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Clarification on redaction from FOIA released document

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Dear Department of Home Affairs,

Regarding document SB-20-000408 (16 November 2020, FA 20/09/01171, FA 20/09/01173) more specifically: Attachment A (Breakdown of Air and Sea arrivals... etc), I am requesting under FOIA 1982 access to the original document "Attachment A".

I have noticed there are sections in the table of the requested document which have been redacted under section 47F of the FOIA 1982 act.

Due to the ambiguous and aggregated nature of the data represented, I am not satisfied, to the best of my knowledge, that the section 47F redaction of statistical information, as it were, was appropriate for the document.

In the interest of the Australian public - full transparency on statistical data, such as the requested document, is crucial to a free and open democracy. This statistical data is crucial for a data-driven and fact based future, and personally its very closely related to the project I am currently undertaking, and would be incredibly beneficial to my work.

My reasoning for this request is that statistical data (integerised aggregation of an anonymised tally) does not satisfy the following (under FOIA 1982):

s47F(1): "..personal information.."

Therefore any FOIA denial/redaction or otherwise disruption of the original document, under s47F(2): "..unreasonable disclosure of personal information, an agency or Minister."
is rendered invalid.

Unless there is something I am unaware of, there is no unreasonable disclosure of personal information (s47F) in the document, as a tally/total/aggregation is in no way personally identifiable, to myself, Australian citizens, foreign entities, or third parties.

If however, the pertinent request was redacted under
s47F(2)(b) or (d) then my current request shall be made for any liasing/explanitory memorandum/classification summary, or otherwise analogous/related documents to the original FOIA request.

At the very least I would expect the department to provide the documents related to the original justification by the department as to why a series of numbers could be potentially personally identifiable.

Thankyou for your time, looking forward to hearing back.

Regards,
JM

FOI, Department of Home Affairs

** This is an automated response. Please do not reply to this email **

IMPORTANT INFORMATION

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FOI, Department of Home Affairs

OFFICIAL

In reply please quote:
FOI Request: FA 21/02/00997
File Number: OBJ2021/6523

Dear JM

Acknowledgement of Freedom of Information Access request

I refer to your correspondence received on 17 February 2021 seeking access to documents held by the Department of Home Affairs (the Department) under the Freedom of Information Act 1982 (the FOI Act).

Scope of request

You have requested access to the following:

Regarding document SB-20-000408 (16 November 2020, FA 20/09/01171, FA 20/09/01173) more specifically: Attachment A (Breakdown of Air and Sea arrivals... etc), I am requesting under FOIA 1982 access to the original document "Attachment A".

I have noticed there are sections in the table of the requested document which have been redacted under section 47F of the FOIA 1982 act.

Due to the ambiguous and aggregated nature of the data represented, I am not satisfied, to the best of my knowledge, that the section 47F redaction of statistical information, as it were, was appropriate for the document.

In the interest of the Australian public - full transparency on statistical data, such as the requested document, is crucial to a free and open democracy. This statistical data is crucial for a data-driven and fact based future, and personally its very closely related to the project I am currently undertaking, and would be incredibly beneficial to my work.

My reasoning for this request is that statistical data (integerised aggregation of an anonymised tally) does not satisfy the following (under FOIA 1982):

s47F(1): "..personal information.."

Therefore any FOIA denial/redaction or otherwise disruption of the original document, under s47F(2): "..unreasonable disclosure of personal information, an agency or Minister."
is rendered invalid.

Unless there is something I am unaware of, there is no unreasonable disclosure of personal information (s47F) in the document, as a tally/total/aggregation is in no way personally identifiable, to myself, Australian citizens, foreign entities, or third parties.

If however, the pertinent request was redacted under
s47F(2)(b) or (d) then my current request shall be made for any liasing/explanitory memorandum/classification summary, or otherwise analogous/related documents to the original FOIA request.

At the very least I would expect the department to provide the documents related to the original justification by the department as to why a series of numbers could be potentially personally identifiable.

Can you please clarify you are seeking access to SB20-00408, Attachment A, specifically page 119 of the document published on the Home Affairs Disclosure Log (at https://www.homeaffairs.gov.au/foi/files... ). Your request was received by the Department on 17 February 2021 and has been allocated FOI request number FA 21/02/00997 . Please include your FOI request number in all correspondence with the Freedom of Information Section.
Timeframe for receiving your decision

The statutory timeframe for processing a request is 30 days from the date upon which your application was received by the Department.

Your review rights in relation to your request are available on the website of the Office of the Australian Information Commissioner here.

Exclusion of staff details

The Department’s policy is to exclude the personal details of staff not in the Senior Executive Service (SES), as well as the direct contact details of SES staff, contained in documents that fall within scope of an FOI request. If you require personal details of non-SES officers, or direct contact details of SES staff, please inform us so the decision maker may consider your request. Otherwise we will take it that you agree to that information being excluded from the scope of your request.

Duplicate documents

If the FOI decision-maker deems a document to be a duplicate, they will not assess those pages as part of your FOI request. This means that if a there is a decision to release the document to you, you will receive only one copy, even if multiple copies of that document exists.
Publication of document

Where documents are released to you in response to your request, the Department may be required to publish these documents on its website within 10 working days in accordance with section 11C of the FOI Act. Publication will not be required where the documents contain personal or business affairs information.
Contacting the FOI Section

Should you wish to discuss your request you may contact the FOI Section at [Department of Home Affairs request email].

Kind regards,

FOI Officer
Freedom of Information
Department of Home Affairs
E: [Department of Home Affairs request email]

OFFICIAL

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Dear FOI,

Your request for clarification cites the correct document in terms of context, however, I am requesting the original version, without redacted information (of which the contents will still remain unidentifiable once I have been granted access to the original).

To further clarify, I am not seeking the already released document mentioned. If I am not granted access to the original, unredacted document - I intend to perform an internal review to ascertain as to why certain sections of the relevant document, all of which I can rightfully assume are integerised figures (aggregated, non-peronally identifiable data/rolling tally) have been classified as denied - where numbers, as it were, have been classified as identifiable information and therefore wrongfully denied in terms of public access.

Thank you for your email, sincerely,

J M (FA 21/02/00997)

FOI, Department of Home Affairs

OFFICIAL

Good morning,

Thank you for clarifying your request. We understand that you are seeking access, under the FOI Act, to:

The unredacted version of SB20-00408, Attachment A. The redacted version of this is published on page 119 of the document on the Home Affairs Disclosure Log (at https://www.homeaffairs.gov.au/foi/files... ).

Kind regards,

FOI Officer
Freedom of Information
Department of Home Affairs
E: [Department of Home Affairs request email]

OFFICIAL

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FOI, Department of Home Affairs

2 Attachments

OFFICIAL

 

Good afternoon JM,

 

 

FOI request FA 21/02/00997

 

I refer to your FOI request received on 17 February 2021, seeking access
to the following:

Regarding document SB-20-000408 (16 November 2020, FA 20/09/01171, FA
20/09/01173) more specifically: Attachment A (Breakdown of Air and Sea
arrivals... etc), I am requesting under FOIA 1982 access to the original
document "Attachment A".

 

The Department has made a decision on this request. Please find attached
the decision record  and the document released under the FOI Act.

 

This request has now been closed.

 

 

Kind regards,

FOI Officer

Freedom of Information

FOI and Records Management Branch | Data Division

Strategy & Law Enforcement Group

Department of Home Affairs | Email: [1][Department of Home Affairs request email]

 

OFFICIAL

 

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We don't know whether the most recent response to this request contains information or not – if you are J M please sign in and let everyone know.