As data privacy heats up on this side of the pond, last week the UK government announced a package of measures focused on extending the scope of the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) and strengthening the independence of the UK’s data protection and freedom of information regulator, the Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO).

The anticipated Freedom Bill (to be published in February 2011) will include proposals to extend the scope of FOIA to a number of organisations for the first time. The Government announced the definite inclusion of the Financial Ombudsman Service and has proposed including The Advertising Standards Authority, The Panel on Takeovers and Mergers, The Law Society, Bar Council and other approved regulators under the Legal Services Act 2007, subject to consultation.

Reed Smith’s entire alert on this development, written by Nick Tyler and Cynthia O’Donoghue, can be accessed here.