December 2005 Archives

The ongoing saga of the Home Office Identity Cards Programme has resulted, at last, in an Internal Review a letter and a printout via snail mail, rather than via email.

Do you think it is worth complaining to the Information Commissioner ? Bear in mind that the Information Commissioner has taken months and is still considering another of our FOIA requests, relating to the non publication of the Office of Government Commerce Gateway Reviews of the Identity Cards Bill.

UPDATE 27th December 2005:

The most interesting stuff is the "dog which did not bark in the night" i.e. the meetings which are missing. On the evidence of this FOIA disclosure, it does not seem as if the policy of

"the need for extensive consultation to ensure that Ministers receive the best advice available and that correct decisions are taken."

has been adhered to.

There do not seem to be any meetings by these senior members of the Identity Cards Programme team specifically with other Central Government Departments, or the
Office of the e-Envoy / e-government unit. There do not seem to be any meetings with the Treasury to discuss the estimated costs of the porject.

Where are the meetings with the Office of Government Commerce Gateway Reviewers, a process which takes at least a week ?

Also notable by their absence are any meetings with civil liberties or IT secuiry and privacy experts,.

Obviously some or all of these "missing" groups could have been in contact with the Identity Cards Programme Team via other methods apart from official face to face meetings, e.g. email, phone, letter etc.but one would have expected any people or groups whose views were considered important by the Identity Cards programme Team to have merited several meetings.

Email us if you are interested in seeing the full disclosure, an anodyne sample of which is published below:

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. - FOIA request submission and publication website from

Campaign Buttons

Campaign for the Freedom of Information

NO2ID - opposition to the Home Office's Compulsory Biometric ID Card
NO2ID - opposition to the Home Office's Compulsory Biometric ID Card and National Identity Register centralised database.

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

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.

Amnesty International 's campaign

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 - 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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