August 2015 Archives

By the standards of the Cabinet Office 2 days late (after a reminder) is almost commendable:

Cabinet Office
1 Horse Guards Road
London
SW1A 2HQ
T +44 (0)20 7276 2294
foi.team@cabinet-office.gsi.gov.uk
www.cabinet office.gov.uk

[name]
[email address alias specific to this FOIA request]

FOI Reference: FOInnnnnn

18/08/2015

Dear [name]

I refer to your request where you asked:

"1) What is the financial budget allocated to this Commission,
between its announcement in July and when it is meant to report in
November 2015 ?
2) How much money is the Chair and each member of the FOI
Commission to be paid?
3) Is this an hourly rate or a fixed term contract?
4) Are travel and subsistence expenses to be paid separately?
5) How many hours or days will the Chair and members of the FOI
Commission be expected to work between now and November?
6) Is the Cabinet Office providing office and secretarial support,
or is the FOI Commission establishing their own independent
secretariat ?
7) What are the public contact details of the FOI Commission, so
that members of the public can supply them with evidence of how the
Freedom of Information Act works or fails in practice?"

Your request has been handled under the Freedom of Information Act 2000 (FOIA).

I can confirm that the department holds the information that you have asked for, and I
am pleased to provide this to you.

1) The cost of the Commission will be accounted for when the Commission reports
therefore section 22 applied (information intended for future publication).
2) The Commissioners and Chair are unpaid.
3) Not applicable.
4) The Commissioners are entitled to the reimbursement of reasonable travel
expenses.
5) This is for the Commission to determine.
6) The Commission has a dedicated secretariat. The Commission and its secretariat are located in Ministry of Justice office space.
7) The contact details for the Commission can be found on their website page:
https://www.gov.uk/government/organisations/independent-commission-on-freedom-of-information

If you have any queries about this letter, please contact the FOI team. Please
remember to quote the reference number above in any future communications.
If you are unhappy with the service you have received in relation to your request or wish
to request an internal review, you should write to:

[name of civil servant]
Head of Knowledge and Information Management
Cabinet Office
1 Horse Guards Road
London
SW1A 2HQ
email: foi-team@cabinetoffice.gov.uk
You should note that the Cabinet Office will not normally accept an application for
internal review if it is received more than two months after the date that the reply was
issued.

If you are not content with the outcome of your internal review, you may apply directly to
the Information Commissioner for a decision. Generally, the Commissioner cannot
make a decision unless you have exhausted the complaints procedure provided by
Cabinet Office. The Information Commissioner can be contacted at:
The Information Commissioner's Office
Wycliffe House
Water Lane
Wilmslow
Cheshire
SK9 5AF

Yours sincerely


FOI Team
Cabinet Office

Note how

HM Revenue & Customs

Complaints, FOI & DPA Team
s1177
PO Box 198
Newcastle
NE98 1ZZ
Phone 03000 567151
Fax 03000 577655

Email: [name of civil servant] @hmrc gsi.gov.uk


Date: 17 August 2015
Our Ref: [FOI nnnn/15]

Email: [email address]

Dear [name]

Request for information under the Freedom of lnformation Act 2000 (FOIA)
Thank you for your request, which was received on '19 July 2015, for the following
information:

"Copies of the full text of the 80 "Writs of Assistance" which are currently available for use by Her Majesty's Revenue and Customs in England, Wales, Scotland and Northern lreland, the under

Customs and Excise Management Act 1979 section 161
http://www.legislation.gov.uk/ukpga/1979/2/section/161

or other equivalent legal powers in force prior to the Customs and Excise Management Act
1979, in the reign of Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth ll.

N.B. This is NOT a request for any sensitive details of any any ongoing investigations."

I am answering under the terms of the Freedom of lnformation Act 2000 (FOIA).

Writs are issued at the commencement of a Monarch's reign and are issued.by-the courts of the three UK jurisdlctions, England and Wales, Scotland and Northern lreland The wording,
granting the authority to use the power, is the same on all writs.

The annex is reproduced here for your reference.

lf you are not happy with this reply you may request a review by writing to HMRC FOI Team, Room 1C/23,100 Parliament Street, London SWIA 2BQ or e-mailing
foi.review@hmrc.qsi.gov.uk Youmust request a review within 2 months of the date of this letter. lt would assist our review if you set out which aspects of the reply concern you and
why you are dissatisfied.

lf you are not content with the outcome of an internal review, you may apply directly to the Information Commissioner for a decision. The lnformation Commissioner will not usually
consider a case unless you have exhausted the internal review procedure provided by HMRC. He can be contacted at The lnformation Commissioners Office, Wycliffe House,
Water Lane, Wilmslow, Cheshire SK9 5AF.

Yours sincerely

[name of civil servant]
(by e-mail)


Annex

Elizabeth the Second, BY THE GRACE OF GOD of Great Britain, lreland and the British Dominions beyond the Seas, Queen, Defender of the Faith To all and singular Our Officers
and Ministerse who now or hereafter shall have any office, power or authority derived from or under the Commissioners of Our Admiralty or Our Lord High Admiral of Our United
Kingdom for the time being; as also all and every Our Vice-Admirals, Justices of the Peace, Provosts, Sheriffs, Constables, Bailiffs and all other Our Officers and Subjects whomsoever
within every City, Burgh, Town and County of Scotland, and the lslands and Territories thereto belonging; and to every of you; Greeting. Whereas by Commission or Letters Patent
under the Great Seal of Our Realm, bearing date at Westminster the First day of November in the first year of Our Reign, Our Trusty and Well-beloved Sir William Dawson Croft, Knight
Commander of Our Most Honourable Order of the Bath, Knight Commander of Our Most Excellent Order of the British Empire, Companion of Our Most Eminent Order of the lndian
Empire, companion of our Royar Victorian Order, Arthur Douglas Owen, Esquire, Companion of our Most Honourable Order of the Bath, Charles William Hardisty, Esquire,
Companion of our Most Honourable Order of the Bath, Arthur Wood Taylor, Esquire, and Francis Noel Roberts, Esquire, Companion of Our Most Excellent order of the British
Empire, were constituted, appointed and assigned to be Commissioners for and during Our pleasure, for the collection and for the management of Our Revenue and Customs and Excise
in and throughout the whole of Our United Kingdom; and by the said Commission or Letters Patent is given and granted unto the said Commissioners full power and authority
respectively to do and execute all matters and things, which by any Act or Acts of Parliament, or by any Law, Usage or Custom for the time being in force, the Commissioners
of Our Customs and Excise are or may be authorised and empowered to do, to the end that all and singular the duties of Customs and Excise and also all and every the Sums of Money
and other premises may be duly paid and answered.

We therefore strictly enjoin and command you and every one of you that, all excuses apart, you and every one of you permit and suffer the said Sir William Dawson Croft, Arthur
Douglas Owen, Charles William Hardisty, Arhur Wood Taylor and Francis Noel Roberts, or their Successors in office as Commissioners of Our Customs and Excise and the Deputies,
Ministers, Servants and other Officers of them the said Commissioners, or of their Successors in office as aforesaid, from time to time as they shall think proper, on any day,
as well by night as by day, but not between the hours of 11 o'clock at night and 5 o'clock in the morning except in the company of a Constable, to enter any building-or place in which
there are reasonable grounds to suspect that any thing liable to forefeiture under the Customs or Excise Acts is kept or concealed, there to search for, seize, and detain or remove any
such thing and, so far as is reasonably necessary for the purpose of such entry, search, seizure, detention or removal, to break open any door, window or container, and to force or
remove any other impediment or obstruction; and further to do and execute all things which of right and according to the Laws and Statutes in force in this behalf shall be to be done.

And we further strictly enjoin and command you, and every one of you, that to the said Sir William Dawson Croft, Arlhur Douglas Owen, Charles William Hardisty, Arthur Wood Taylor
and Francis Noel Roberts, Our said Commissioners, and to all and every person or persons who hereafter shall be constituted, appointed and assigned to collect and manage Our
Customs and Excise in and throughout Scotland, and the lslands and Territories thereunto belonging, and to their Deputies, Ministers and Servants, and other Officers, and each of
them, you and every one of you, from time to time be aiding, assisting and helping in the execution of the premises as is meet, and this you and any of you are in nowise to omit at
your perils

This Writ of Assistance is in effect a General Warrant, of the sort which helped to foment the American Revoloution legal power of entry, search and seizure, of anywhere and everywhere in the United Kingdom, and throughout Scotland, which needs no Magistrate or Judge.

The *only* restraint on HMRC is that at night i.e. between 11pm and 5am, andy such raids must be accompanied by a Constable i.e. a Police Officer.

HMRC appears to escape any financial liability for any damage caused by such forced entry or seizure.

Incredibly these Writs of Assistance last for the reign of the Monarch plus another 6 months

These powers surely cannot be compliant with either the Human Rights ACt , or the European Convention on Human Rights, ot the European Charter, all of which
require *proportionality* and a definate time limit (e.g. a month or 6 months etc.) to a warrant etc. before it needs to be reviewed and renewed.

What is so wrong with HMRC having to to apply for a time and specific location limited search warrant under the Police and Criminal Evidence Act, like the Police have to ?

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

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WhatDoTheyKnow.com

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

Campaign Button Links

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

NO2ID Campaign - cross party opposition to the NuLabour Compulsory Biometric ID Card
NO2ID Campaign - cross party opposition to the NuLabour Compulsory Biometric ID Card and National Identity Register centralised database.

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.

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FreeFarid.com - Kafkaesque extradition of Farid Hilali under the European Arrest Warrant to Spain

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.

Petition to the European Commission and European Parliament against their vague Data Retention plans
Data Retention is No Solution - Petition to the European Commission and European Parliament against their vague Data Retention plans.

Save Parliament: Legislative and Regulatory Reform Bill (and other issues)
Save Parliament - Legislative and Regulatory Reform Bill (and other issues)

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Open Rights Group

The Big Opt Out Campaign - opt out of having your NHS Care Record medical records and personal details stored insecurely on a massive national centralised database.

Tor - the onion routing network
Tor - the onion routing network - "Tor aims to defend against traffic analysis, a form of network surveillance that threatens personal anonymity and privacy, confidential business activities and relationships, and state security. Communications are bounced around a distributed network of servers called onion routers, protecting you from websites that build profiles of your interests, local eavesdroppers that read your data or learn what sites you visit, and even the onion routers themselves."

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).

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Amnesty International's irrepressible.info campaign

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BlogSafer - wiki with multilingual guides to anonymous blogging

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

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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 ?

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

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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."

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Icelanders are NOT terrorists ! - despite Gordon Brown and Alistair Darling's use of anti-terrorism legislation to seize the assets of Icelandic banks.

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No CCTV - The Campaign Against CCTV

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I'm a Photographer Not a Terrorist !

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Power 2010 cross party, political reform campaign

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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."

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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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