February 2009 Archives

Another 12 weeks wasted in the Information Commissioner's Office complaints queue:

The original FOIA request was made back on Wednesday 14th November 2007

23rd February 2009
CASE REFERENCE NUMBER FS50198733
Dear XXX
We last wrote to you on 25 November 2008 about the Freedom of
Information Act complaint you made to the Information Commissioner.
This complaint concerns the request you made to the Home Office on 14
November 2007. This request concerns the number of authorisations
under the Terrorism Act 2000.
Your case remains in the queue of Team 2 (Police and Justice).
Please accept my apologies for the delays that you are experiencing.

The ICO allocated a case number to this complaint back on Tue, 06 May 2008

The Freedom of Information Act is not working properly !

Your case will be allocated when it reaches the front of our queue
and a Complaints Officer has capacity to investigate it in full
detail. We are unfortunately unable to provide updates about either
the content or progress of your case until it is allocated.
I will write to you every twelve weeks prior to allocation and a
Complaints Officer will write to you to inform you when your case is
allocated.
I hope this email is clear and helpful.
Yours sincerely
David McNeil

Complaints Officer

THE INFORMATION COMMISSIONER'S OFFICE.
____________________________________________________________________

The ICO's vision is a society where information rights and
responsibilities are respected by all.
If you are not the intended recipient of this email (and any
attachment), please inform the sender by return email and destroy all
copies. Unauthorised access, use, disclosure, storage or copying is
not permitted.
Communication by internet email is not secure as messages can be
intercepted and read by someone else. Therefore we strongly advise
you not to email any information, which if disclosed to unrelated
third parties would be likely to cause you distress. If you have an
enquiry of this nature please provide a postal address to allow us to
communicate with you in a more secure way. If you want us to respond
by email you must realise that there can be no guarantee of privacy.
Any email including its content may be monitored and used by the
Information Commissioner's Office for reasons of security and for
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Email monitoring or blocking software may also be used. Please be
aware that you have a responsibility to ensure that any email you
write or forward is within the bounds of the law.
The Information Commissioner's Office cannot guarantee that this
message or any attachment is virus free or has not been intercepted
and amended. You should perform your own virus checks.
__________________________________________________________________
http://www.ico.gov.uk or email: mail@ico.gsi.gov.uk
Information Commissioner's Office, Wycliffe House, Water Lane,
Wilmslow, Cheshire, SK9 5AF
Tel: 01625 545 700 Fax: 01625 524 510

The Information Tribunal, re-constituted after the previous one was overruled by the High Court, on the grounds of Parliamentary Privilege, has yet again ruled in favour of the publication of the the by now very out of date, but still important, Office of Government Commerce Gateway Reviews into the early stages of the Home Office's controversial ID cards Programme and centralised biometric database.

Information Tribunal Appeal Number: EA/2006/0068 & EA/2006/0080 Information Commissioner's Ref: FS50070196 & FS50132936 (.pdf)

JUDGMENT

The Tribunal upholds the Decision of the Information Commissioner in his Decision Notice dated 31 July 2006 and orders the disclosure of the two Gateway Reports there set out save that the names of all other parties to the said Reports, both interviewees and reviewers, be redacted and/or deleted, the said disclosure to take place within 28 days of the promulgation of this Decision.

i.e. publication by the 19th March 2009.

If the OGC does not appeal against this Judgment again, thereby wasting even more public money, given the forensic detail in which the legal issues have been examined, multiple times now,, it will be over 4 years since the initial Freedom of Information Act request.

N.B. it is what is not included in these reports, which may prove to be as interesting as what they actually do say.

Thr OGC's claim that they do not operate a blanket ban on disclosure of Gateway Reviews, is rather contradicted by the evidence of their senior witnesses, which showed that not a single Gateway Review had ever been disclosed to the public.

As a follow up to the Spy Blog article

Where are all the Home Office press releases ? 177 spin doctors but only 5 press releases a week ?

another WhatDoTheyKnow.com FOIA request has been submitted to the Home Office:

Press Office output for week of Mon 9th Feb 2009

About this blog

This United Kingdom based blog has been spawned from Spy Blog, and is meant to provide a place to track our Freedom of Information Act 2000 requests to United Kingdom Government and other Public Authorities.

If you have suggestions for other FOIA requests,  bearing in mind the large list of exemptions, then email them to us, or use the comments facility on this blog, and we will see  what we can do, without you yourself having to come under the direct scrutiny of  "Sir Humphrey Appleby" or his minions.

Email Contact

Please feel free to email us your views about this website or news about the issues it tries to comment on:

email: blog @spy[dot]org[dot]uk

Here is our PGP public encryption key or download it via a PGP Keyserver.

WhatDoTheyKnow.com

WhatDoTheyKnow.com - FOIA request submission and publication website from MySociety.org

Campaign Button Links

Watching Them, Watching Us - UK Public CCTV Surveillance Regulation Campaign
UK Public CCTV Surveillance Regulation Campaign

NO2ID Campaign - cross party opposition to the NuLabour Compulsory Biometric ID Card
NO2ID Campaign - cross party opposition to the NuLabour Compulsory Biometric ID Card and National Identity Register centralised database.

Gary McKinnon is facing extradition to the USA under the controversial Extradition Act 2003, without any prima facie evidence or charges brought against him in a UK court. Try him here in the UK, under UK law.
Gary McKinnon is facing extradition to the USA under the controversial Extradition Act 2003, without any prima facie evidence or charges brought against him in a UK court. Try him here in the UK, under UK law.

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FreeFarid.com - Kafkaesque extradition of Farid Hilali under the European Arrest Warrant to Spain

Peaceful resistance to the curtailment of our rights to Free Assembly and Free Speech in the SOCPA Designated Area around Parliament Square and beyond
Parliament Protest blog - resistance to the Designated Area restricting peaceful demonstrations or lobbying in the vicinity of Parliament.

Petition to the European Commission and European Parliament against their vague Data Retention plans
Data Retention is No Solution - Petition to the European Commission and European Parliament against their vague Data Retention plans.

Save Parliament: Legislative and Regulatory Reform Bill (and other issues)
Save Parliament - Legislative and Regulatory Reform Bill (and other issues)

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Open Rights Group

The Big Opt Out Campaign - opt out of having your NHS Care Record medical records and personal details stored insecurely on a massive national centralised database.

Tor - the onion routing network
Tor - the onion routing network - "Tor aims to defend against traffic analysis, a form of network surveillance that threatens personal anonymity and privacy, confidential business activities and relationships, and state security. Communications are bounced around a distributed network of servers called onion routers, protecting you from websites that build profiles of your interests, local eavesdroppers that read your data or learn what sites you visit, and even the onion routers themselves."

Tor - the onion routing network
Anonymous Blogging with Wordpress and Tor - useful Guide published by Global Voices Advocacy with step by step software configuration screenshots (updated March 10th 2009).

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Amnesty International's irrepressible.info campaign

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BlogSafer - wiki with multilingual guides to anonymous blogging

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NGO in a box - Security Edition privacy and security software tools

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Home Office Watch blog, "a single repository of all the shambolic errors and mistakes made by the British Home Office compiled from Parliamentary Questions, news reports, and tip-offs by the Liberal Democrat Home Affairs team." - does this apply to the Conservative - Liberal Democrat coalition government as well ?

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Reporters Without Borders - Reporters Sans Frontières - campaign for journalists 'and bloggers' freedom in repressive countries and war zones.

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Committee to Protect Bloggers - "devoted to the protection of bloggers worldwide with a focus on highlighting the plight of bloggers threatened and imprisoned by their government."

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Icelanders are NOT terrorists ! - despite Gordon Brown and Alistair Darling's use of anti-terrorism legislation to seize the assets of Icelandic banks.

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No CCTV - The Campaign Against CCTV

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I'm a Photographer Not a Terrorist !

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Power 2010 cross party, political reform campaign

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Cracking the Black Box - "aims to expose technology that is being used in inappropriate ways. We hope to bring together the insights of experts and whistleblowers to shine a light into the dark recesses of systems that are responsible for causing many of the privacy problems faced by millions of people."

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Open Rights Group - Petition against the renewal of the Interception Modernisation Programme

Yes, Minister

Yes, Minister Series 1, Episode 1, "Open Government" First airtime BBC: 25 February 1980

"Bernard Woolley: "Well, yes, Sir...I mean, it [open government] is the Minister's policy after all."
Sir Arnold: "My dear boy, it is a contradiction in terms: you can be open or you can have government."

FOIA Links

Campaign for the Freedom of Information

Office of the Information Commissioner,
who is meant to regulate the Freedom of Information Act 2000 in England, Wales and Northern Ireland.

Scottish Information Commissioner,
who similarly regulates the Freedom of Information Act (Scotland) 2002

Information Tribunal - deals with appeals against decisions by the Information Commissioners.

Freedom of Information pages - Department for Constitutional Affairs

Friends of the Earth FOIA Request Generator and links to contact details for Central Government Departments and their Publication Schemes

UK Government Information Asset Register - in theory, this should point you to the correct Government documents, but in practice...well see for yourself.

Access all Information is also logging some FOIA requests

foi.mysociety.org - prototype FOIA request submission, tracking and publication website

Blog Links

Spy Blog

UK Freedom of Information Act Blog - started by Steve Wood, now handed over to Katherine Gundersen

Your Right To Know - Heather Brooke

Informaticopia - Rod Ward

Open Secrets - a blog about freedom of information by BBC journalist Martin Rosenbaum

Panopticon blog - by Timothy Pitt-Payne and Anya Proops. Timothy Pitt-Payne is probably the leading legal expert on the UK's Freedom of Information Act law, often appearing on behlaf of the Information Commissioner's Office at the Information Tribunal.

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Recent Comments

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  • wtwu: Anonymous briefings to the mainstream press that the truncated Gibson read more
  • wtwu: Rendition report still unpublished nine months after completion Although government read more
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  • Geoff Hillyard: My earlier letter talking about the lie that I read more
  • wtwu: Apart from an automatic email dispaly receipt from public.enquiries@homeoffice.gsi.gov.uk Spy read more
  • wtwu: This Decision Notice is now available as a(.pdf) from the read more
  • wtwu: The ICO has now published this Deciaion Notice as a read more

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