investment program worth €750 billion to be controversially financed through shared debts. 

Von der Leyen said talks in recent weeks had shown there was common ground in many aspects, but that the details were proving difficult. 

The heads of state and government of the Member States will discuss the plan on July 17 and July 18, but wide gulfs remain on the volume, financing and type of aid to be distributed.

Merkel said: “I am going to Brussels on July 17 with the will to strike an agreement.” 

She said the even if the talks were inconclusive, “there must be an agreement in the course of the summer anyway, I can’t imagine any other option.”

Focus on fighting climate change

Von der Leyen’s plan, which Merkel has thrown her support behind, will mainly come in the form of grants for countries hit hardest by the pandemic such as Italy and Spain.

Merkel stressed that it was important that the response to the crisis was “designed in such a way that it was robust.”

Von der Leyen said the economic bailout package must be used creatively to bolster the EU’s climate change response, improve its digitalization and modernize the single market.

“We have an unprecendendent crisis and it needs an unprecendented response,” she said.

Von der Leyen, Merkel, EU Council President Charles Michel and EU Parliament President David Sassoli will meet on July 8.

Read more: Germany’s Merkel vows to spearhead coronavirus recovery efforts

Brexit trade deal ‘not at any price’

On Brexit, Merkel said Europe wanted a trade deal with the UK, but “not at any price.”

She said the EU must be prepared for a no-deal outcome.

If the two parties fail to secure an agreement by December or an extension, their trade relationship will return to World Trade Organization defaults with high tariffs and major business disruptions.

Read more: Brexit: Europe, UK trade talks stall over ‘serious differences’

EU too German?

In response to question from DW’s Berndt Riegert on whether the the other 26 EU Member States would be worried that the bloc was becoming too German, with both Merkel and von der Leyen at the helm, the two said that being a European is more important than being a national citizen.

Merkel said: “I think if there are two convinced Europeans, then maybe that is even more important. Of course I will not forget my German interests, which we have to bring to the negotiations. But we already know that the presidency is giving us an additional responsibility.” 

Von der Leyen said: The good thing is that we have known each other for a long time, we trust each other deeply. And the good thing is that when you know each other very well, you can also speak very efficiently, very plainly, because we know that we can go into the depths in great detail and therefore achieve a lot.” 

“I also always remark that this is the beautiful thing about Europe, when you consider that both of us have a very different bibliography, where we spent our childhood and where we grew up, but we are both deeply convinced and we are both deeply European. And that actually reflects the beauty of Europe.”

aw/rs (AFP, dpa, Reuters)

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US Supreme Court strikes down strict abortion law in major ruling

The US Supreme Court on Monday struck down a law in the state of Louisiana that placed restrictions on abortion rights. 

Specifically, the bill had required doctors to have a formal affiliation called “admitting privileges” to perform abortions at a hospital within 30 miles (48 km) of the clinic. The hospital would have the right to admit or reject the privilege. 

Lawyers for Hope Medical Group for Women, who brought the case before the Supreme Court, said two of Louisiana’s three abortion clinics would have been forced to close if the law went into effect. 

Surprise decision

In a 5-4 ruling, conservative Chief Justice John Roberts joined the four liberal justices in the majority. ”The result in this case is controlled by our decision four years ago invalidating a nearly identical Texas law,” Roberts wrote.  

He explained that the court had settled the question of “admitting privileges” already and that there was no reason to change that consensus. 

Read more: Roe v. Wade plaintiff says she was paid to turn against abortion movement

Roberts vote came as a surprise to supporters and opponents of abortion rights, as the Chief Justice had voted in favor the identical Texas law.  

Even though he still believes the Texas case was wrongly decided, Roberts explained his rationale for voting differently by saying “the legal doctrine of stare decisis requires us, absent special circumstances, to treat like cases alike.” 

A blow to conservatives 

The decision was a blow to President Donald Trump’s administration, which had supported the law in Louisiana. Many pro-life Republicans were hoping that with the appointment of Justice Brett Kavanaugh, the Supreme Court would tip the balance in their favor on abortion rulings. 

Both of Trump’s Supreme Court appointees, Justices Neil Gorsuch and Brett Kavanaugh voted to keep the Louisiana law. 

“Today’s ruling is a bitter disappointment,” said anti-abortion group Susan B. Anthony List, adding that it represented “the failure of the Court to allow the American people to protect the well-being of women from the tentacles of a brutal and profit-seeking abortion industry.” 

Nancy Northup, president of the Center for Reproductive Rights, said they were relieved that the court blocked the Louisiana law. 

 “With this win, the clinics in Louisiana can stay open to serve the one million women of reproductive age in the state,” she said in a statement. 

“But we’re concerned about tomorrow,” she said. “Unfortunately, the court’s ruling today will not stop those hell-bent on banning abortion.” 

The Louisiana law is just one of several abortion rights cases that will be appealed to the Supreme Court, which include bans on abortion once a fetal heartbeat is detected and the almost total ban passed in Alabama. 

jcg (AFP, Reuters AP) 

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German government endorses ECB bond-buying bid after courts clash

Germany’s finance ministry backed a disputed stimulus program pushed by the European Central Bank (ECB), paving a way past the power struggle between Germany’s Constitutional Court and the European Court of Justice (ECJ).

New information shared by the ECB “fully satisfies” the demands made by the German judges, Finance Minister Olaf Scholz said in a letter to parliamentary speaker Wolfgang Schäuble.

Luxembourg vs. Karlsruhe

In a shock ruling last month, the German court threatened to ban Germany’s central bank from taking part in a crucial ECB bond-buying scheme.The Karlsruhe-based judges said ECB governors had failed to take sufficient account of the project’s side effects on banks, savers, and other stakeholders. The court asked the ECB to demonstrate the “proportionality” of the scheme and its goals within the next three months. They also ruled that the ECJ had simply rubber-stamped the central bank’s policy.

The German ruling prompted a sharp response from the ECJ judges, who believe only their court can rule on the ECB decision. 

“Divergences between courts of the member states as to the validity of such acts would indeed be liable to place in jeopardy the unity of the EU legal order,” said the Luxembourg-based ECJ.

Read more: Coronavirus and the EU: The nation versus the union?

ECB defiant but compliant

The ECB also argues it is not bound by the decisions of the German court. However, without obeying its ruling outright, the ECB provided German officials with more information last week, including details on the issue of “proportionality.”  The ECB said its €2 trillion ($2.25 trillion) scheme was an effective tool to stimulate the economy and pledged there are “sufficient safeguards having been built into the design of these programs to limit potential adverse side effects.”

Read more: Coronabonds and the idea of European financial unity

Finance Minister Scholz said that, with this new information, the ECB heads had “convincingly demonstrated its deliberations about proportionality.” His letter to Schäuble was dated on June 26 but only went public on Monday.

On Sunday, Germany’s Constitutional Court said the nation’s independent central bank was still bound by its decision, but that the Bundesbank would decide on its own whether or not it will pull out of the scheme.

“The Federal Constitutional Court is no longer involved,” judge Peter Huber told the Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung newspaper.

 dj/rs (AP, Reuters)

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India bans TikTok, WeChat, other Chinese apps over ‘security’ concerns

Indian officials barred 59 mobile apps, most of them run by Chinese companies, on Monday, saying they were engaged in “activities” which were “prejudicial to sovereignty and integrity of India, security of state and public order.”

The apps include video-sharing platform TIkTok, social media app WeChat, and UC Browser developed by a company owned by China’s e-commerce giant Alibaba.

Read more: Hello, Big Brother: How China controls its citizens through social media

TikTok and WeChat are widely popular in India. However, WeChat — which now boasts close to 1.2 billion active monthly users — is also known for being strictly monitored by the Chinese authorities.

The ban comes less than two weeks after a deadly border clash between Chinese and Indian troops, which saw at least 20 Indian soldiers lose their lives.

More to follow…

dj/rs (AFP, Reuters)

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Wirecard overseen by ‘only one’ German regulatory staffer: report

The Frankfurter Allgemeine (FAZ) in its Sunday edition said Germany’s financial supervisory agency BaFin effectively tasked only one overseer with scrutiny of Wirecard as complex allegations spiraled in the past 16 months.

Back in January 2019, said FAZ, the Bonn-based BaFin, prompted by warnings over Wirecard, commissioned Germany’s BPR financial accounting inspectorate in Berlin, but it had too few personnel. Only one employee was tasked.

The results of a special audit reportedly instigated by BaFin and DPR in February 2019, were still not available, said FAZ‘s Sunday edition, known as FAS.

Wirecard AG, a Munich-based payments processor, initiated insolvency protection proceedings in a Munich court on Thursday, and on Saturday said its subsidiaries were continuing operate.

Last week, it had admitted that €1.9 billion ($2.1 billion) missing from accounts in the Philippines — disclosed by external auditors — likely did not exist.

The Munich public prosecutor’s office is currently investigating former chief executive Markus Braun and other former and active top managers of the DAX-30 concern.

Wirecard says it has 5,800 employees and 313,000 customers worldwide.

Read moreOpinion: Wirecard debacle exposes cracks at Germany’s financial regulator

German financial regulator BaFin has itself come under scrutiny amid the Wirecard scandal

EU also scrutinizing German regulators

Germany’s apparently fragmented oversight is to be examined by the EU’s financial authority ESMA, which had been told by the European Commission to report back to it by July 15, said FAZ.

BaFin chief Felix Hufeld in May last year told a Frankfurt press conference that his agency could “not simply pin a Sheriff’s badge to our lapel and ride off to arrest anyone we are suspicious of.”

Only prosecuting authorities could use investigative “police means,” Hufeld said: “If they conduct an investigation, that does not mean that we have been sleeping on the job.”

BaFin itself was spotlighted last year after a series of reports in the Financial Times newspaper cast doubt on Wirecard’s accounting practices. 

Business to be ‘continued’

In share market statement Saturday, Wirecard AG said its business activities “will be continued,” with its management board saying this was “in the best interests of the creditors.”

“The business operations of the Group companies including the licensed units are currently ongoing,” it stated.  

Payments for merchants of the firm’s banking arm, Wirecard Bank, “will continue to be executed without restrictions,” and it was in “constant contact with credit card organizations,” the parent company added.

Former Wirecard boss Markus Braun was arrested earlier this week

Customer concerns

Britain’s Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) watchdog imposed restrictions on Wirecard’s British unit on Thursday.

That in turn, reported Reuters, had forced firms relying on Wirecard services to temporarily suspend transactions, leading customers to complain on social media about losing access to vital services — and money.

The FCA said so-called safeguarding rules should protect and return customer money if a firm were to fail. 

Sarah Kocianski, head of research at the fintech consultancy 11:FS, told Reuters that the knock-on effects of the Wirecard drama posed a big test for digital firms that often relied on backend services provided by bigger players.

ipj/dr (Reuters, dpa, AFP)

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Frost & Sullivan Names BitPay as Company of the Year

Here at BitPay, we never set out to be recognized or win awards. We generally keep our heads down and stay focused on the mission – to continue to change the way businesses and people use money.

We’ll show our age here, but when BitPay was founded, you could mine Bitcoin with a home computer. The block reward, which recently halved again in May, was 50 bitcoins, valued at around $245,000 today.

In the near decade since, we’ve enabled Bitcoin and cryptocurrency acceptance for thousands of businesses, and we’ve received our fair share of accolades and awards along the way.

Recently we learned that Frost & Sullivan, leading market research and consulting firm, recognized BitPay as the Company of the Year in the alternative payments space. We’re honored to be recognized and want to share why we were chosen.

Frost & Sullivan’s research notes our first-mover advantage, saying,

“BitPay has boots on the ground across the globe working to extend the merchant acceptance network and collaborate with regulators.”

Frost & Sullivan keyed in on our ability to help merchants capture sales by accepting bitcoin and other cryptos saying, “For merchants across the world, BitPay magnifies the total addressable market.”

Frost & Sullivan was impressed with our value proposition for merchants, saying,

“BitPay administers transactions at significantly reduced fees, altogether precluding payment card industry compliance fees, monthly account minimums and fees, and chargeback fees.”

Also, Frost & Sullivan recognized our ability to help merchants attract new customers and sales by tapping into the massive billion-dollar crypto marketplace.

Frost & Sullivan notes how easily we integrate blockchain payments for businesses, describing BitPay as an “elegantly simple solution for finance departments to settle accounts in minutes from anywhere,” and commended us for shaping the compliance landscape concerning financial regulations.

Frost & Sullivan’s report, which can be found in its entirety here, concludes, “Cryptocurrencies and blockchain transactions are gaining traction, but merchants and service providers need an easy way to accept these new commercial channels. BitPay acutely recognized the gap and seized a first-mover position in this growing blockchain payment space…A low-cost way for merchants to open up to a new customer base, BitPay avoids the complexity and multi-vendor integrations required of other transfer options and enables faster cross-border transactions with minimal risk.”

This kind of recognition, of course, wouldn’t be possible without the thousands of loyal BitPay customers and merchants who help us usher in the future of payments daily, so we graciously accept Frost & Sullivan’s Company of the Year Award on your behalf.

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Our Commitment to Diversity and Inclusiveness on the Shutterstock Blog

Shutterstock is a global creative company. Our mission has always been to help people tell localized stories through the images, videos, illustrations, and music they discover on our platform. On the blog, we strive to answer questions, offer solutions, and provide inspiration for our contributors, customers, and readers. This is where we can affect change. 

We have watched the events of the last few weeks unfold with a pit in our stomachs. We are outraged by the horrific deaths of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, Ahmaud Arbrey. These are a few names in a long line of Black Americans who have suffered and died at the hands of systemic racism.

Our pledge is this: to commit to diversity, not to check a box, but to create the best possible experience for our global community of readers, which includes our contributors and customers.

We have serious work to do if we expect to meet the needs of our diverse readers. We know we can do better, and we pledge to do better for our BIPOC (Black, Indigenous, People of Color) readers, our LGBTQ+ readers, and our readers from other marginalized communities.

Here are three steps we will begin taking right now.

Our blog’s Editorial team works tirelessly to feature diverse, inspiring content from our community. Imagery featuring models of diverse ages, ethnicities, races, sexual orientations, abilities, shapes, and gender identities. But diversity in storytelling is more than just who is in front of the camera — it’s also about who is creating the work.

We commit to amplifying the voices of underrepresented communities, including BIPOC creatives and LGBTQ+ creatives, in our diverse community of contributors. We pledge to not only be representative in the images we share, but also through the artists we feature.

If you’re a contributor who is interested in being featured on our blog, click here to get in touch with us. 

A lot of the creative work we do on the blog is thanks to a team of talented freelancers from around the world. We often find new writers via our networks — friends of friends of friends, and so on. This is a bubble we have to burst. We commit to working with freelancers whose voices are currently underrepresented on our blog, especially voices from the Black community. 

If you’re a creative interested in writing for the blog or creating videos for us, click here to get in touch with us.

As an Editorial team, we recognize that our own implicit biases inform the content we consume and create, which leaves a woefully incomplete picture of the world on our blog. We pledge to check these biases by writing and producing content that helps readers from diverse backgrounds, not just the backgrounds we can identify with personally.

This is not an exhaustive list of the work we need to do on the blog or at the company. This is our pledge to say we are listening, and we are making changes to be better antiracist allies for our creative community.  

Thank you for encouraging us to be a part of this conversation. We acknowledge that we have more to do, and we will do it by learning from and leaning into the messages you are sharing.

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In the post-Corona period, the use of cryptocurrencies is considered a necessity

The Digital Era

We are living in the digital era. An era when everything moves toward the digitization technology. Not long has passed since the advent of computers, but the changes that followed did so with an exponential rate and people got accustomed to this modern system gradually. If we take a look back at history, we can see that in the beginning, the use of email as a digital post seemed like a complex task, and some people still wanted to deliver mail via post boxes and post offices. Now with our smart phones, we can send and receive letters and files with a simple click. The same goes for money transfer. Most people still refer to middlemen, and using digital cryptocurrencies seems complicated. However, much like dollar, euro, and other currencies that are used for transferring value, cryptocurrencies are a type of money that are used for value transfer, especially since the value of fiat money is constantly in turbulence and affected by inflation. While provided that they have a proper structure, cryptocurrencies will resolve the issues related to inflation and by evading the centralized systems, they are an easy way for financial trades. Cryptocurrencies can eliminate the control over centralized and fiat money.

Coronavirus and the Necessity to Use Cryptocurrencies

With respect to such an unexpected issue as the Coronavirus, which has disrupted financial trades all over the world, and even worse, the fact that Coronavirus was spread through cash and physical money, the need for a change in financial transfer system and the important function of cryptocurrencies are felt more than before. The reason is that each country revolves around its economy, and each economy depends on financial trades, therefore in the post-Corona period, the use of cryptocurrencies will be considered a necessity and no country is an exception about this.

Exchanges Using Cryptocurrencies

From the very beginning of the advent of cryptocurrencies when people started buying and selling them, the exchanges whose job is the trading of money, set out to create trades through cryptocurrencies in order to provide better services to traders. But the philosophy behind the creation of digital currencies was to eliminate the middlemen, while “centralized” exchanges still act as a middleman. But there is no need to worry, because on the other hand there are the “decentralized exchanges” which have created an environment for people to directly conduct their currency transfers and manage them with ease of mind and with two-signature conditions.

In order to better understand the differences and positive features of decentralized exchanges over centralized ones, it is necessary to clearly elaborate their functions.

Centralized Exchange

  1. In the centralized exchange, all the assets of people should be stored in the exchange’s wallet, and users have no access to their private keys, and much like the banks, it is only the exchange that can oversee and control the assets and transfer digital currencies.

  2. Since all the currencies are stored in one place, then there is an opportunity for hackers to steal the entire assets.

  3. In the structure of a centralized exchange, regulators and policy makers can shut down the entire exchange or block the accounts at any second. In other words, an urgent regulation or law from a government or organization can shut down the exchange or block the access of some users to their accounts.

  4. Many of these centralized exchanges do not have the necessary permits and licenses in order to communicate with banks or other international organizations so that they could exchange fiat money (like dollar and euro) to digital currencies and vice versa. As such, they can only make the exchanges in the form of digital currencies.

  5. As a centralized financial institute in which people’s assets are stored, these exchanges might go broke due to an imbalance between supply and demand, or fraud can take place in them.

  6. In the centralized exchange, all the assets of people should be stored in the exchange’s wallet, and users have no access to their private keys, and much like the banks, it is only the exchange that can oversee and control the assets and transfer digital currencies.

Decentralized Exchange

  1. Decentralized exchanges implement the Blockchain technology and there are no middlemen in them and in fact people do not store their assets in the exchange’s account to be controlled. However, digital currency trades are taken place peer-to-peer (user-to-user) and the way these exchanges work is in a decentralized manner with peer-to-peer trades.

  2. The responsibility of the exchange is to protect the accuracy and correctness of trades so that people’s assets are transferred or exchanged properly. As such the buying and selling of digital currencies
    in electronic wallets are not entirely controlled by the exchange, however, both the buyer and the seller have a signature right, therefore the assets remain completely safe.

  3. Since people’s assets are not stored in this type of exchange, therefore they are safe from cyber-attacks and hackers.

  4. Since there are no central infrastructures in this type of exchange to affect the price of currencies by changing rates and buying and selling stats, the risk of price being tampered with is really low and the trade volume is really high.

  5. The distributed nature of these exchanges and the multitude of people who engage in trades with no middlemen in a peer-to-peer manner prevent central regulating agencies and local and international organizations to be able to access and block them. As a result in such exchanges, people can trade with equal conditions and with high security and stability. In this exchange, power is not centralized and it has been distributed among users in a decentralized manner.

  6. In this type of exchange, there is a space to make income, since the system works in a way that it guarantees trust and security among users and thus people do not need to know each other in order to trade. Because of the trust that people have for the system, they can work with each other and each person can act as an independent exchange by buying and selling cryptocurrencies without middlemen and as such gain profits. As this system grows, in fact a new banking system is created which is free from any middleman.

Examples of Decentralized Exchange

LocalBitcoins and Counos DEX are among decentralized exchanges, both of which have official and legal permits and licenses. Although, LocalBitcoins is a little limited, since you can only trade Bitcoin in it. But Counos DEX, which has been registered in the country of Estonia with legal and official registration number and license, has the permit to work in the field of cryptocurrencies and fiat money (such as dollar and euro) and makes it possible to trade with various payment systems so that people can buy, sell or exchange their fiat money and cryptocurrencies with ease of mind and security.

Final Remarks

The amount of fee and how it is received are determined through agreement in both centralized and decentralized exchanges. But with respect to the explanations that have been just provided, decentralized exchanges, due to the high level of security, have attracted the attention of many Blockchain users. As a result, the use and understanding cryptocurrencies in this digital world is unavoidable, so it is recommended that before using any exchange and doing any trade, make sure to check for legal and official permits and licenses.

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ICO Decision: Request Filed With Cabinet Office

Acting Information Commissioner Answer Styannes issued Decision 04/2020, which relates to a request to the Cabinet Office  concerning the four Uighur men who arrived in Bermuda in June 2009.

A spokesperson said, “Acting Information Commissioner Answer Styannes issued Decision 04/2020, Cabinet Office, on Thursday, 28 May 2020.

“Decision 04/2020 relates to a Public Access to Information [PATI] request filed with the Cabinet Office for records of its correspondence, and correspondence of the former Premier, with the United States authorities concerning the four Uighur men who arrived in Bermuda in June 2009.

“Because no responsive records were found by the Cabinet Office, the requester asked the Information Commissioner’s Office [ICO] to independently review the reasonableness of the public authorities’ search.

“During the ICO’s review, the Cabinet Office took additional steps to find records responsive to the PATI Request but none were located. The Cabinet Office provided documentation of its initial search and the ICO verified its additional search efforts. The Acting Information Commissioner is satisfied that the Cabinet Office has now met the reasonable search requirement under the PATI Act.

“In Decision 04/2020, the Acting Information Commissioner emphasizes that to satisfy the reasonable search requirement, a public authority must show that it has taken all of the steps that a fair and rational person would expect to have taken under all circumstances to locate the records responsive to a PATI request.

“The Cabinet Office was not required to take further steps.

“This is the second decision that dealt with a conflict of interest on behalf of Information Commissioner Gitanjali Gutierrez, due to her prior work. The PATI Act lacks any provision for the Information Commissioner to recuse herself.

“With the parties consent, the ICO managed this investigation independent of Information Commissioner Gutierrez and the Decision was made by Acting Information Commissioner Styannes to avoid any appearance of bias.”

A full version of Decision 04/2020 follows below [PDF here]:

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