Recently in SOCPA Section 128 Designated / Protected Sites Category

We have finally received a disclosure from the House of Commons authorities, regarding our Freedom of Information Act request about the the formerly public areas within the the Palace of Westminster and Portcullis House, which are now within the boundary of a Protected Site under the Serious Organised Crime and Police Act 2005 Section 128 Offence of trespassing on designated site, as amended by the Terrorism Act 2006 section 12.Trespassing etc. on nuclear sites, as specified in the Statutory Instrument 2007 No. 930 The Serious Organised Crime and Police Act 2005 (Designated Sites under Section 128) Order 2007. specifically the map published in Schedule 8:

07093008.gif

The paper hardcopy photopies reveal little of interest, except that it seems that the boundary around the main Palace of Westminster was originally going to extend some way into the River Thames, presumably along the as yet non-existent "security" boom or row of marker buoys.

How, exactly any Notices would have been fixed or how this law applies to the tidal River Thames is a mystery which is, at this point rather moot.

The memos and emails confirm that the Home Office was desperate to ensure that there was adequate signage so as to prevent the statutory defence of ignorance of the boundary from being invoked.

There are a couple of FOIA Section 24 National Security exemption redactions, which one could perhaps argue about, since Section 128 of SOCPA has nothing to do with real security, and everything to do with the suppression of political dissent, and of minor non-violent, non-threatening publicity stunts.

What is really infuriating, however, is the policy of censorship or redaction of the Names, Job Titles, Email Addresses , Postal Addresses and DirectTelephone Numbers of some of the officials in these memos and emails, on what seems to be spurious grounds

In each case, the full text of the memos and emails was disclosed (apart from some small Section 24 National Security redactions) but, for the most part, the people who were making the decisions and giving advice remain as faceless, nameless, contactless bureaucrats.

The House of Lords has disclosed, as per our FOIA request, a couple of Home Office documents which give a glimpse about the chronology of the meetings and decisions which led to the Designation of the Place of Westminster and Portcullis House (and Downing Street, Buckingham Palace, MI5, MI6, GCHQ, MOD etc. buildings) under the Serious organised Crime and Police Act 2005.

The emphasis on displaying adequate warning signs around the perimeters of Designated Sites, some of which which are now called Protected Sites (after the amendment brought in by Section 12 of the Terrorism Act 2006) is interesting - the Home Office civil servants fear that the legislation will "be brought into disrepute by a failed prosecution", based on the statutory defence under "section 128(4) if a person can prove that he did not know and had no reasonable cause to suspect the site in relation to which the offence is alleged to have been committed was a designated site".

This is currently very topical, since the first people, Obadiah Marius and Victoria Smith have now been arrested and charged under this Section 128, for apparently wandering into Downing Street via the unmarked 70 Whitehall entrance to the Cabinet Office.

Warning signs suitable for the perimeter fence of a nuclear power station on an isolated site, are not adequate for public buildings or otherwise unmarked official office buildings in the centre of London, an area with with millions of foreign tourists who may not read English well or at all. There are also many British people who cannot read or see such signs either.

The House of Lords disclosure consists of 4 photocopied items:

    Letter from the House of Lords Freedom of Information Officer.

    The FOIA disclosure was made via post which arrived on Tuesday 12th June 2007, exactly 20 working days (allowing for the May Public Holiday).

  1. March 2007 Letter from a senior Home Office civil servant to the Parliamentary Security Co-Ordinator

    "I know the policy is not a welcome one but it is one to which the Government has committed us and it will be difficult for us all if it is called into disrepute"

  2. March 2007 Email to Parliamentary Estates Division from the Policy Team Leader at the Home Office Central Unit, which concisely lays out the chronology of the meetings and decisions and the importance of adequate signage.

  3. July 2006 Appendix giving general policy advice about signs and section 128 - presumably this was sent to all the other Designated sites as well.

  4. The House of Lords wording used on their temporary / freestanding signs by their entrances to the House of Lords e.g. the Monarch's entrance.

We have censored some names, addresses, individual email addresses and direct telephone extensions in the transcriptions below:


As an example of the sort of Freedom of Information Act requests which have nothing to do with MPs' expenses, but which would also be banned by David Maclean's Private Member's Bill which is rearing its ugly head again next Friday 19th May, the notorious Freedom of Information Act (Amendment) Bill, we have asked the House of Commons and the House of Lords about the Designation of the Public Areas of the Palace of Westminster and Portcullis House, under the Serious Organised Crime and Police Act 2005 section 128.

Palace_of_Westminster_and_Portcullis_House_300.gif

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.

FreeFarid_150.jpg
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)

Open_Rights_Group.png
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).

irrepressible_banner_03.gif
Amnesty International's irrepressible.info campaign

anoniblog_150.png
BlogSafer - wiki with multilingual guides to anonymous blogging

ngoiab_150.png
NGO in a box - Security Edition privacy and security software tools

homeofficewatch_150.jpg
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 ?

rsf_logo_150.gif
Reporters Without Borders - Reporters Sans Frontières - campaign for journalists 'and bloggers' freedom in repressive countries and war zones.

committee_to_protect_bloggers_150.gif
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."

Icelanders_are_NOT_Terrorists_logo_150.jpg
Icelanders are NOT terrorists ! - despite Gordon Brown and Alistair Darling's use of anti-terrorism legislation to seize the assets of Icelandic banks.

nocctv.gif
No CCTV - The Campaign Against CCTV

phnat-logo-black-on-white_150.jpg

I'm a Photographer Not a Terrorist !

power2010_132.png

Power 2010 cross party, political reform campaign

Cracking_the_Black_Box_black_150.jpg

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."

surveillance_72.jpg

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.

Syndicate this site (XML):

Recent Comments

  • wtw: This has now been published, for what it is worth read more
  • 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
  • wtwu: The clock is till ticking and the Cabinet Office is read more
  • GF: They obviously just wanted more time to respond, illegally (ironically read more
  • Geoff Hillyard: My police Union told be that I would be read more
  • 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

December 2014

Sun Mon Tue Wed Thu Fri Sat
  1 2 3 4 5 6
7 8 9 10 11 12 13
14 15 16 17 18 19 20
21 22 23 24 25 26 27
28 29 30 31      

Categories