Recently in Location Based Services Code of Practice Category

Hooray we have our first sucesseful Freedom of Information Act Request ! Well, almost.

We requested a copy of a Mobile Phone Industry Code of Practice regarding Location Based Services, especially those aimed at Children and Vulnerable Adults, from Ofcom, the Industry Regulator.

We have got a reply ref: FOI Case 2360053 (does that mean the 53rd FOIA request this year ?) after only 8 working days.

The email reply is attached below, and includes:

"I have spoken to colleagues in the sections of Ofcom likely to have knowledge of this and we do not believe that Ofcom has been involved with work to produce such a code. As such, and following a search of our paper and electronic records, we do not hold the information you requested."

Fair enough. However this does raise the question of exactly why was Ofcom, the Mobile Phone Industry regulator not involved in even any discussions about a Mobile Phone Industry Code of Practice covering such a sensitive and controversial issues like the privacy and safety of children.

"However, an internet search has found [URL ] which appears to be the Code you are seeking and you may wish to contact the Mobile Broadband Group, whose details are given, if you require further information."

Yes indeed, the URL that they have pointed us to does seem to be the right sort of document entitled:

"Industry Code of Practice

For the use of mobile phone technology to provide passive
location services in the UK

24 September 2004"

However, the URL quoted does not belong to any of the Mobile Phone Network companies, or the Location Based Service providers, or the Children's Charities which were involved in drawing up this Code of Practice.

As we suggested earlier Ofcom are a quango with statutory powers to regulate several industries and are supposedly independent of Central Government. Therefore some of the exemptions to the FOIA do not apply.

If Ofcom deny all knowledge of the "Location Based Services Code of Practice", which at least one of their employees did over the phone in September, then there are serious questions to be asked about how seriously Ofcom is actually taking its duty to protect the public, especially in this case, children and vulnerable adults, from predators who could abuse the mobile phone network and commercial third party location based services.

A refinement on our previous requests was to remember to ask for corresepondence as well as emails etc.

Read the FOIA request sent to Ofcom:

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.

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