October 2010 Archives

Why has it taken the Home Ofice so long not to consider the new balance of Public Interest in favour of disclosure, compared to our original Freedom of Information Act request back in 2007 ?

What is so difficult about telling us exactly when and where tempoarary , extrordinary legal powers actually apply ?

Given the revelations by the new Conservative / Liberal Democrat governmet of so many mistakes by Regional Police Forces, the central Metropolitan Police unit, Home Office civil servants and the politicians at the Home Office, regarding these Terrorism Act 2000 section 44 / 45 Authorisations, which haveresulted in in hundreds or thousands o illegal stops and searches, we must conclude that, contrary to the Freedom of Information Act, the real reason for the refusal of our FOIA request is politcal coverup rather than genuine national security.

Home Office
Office for Security and Counter-Terrorism
2 Marsham Street, London SW1P 4DF
OSCTFOI@homeoffice.x.gsi.gov.uk Website: www.homeoffice.gov.uk

FOI reference: 15213


27 September 2010

Dear [name]

I am writing further to my e-mail of 1 September 2010 about your request for information on s44 (Terrorism Act 2000) authorisations. Your request has been handled as a request for information under the Freedom of Information Act 2000.

You made a request for similar information on s44 authorisations in November 2007. The request for that information was considered by the Home Office and, subsequently, the Information Commissioner's Office (ICO). In their Decision Notice of 8 February 2010 (ref: FS50198733) the Commissioner held that the requested information was properly withheld under the exemption at section 24 (1) of the Freedom of Information Act. Consequently, I am of the opinion that the Home Office has fully considered the requests for information on points 1 - 5 in your current request. I do not believe that it is necessary to address these requests once more as our assessment remains that the disclosure of the information you requested would damage national security, for the same reasons as previously provided.

In addition to the above requests, you also asked to be informed of which Ministers have confirmed which s44 authorisations (and when) between February 2001 (when the Terrorism Act 2000 came into force) and 11 June 2010. In the ICO's Decision Notice of February 2010, the Commissioner indicated that the disclosure of details such as dates, times and geographical locations (i.e. which forces have authorised use of the power) could assist terrorists by allowing them to '...ascertain the likelihood of their activities coming to the attention of the police or anti-terrorist agencies'. The Commissioner was of the opinion '..that any advantages gained by further informing the public would be significantly outweighed by the factors for protecting the public by maintaining the exemption' (i.e. Section 24(1)). Consequently, the Home Office considers that details of the forces who had S44 authorisations in place and when these authorisations were in place come within the exemption at S24(1). From the information available,however, I have provided a list of those Ministers who have confirmed s44 authorisations in this period - see annex A.

If you are dissatisfied with this response you may request an independent internal review of our handling of your request by submitting a complaint within two months to the address below, quoting reference 15213. If you ask for an internal review, it would be helpful if you could say why you are dissatisfied with the response.

Information Access Team

Home Office
Ground Floor, Seacole Building
2 Marsham Street
London SW1P 4DF
e-mail: FOIRequests@homeoffice.gsi.gov.uk

As part of any internal review the Department's handling of your information request will be reassessed by staff who were not involved in providing you with this response. If you remain dissatisfied after this internal review, you would have a right of complaint to the Information Commissioner as established by section 50 of the Freedom of Information Act.

Yours sincerely

[name of civil servant]

The list of Labour politicians who have signedTerrorism Act 2000 Section 44 Stop and Search *Wwithout* Reasonable Supicion requests, is long and dishonourable.

We do not trust any of these people::

Annex A


Name Appointment

John Denham Minister of state,

Home Office: 2001- 2003

Beverley Hughes Minister of State, Home Office:2002-04

Keith Bradley Minister of State, Home Office, 2001-02.

Bob Ainsworth Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State

Home Office, 2001-03

Angela Eagle Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Home
Office, 2001-02

Jeff Rooker Minister of State: 2001-02

David Blunkett Secretary of State for the Home Department: 2001-

Hilary Benn Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Home
Office, 2002-03

Michael Wills Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State: 2002-03

Lord Falconer of Thoroton Home Office (Criminal Justice, Sentencing and Law
(Charles Falconer) Reform) 2002-03,

Baron Filkin of Pimlico (Life Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State and
Baron), David Geoffrey Nigel Government Spokesperson for:
Filkin Home Office 2002-03,

Paul Goggins Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State:
Home Office 2003-06,

Caroline Flint Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Home
Office 2003-05;

Fiona MacTaggart Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Home
Office, 2003-06

Hazel Blears Minister of State, Home Office, 2003-06

Baroness Scotland of Asthal Minister of State and Government Spokesperson for
(Life Baroness), Patricia Janet Home Office 2003-07;

Des Browne Minister of State Home Office, 2004-05

Charles Clarke Secretary of State for the Home Department, 2004-

Tony McNulty Minister of State Home Office, 2005-08;

Andy Burnham Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Home
Office 2005-06

John Reid Secretary of State for the Home Department, 2006-

Jacqui Smith Secretary of State for the Home Dept, 2007-09

Vernon Coaker Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, 2006-08

and Minister of State, 2008-09

Meg Hillier Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State Home Office

David Hanson Minister of State
Home Office 2009-10

Adm. Alan William John West Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State and
Government Spokesperson, Home Office 2007-10
Lord West of Spithead

It is interesting that, according to this FOIA response, neither Home Secretary Theresa May , nor any other Conservative / Liberal Democrat Home Office Ministers, apart from Baroness Neville-Jones have signed any such Authorisations:


Baroness Neville-Jones of Hutton Roof Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State,
Home Office 2010 -

How long will the Home Office bureaucrats atempt to delay our request for an Internal Review ?

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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Please feel free to email us your views about this website or news about the issues it tries to comment on:

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WhatDoTheyKnow.com - FOIA request submission and publication website from MySociety.org

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NO2ID Campaign - cross party opposition to the NuLabour Compulsory Biometric ID Card
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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.com - Kafkaesque extradition of Farid Hilali under the European Arrest Warrant to Spain

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Petition to the European Commission and European Parliament against their vague Data Retention plans
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Open Rights Group

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Tor - the onion routing network
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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).

Amnesty International's irrepressible.info campaign

BlogSafer - wiki with multilingual guides to anonymous blogging

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

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 ?

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

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 ! - despite Gordon Brown and Alistair Darling's use of anti-terrorism legislation to seize the assets of Icelandic banks.

No CCTV - The Campaign Against CCTV


I'm a Photographer Not a Terrorist !


Power 2010 cross party, political reform campaign


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."


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.

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