The Freedom of Information Act is great, I use it regularly to get useful information from public bodies, but I take my hat off to Becky Hogge of the Open Rights Group. I shall be plagiarising her words in my future FOI requests! This is copied from WhatDoTheyKnow on the 'Intercept Modernisation Programme' - the very worrying database that will log everyone's calls and emails etc. More on that in a future post but in the meantime this FOI request sets the benchmark:
Dear Sir or Madam,
According to a written answer submitted to the Earl of Northesk on 8 July 2008 by Lord West of Spithead, Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Security and Counter-terrorism), Home Office:
"the objective of the Intercept Modernisation Programme (IMP) is to maintain the UK's lawful intercept and communications data capabilities in the changing communications environment. It is a cross-government programme, led by the Home Office, to ensure that our capability to lawfully intercept and exploit data when fighting crime and terrorism is not lost. It was established in response to my right honourable friend the Prime Minister's national security remit in 2006."
The following information is requested under the Freedom of Information Act for the period from January 2007 to date:
-Agenda and minutes of all meetings of the Intelligence and Security Liaison Group (and prior and subsequent re-namings of this entity);
-Agenda and minutes of all meetings of the Government-Industry Forum (once called the Government Industry Encryption Forum);
-Any feasibility studies, or budgetary forecasts produced by the Home Office or their consultants relating to the Intercept Modernisation Programme, including breakdown in terms of costs to the taxpayer and cost to private industry;
-Draft or other plans for the technical architecture of the system;
-Agenda and minutes of any meetings, other than those mentioned above, between communications service providers and the Home Office on the subject of the Intercept Modernisation Programme; and
-Copies of correspondence regarding the Intercept Modernisation Programme, including expressions of concern from either communications service providers, civil servants, elected officials or civil society.
Please include copies of material which you hold in the form of paper and electronic records, including emails.
This information should be supplied by email, unless the total size is greater than 10MB, in which case a CD-ROM is preferable. If you are not able to provide the information in this format then please explain why not, when you provide the information in another format.
If you decide to withhold any of the information requested, please explain clearly why you have done so in your response, by reference to the legislation. If your decision to withhold is based upon an evaluation of the public interest then please clearly explain which public interests you have considered and why you have decided that the public interest in maintaining the exception(s) outweighs the public interest in releasing the information.
If you are proposing to make a charge for providing the information requested then please provide full details in advance together with an explanation of any proposed charge.
We look forward to hearing from you promptly, as required by the legislation, and in any case within 20 working days. We would be grateful if you could acknowledge safe receipt of this request by email.
Becky Hogge Executive Director, Open Rights Group