MyGov Website

Geordie Guy made this Freedom of Information request to Department of Human Services

The request was refused by Department of Human Services.

From: Geordie Guy

Delivered

Dear Department of Human Services,

I am writing to request under the Freedom of Information Act, a copy of the source code for the MyGov web application.

Yours faithfully,

Geordie Guy

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From: FOI.LEGAL.TEAM
Department of Human Services


Attachment Acknowledgement letter LEX 9353.pdf
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Dear Mr Guy,

 

Please find attached correspondence relating to your request for documents
under the Freedom of Information Act 1982.

 

Regards

 

Julian Russell

Government Lawyer

FOI and Information Release Branch | Legal Services Division

Department of Human Services

This email and any attachments may contain information subject to legal
professional privilege or information that is otherwise sensitive or
confidential. If you are not the intended recipient of this email, you are
prohibited from using or disseminating this communication. If you have
received this communication in error please notify the sender immediately
and permanently delete this email.

 

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From: FOI.LEGAL.TEAM
Department of Human Services


Attachment LEX 9353 Practical refusal notice.pdf
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Dear Mr Guy,

Please find attached correspondence regarding your request for documents
under the Freedom of Information Act 1982.

 

Kind regards,

 

Julian Russell

Government Lawyer

FOI and Information Release Branch

Legal Services Division

Department of Human Services

 

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Michael Cordover left an annotation ()

I would consider asking for further assistance to revise the scope of your request. Specifically:

* can you be given a list of files contained in the source code repository? This might enable you to narrow your request.

* make clear that you'd like the code in electronic form exported from the repository, not "reproduced in written form" (not sure what that means, but that it involves pagination is a worry).

* are there any files or parts of the repository which wouldn't require considering exemptions, for example public assets, static pages, templates or documentation?

* would it be helpful to exclude from the request third party libraries and other documents which may require external consultation?

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From: Geordie Guy

Delivered

Dear Mr Russell,

Thank you for your correspondence on the 28th.

You have outlined that you intend to refuse my request for the MyGov source code under section 24AA(1)(a)(i) of the act. I'd like to revise that request under 24AB, or at the very least clarify my request such that it is better apparent how difficult it is to service.

In points 7 and 8 of your letter you assert that the code is stored in electronic form only and to reproduce it in written form would exceed 20,000 pages of information. I would like to clarify that I don't want or need access to it on pages of any sort, in fact I'm broadly unaware of any circumstances where source code is stored on pages or produced in pages for any useful purpose other than perhaps in text books or other educational material. Producing the code as computer files or indeed a single compressed file would be quite sufficient and indeed the normal way to provide the information. There is no sensible reason to think that doing this would divert the resources and time of the department; copying and pasting a file on a computer is not commonly held to be arduous.

You go on to assert that a decision-maker could not uniformly apply a decision on the code in its entirety and I'm inclined to agree, this should however not be necessary. Source code is produced by developers in named modules, with each piece of code within a module, each serving a particular purpose to the main module and to the application overall. The scope of my request is for those code modules (likely to be an overwhelming majority with only a few obvious exceptions) which are not or even not likely to be exempt under the act for the reasons the act sets out.

As an example, source code may contain 10,000 lines of code in a module named Provide_Centrelink_Customer_Bank_Details, with the contents of the module enclosed in parenthesis or some other grouping marker depending on the programming language used. In this example it is not necessary for anybody to evaluate 10,000 lines of code to determine their technical function or FOI exemption status - the name of the module clearly indicates that is is unsuitable for release.

It would seem that in your consultations with the Online Services Branch they have painted a particularly foreboding picture of how computer code is stored and handled. This is dramatically unlikely to be accurate, at least in how it informs your decision to release or refuse the information. With the assurances that I am not seeking any information that is contentious and poses a risk to privacy or security, it should be entirely unnecessary to review 20,000 pages of computer programming line-by-line for technical and legal status - rather it should be a much simpler matter of reviewing the documentation that exists alongside the code to determine which named modules represent which application purpose, and releasing those which are safe and in the public's interest to do so.

If you would like to seek any further clarification or information to assist you I am happy to assist.

Yours sincerely,

Geordie Guy

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From: FOI.LEGAL.TEAM
Department of Human Services


Attachment LEX 9353 Decision letter.pdf
215K Download View as HTML


Dear Mr Guy,

 

Please find attached correspondence relating to your request for documents
under the Freedom of Information Act 1982.

 

Regards

 

Julian Russell

Government Lawyer

FOI and Information Release Branch | Legal Services Division

Department of Human Services

This email and any attachments may contain information subject to legal
professional privilege or information that is otherwise sensitive or
confidential. If you are not the intended recipient of this email, you are
prohibited from using or disseminating this communication. If you have
received this communication in error please notify the sender immediately
and permanently delete this email.

 

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Things to do with this request

Anyone:
Department of Human Services only: