A charity is testing a website which automates the submitting, tracking, and publishing requests made under the Freedom of Information (FoI) Act. MySociety, which runs sites including elected representative service TheyWorkForYou.com and mass pledge system PledgeBank.com, has built a list of FoI contacts at central government …
It seems like...
Parliament wants to demure so that it can charge for the service at some later point? That is charge the taxpayer for supplying information it has already collected at its expense.
"You'll put it on the internet is hardly a robust reason. What is the fear? Clearly the "if you've nothing to hide, you've nothing to fear" rule works for the proles but not for Parliament?
Copyright is not an FOI exclusion
AFAIK... copyright is copyright but that's no reason not to respond - as required by the Act - to a valid request.
The Act specifies the reasons allowed for a refusal... is copyright one of them?
Copyright isn't a valid exemption, but "information intended for future publication" is. See http://www.opsi.gov.uk/acts/acts2000/ukpga_20000036_en_1 (Part II of the Act) for the legalese.
Congratulations to My Society
I'll be visiting this as much as "They work for you no doubt" - it's great entertainment too. Under the FOI we now know that parliament protest actions that the police have had to administer include; "Protest at the rudeness of folk who work in carpet shops", "Hollyoaks is rubbish", "Deport home secretatries" and, (must be Mark Thomas's doing) "Protest about the police having to waste time processing SOCPA forms when they should be drinking tea instead"
Making such complicated tasks simple. Kind of what the goverment should have been doing in the first place. I've been using fixmystreet.co.uk for a while now, and its nice to see when a problem is still unresolved, even if it wasnt posted by me.
@ Congratulations to My Society
Have a look for his radio show "My Adventures in Serious Organised Crime" on youtube. He comes up with some great ideas.
@ Martin T. thx
If publication is planned that seems fair enough, but...
>>Steinberg said so far only one organisation – Parliament – has refused to reply to a request made through the system: "They said, we can't send you this information as you are going to put it on the internet."
>>The reply mentioned parliamentary copyright as its reason.
...they seem to be claiming some other exclusion, and the mention of copyright is disturbing. Copyright is the protection against infringement, not the FOI... if they use the FOI to protect IP it broadens its scope.
Anywhat, this is all second-hand tosh and I'm not fully up to speed on FOI, but I am getting concerned about the increasing creativity of H M Gov in coming up with reasons for refusal.