23 August 2015

Who is Mr Mustard? - Haringey Council want proof

23 August 2015 
(yes, a Sunday, getting overtime for writing nonsense)

Dear Mr Dishman

Further to your email dated 6 August 2015. I apologise for the delay in responding to you.

If you are requesting information about a yourself using ‘Mustard’ as a nom-de-plume you will need to providence (prove?) that you are ‘Mustard’.

We can process your SAR relating to your information only – please let us know if this is acceptable.

Please not that we will take no further action until we hear from you.


Sirkku Pietikäinen
Information Governance Officer
Haringey Council
River Park House, 225 High Road, London N22 8HQ


From: Derek Dishman

Sent: 06 August 2015 16:57
To: Data Protection Act
Subject: RE: Your subject access request Dishman SAR

Dear Ms Hunt

Catch 22 I think.

I asked under FOI about the word "Mustard" in correspondence and was told it was my personal data as I write a blog under that nom-de-plume, so the FOI request was refused (and I sent a copy of that refusal with the SAR as I recall, and I also repeat it below) and I was pointed at an SAR. Essentially if the Mustard part isn't SAR it is FOI.

I think you have to answer under one set of provisions or the other, you decide which, I don't really mind as long as the answers arrive.

Best regards

Derek Dishman

From: Data Protection Act [mailto:Data.ProtectionAct@haringey.gov.uk]
Sent: 06 August 2015 16:49
To: Derek Dishman
Cc: Data Protection Act <Data.ProtectionAct@haringey.gov.uk>
Subject: FW: Your subject access request

Dear Mr Dishman,

Thank you for your request, ID and £10 fee which we received on 5 August.

You have provided information to satisfy us that you are Mr Dishman and therefore we are able to respond to your request for any personal information held about you by the Parking Service. However, you appear to be also asking for any information held relating to “Mustard”. The subject access provisions of the Data Protection Act entitle you to access information that we hold about you, but not about anyone else, so we cannot comply with that element of your request.

Please advise whether you wish to proceed with the element of your request that asks for your own personal data.


Anita Hunt
Feedback & Information Governance Manager
Haringey Council
River Park House , 225 High Road, London N22 8HQ

Mr Dishman submitted the same request as a Subject Access Request ("SAR") as it contained his personal data, counting Mr Mustard as an alias of Derek Dishman

29 July 2015

Dear Mr Dishman

Re: Freedom of Information Act Request ref: LBH/4452115

Thank you for your request for information received on 13 July 2015, in which you asked for the following information:

Please provide copies of all emails sent or received since 1 January 2015 by Ann Cunningham, redacted 1 or redacted 2, all of whom are in Traffic Management, which contain the words "Dishman" or "mustard".

My response is as follows:

We consider that the information you requested above would be information which is personal data.

Requests for personal data are exempt from the Freedom of Information Act under Section 40(2) of that Act if the disclosure of the information would breach any of the Data protection principles. The first Data Protection principle requires personal data to be processed fairly and lawfully. It would not be a legitimate use of this personal data for us to process it in order to disclose it to you because that is not the purpose for which it was obtained; processing it for the purpose of responding to an FOI request would be unlawful within the terms of the Data Protection Act. The subject of this information would not expect us to disclose their personal information to a third party in this way. It would therefore be deemed as unfair for us to provide their information to you. This letter is a refusal notice as required by the Freedom of Information Act because disclosure would breach the first Principle of the Data Protection Act.

If you have any further queries, or are unhappy with how we have dealt with your request and wish to make a complaint, please contact the Feedback and Information Team as below. (Please note you should do this within two months of receiving this response.)

Feedback and Information Team
River Park House
225 High Road
N22 8HQ
Telephone: 020 8489 1988
Email: FoI@haringey.gov.uk

Yours sincerely,

Senior Correspondence Officer

Traffic Management - Single Frontline
London Borough of Haringey
Alexandra House
Wood Green
N22 7TR


  1. Refer them to the picture of yourself at the top of the Blog. Anyone who has met Mr Mustard would instantly recognise the likeness.

  2. Interesting in DP terms however.

    The data subject has asked for any personal data that relates to him under another name “Mr Mustard”. The DPA requires the data controller has to be satisfied as to the identity of the data subject. So in my view, the Council have to come up with something that would satisfy them as to identity in the context of the personal data held by them; Mr Mustard cannot be left in the position of second guessing what would satisfy the Council as to what it needs to establish identity (as he does not know what personal data are held).

    However, there are further complications if there are more than one data subject using Mr Mustard nom-de-plume as each set of personal data might have different identification criteria.


I now moderate comments in the light of the Delfi case. Due to the current high incidence of spam I have had to turn word verification on.