Request concerning possible future encryption illegality

Ralph Wiggum made this Freedom of Information request to Attorney-General's Department

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Dear Attorney-General's Department,

Could you please provide me with the latest documents that have discussed making any current or future encryption technologies illegal ?

If possible please treat this as an administrative/informal request and just send through the relevant documents or links. Otherwise proceed with my request as a formal information request under the Act.

Yours faithfully,

Ralph Wiggum

FOI Requests, Attorney-General's Department

For Official Use Only

Dear Mr Wiggum,

Freedom of Information Request FOI16/179 – Invalidity of request

I refer to your request made to the Attorney‑General’s Department (the
department) under the Freedom of Information Act 1982 (FOI Act) for
access to documents relating to encryption technologies. On 15 November
2016, you requested the following:

‘Could you please provide me with the latest documents that have
discussed making any current or future encryption technologies illegal’.


I can advise that this request does not meet the requirements of section
15 of the FOI Act.

Subsections 15(1) and (2) relevantly provide:

(1)   …a person who wishes to obtain access to a document of an agency
… may request access to the document

(2)   The request must …
(b) provide such information concerning the document as is reasonably
necessary to enable a responsible officer of the agency to identify it …


Your request does not provide sufficient information to allow an officer
of this department to identify a particular document or documents that
would fall within the scope of your request, because we are unable to
determine exactly what type of documents you are seeking, and as such we
are unable to determine what documents we should be looking to identify.
Therefore, your request as it stands does not satisfy the requirements of
a valid FOI Request and we are unable to process it.


It is open to you to submit a new FOI request that provides sufficient
clarity on the documents that you are seeking to access. In particular,
when making a new request you may like to consider the following, which
would assist in clarifying your request:

·         Can you identify the types of documents to which you seek
access (e.g. correspondence, research or advice)

·         What do you mean by ‘latest documents’ (e.g. can you
provide a date range)

·         Are you are seeking documents relating to particular people or
entities, or between particular correspondents?

·         What do you intend to cover by ‘encryption technologies’
(e.g. device-based encryption, encrypted stored information on the
encryption of communications in transit?)

·         What do you intend to cover by ‘illegal’ (e.g. illegal in
terms of Commonwealth law or the laws of other jurisdictions (including
foreign countries)?)


If you are able to clarify some or all of the above points, and you are
able to identify with greater specificity the documents or types of
documents you are seeking, the department will consider a revised request
from you.


If you have any questions, please contact department by telephone on
(02) 6141 6666 or by email [1][AGD request email].

Yours sincerely


FOI Case Manager

Freedom of Information and Privacy Section

Attorney‑General’s Department


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