Programming languages and publicly available source code at BOM

Fraser Tweedale made this Freedom of Information request to Bureau of Meteorology

The request was partially successful.

From: Fraser Tweedale

Delivered

Dear Bureau of Meteorology,

I request the following information under the Freedom of Information Act 1982

(1). Any documents detailing the software programming languages used by particular projects or initiatives of BOM.

(2). Any documents listing or mentioning software programs or libraries developed by or in conjunction with BOM, the source code of which has been made publicly available (whether or not the code was released under a recognised Free Software or Open Source license).

I recognise that it may be necessary to redact or omit documents in relation to projects that have not been publicly announced. This is acceptable, but in the event that this occurs, I further request:

(3). Any documents detailing the number of projects (and if possible the languages they are using) removed from the scope of part (1) of this request due to the project not having been publicly announced, including documents produced during the execution of this request.

I recognise that it may be necessary to redact or omit documents in relation to publicly announced projects of a highly sensitive nature. This is acceptable, but in the event that this occurs, I further request:

(4). Any documents listing the names of the projects removed from the scope of part (1) of this request due to the project being of a highly sensitive nature, including documents produced during the execution of this request.

Yours faithfully,

Fraser Tweedale

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From: FOI
Bureau of Meteorology

Our ref: FOI30/6008

To: Fraser Tweedale
By email: [FOI #3722 email]

Dear Mr Tweedale

Freedom of Information Request 30/6008: Bureau Software

I am writing to acknowledge receipt of your request for access to documents under the Freedom of Information Act 1982 (Cth) (‘the Act’). We received your request by email on 12 July 2017.

Scope of your request
You have requested access to a broad range of material. It is possible that the Bureau may need to contact you to discuss the scope of your request. The Bureau will begin the document search process in order to assess whether the scope of your request would substantially and unreasonably divert the resources of the Bureau away from its other operations. If that is the case, we will consult with you to agree upon a scope that can be fulfilled, in accordance with ss 24AA and 24AB of the Act. Are you able to provide a contact telephone number?

Agreement to exclude material
Thank you for setting out that you agree to exclude documents in relation to projects that have not been publicly announced. The Bureau also seeks your agreement to remove the names and direct contact details of officers of the Bureau and any third parties, where that personal information is contained in documents within scope of your request. The position titles will generally be released. Please confirm that you agree to the removal of this information.

Timeframe for dealing with your request
As indicated above, this is a large request by Bureau standards, and it may be necessary to seek further clarification from you regarding the scope of the information requested. It may also be necessary for us to extend the processing time for dealing with your request. The Act provides a 30-day statutory timeframe for dealing with this request. Section 15AA of the FOI Act provides for an extension of time by 30 days with the agreement of the applicant. Could you please advise whether you agree to an extension of 30 days?
If you agree to the extension, the due date for a decision on your request will be 11 September 2017.

I look forward to hearing from you in regard to the above.

Kind regards,
Erin

FOI & Privacy Officer

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From: Fraser Tweedale

Delivered

Dear Erin,

Thank you for acknowledging receipt of the request.

Regarding further consultation on the scope of the request, I would prefer all communication
regarding my request to take place through Right To Know (i.e. via email, as is currently
occurring).

Regarding redaction of names and contact information: I agree to this.

Regarding your request for a 30 day extension: I agree to this.

Yours sincerely,

Fraser Tweedale

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From: FOI
Bureau of Meteorology

Thanks for your prompt reply, Fraser.

Thank you for agreeing to the extension, the due date for a decision in your matter is now 11 September 2017.

We will be in contact with you in the coming weeks in regard to the scope of your request - if you are happy to discuss with us directly but would prefer not to provide a phone number, we can arrange a day and time suitable to you to call us. Just thought I would let you know that this is also an option, as we generally find it more useful to all parties if any changes to scope can be dealt with via discussion rather than in writing. It's up to you, just wanted to provide you both options.

Kind regards,
Erin

FOI & Privacy Officer

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From: Erin MacLatchy
Bureau of Meteorology


Attachment image001.jpg
6K Download


Dear Fraser

 

I write in regard to your Freedom of Information (FOI) request for
Programming languages and publicly available source code at BOM.

 

Your request

We have undertaken initial steps to begin searching for documents within
the scope of your FOI request. Based on an assessment of your request, it
appears to relate to a large number of documents as the scope of your
request is quite broad. Would you be happy to focus your request on
projects undertaken in the last 12 months?

 

Revising the scope in this way would assist the Bureau to fulfil your
request.

 

Provision of the FOI Act

The FOI Act contains provisions for a formal request consultation process
to take place between the agency and applicant in cases where the scope of
the request is broad and would substantially and unreasonably divert the
resources of an agency  (ss 24AA and 24AB). The request consultation
process is designed to revise the scope of broad requests so that it is
practical for the requests to be completed. Before entering into a formal
consultation request process, the Bureau is seeking your agreement to
revise the  scope.

 

I look forward to hearing from you.

 

Kind regards,

Erin

FOI & Privacy Officer

 

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GPO Box 1289 Melbourne VIC 3001
Level 7 (North West), 700 Collins Street, Docklands VIC 3008

Tel: +61 3 9616 8428 | [2][email address]
[3]www.bom.gov.au

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From: Fraser Tweedale

Delivered

Dear Ms MacLatchy,

Could you please clarify the meaning of "projects undertaken in the last 12 months"?
Does this include projects active within the last 12 months that were started more than
12 months ago?

If so, I am happy to limit my request to this scope.

Yours sincerely,

Fraser Tweedale

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From: FOI
Bureau of Meteorology

Dear Fraser

Yes it will include projects active within the last 12 months. Thank you for your prompt response and for agreeing to this revision in the scope of your request.

In order to make the terms of your request clear, I have a few more questions for you:
1. Are you essentially interested in knowing, during the past 12 months:
a) which software programming languages were used in Bureau projects; and
b) whether there were any software programs or libraries developed by or in conjunction with BOM, the source code of which has been made publicly available?

2. If that is the information that you are seeking, would you agree to have this information provided to you in a list or table format that we put together specifically in response to your request? This may assist us to respond to your query promptly.

As indicated in my email to you yesterday, the scope of your request is quite broad and it may not be practical to fulfil, so I am interested in working with you to identify a revised scope which is able to be filled. I may have some further questions for you in this regard, but I look forward to your response to the above items at this stage.

If you would prefer to discuss the options by telephone, please let me know a number and time that suits you and I can arrange to call or have you call me on the number below.

Kind regards,
Erin

FOI & Privacy Officer
Tel: +61 3 9616 8428

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From: Fraser Tweedale

Delivered

Dear Erin,

Thank you for your correspondence. In response to your questions:

1.a) Correct;

1.b) Not only whether there were such projects, but also the names of those projects;

2.) An agency is not required to bring a document into existence to satisfy an FOI request but if
it suits the Bureau to do so, I am happy for the information to be provided in list or table format.

Yours sincerely,

Fraser Tweedale

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From: FOI
Bureau of Meteorology


Attachment FOI30 6008 20170912 ResponseDocument.pdf
98K Download View as HTML


Dear Fraser

The Bureau has prepared the attached document in response to your queries about the Bureau's use of software programming languages.

As previously identified in our earlier correspondence with you, your original request covered a broad scope and we thank you for agreeing to revise the terms.

Can you please confirm that you agree to withdraw your formal FOI request?

Kind regards,
Erin

FOI Officer
Tel: +61 3 9616 8428

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From: Fraser Tweedale

Delivered

Dear Erin,

Thank you for your efforts in discharging the essence of my request to the extent possible.
I withdraw my formal request.

Yours sincerely,

Fraser Tweedale

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From: FOI
Bureau of Meteorology

Thanks for confirming, Fraser.

Kind regards,
Erin

FOI & Privacy Officer

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Verity Pane left an annotation ()

This is one of the few practical refusal consultations that I have seen, that was actually handled in reasonable accordance with the spirit and letter of the FOI Act, and which left a satisfied applicant at the end.

Well done Erin, if only other agencies had sensible responses like this!

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