Request for mobile communications via mobile applications

Ben Fairless made this Freedom of Information request to Attorney-General's Department

The request was refused by Attorney-General's Department.

From: Ben Fairless

Delivered

Dear Attorney-General's Department,

Can you please provide a copy of all inbound and outbound chats in the 7 days prior to this request that was sent or received from the minister using any of the below applications:
- WhatsApp
- Facebook Messneger
- Signal
- Telegram
- Grindr
- Scruff
- Tinder
- Email Accounts without a .gov.au email address?

Please initially process these requests informally. I understand the AG advised the senate that the communications were "trivial" so I don't anticipate any exemptions being applied. If the request can't be processed informally, please treat it as a formal FOI request.

Yours faithfully,

Ben Fairless

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From: FOI Requests
Attorney-General's Department

UNCLASSIFIED
Dear Mr Fairless

I am emailing you to informally provide you with a decision about access to documents that you requested under the Freedom of Information Act 1982 (FOI Act). In your email of 28 October 2016, you asked that the department not treat your email as a formal FOI request unless necessary.

On 28 October 2016 you requested access to chat messages sent to or received from the Attorney-General via various applications. Specifically you sought access to:

‘a copy of all inbound and outbound chats in the 7 days prior to this request that was sent or received from the minister using any of the below applications:

- WhatsApp
- Facebook Messneger
- Signal
- Telegram
- Grindr
- Scruff
- Tinder
- Email Accounts without a .gov.au email address.’

I have identified that the Attorney-General’s Department has no documents that fall within the scope of your request.

I note that you made an identical request to the Attorney General on the same date. I confirm that your request has been brought to the attention of has been forwarded to the Attorney-General’s Office for their consideration.

Kind regards

Assistant Director
Freedom of Information and Privacy Section | Strategy and Delivery Division Attorney-General's Department | 3 - 5 National Circuit, Barton ACT 2600
*: [AGD request email]

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From: Attorney Correspondence
Attorney-General's Department


Attachment 201611211536.pdf
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UNCLASSIFIED

Dear Mr Fairless

 

Please find attached a letter from the Office of the Attorney-General
regarding an FOI request.

 

Regards

 

Andrew

 

 

Andrew Peters | Departmental Liaison Officer

Office of the Attorney-General

Leader of the Government in the Senate

T: +61 2 6277 7300

 

 

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From: Ben Fairless

Delivered

Dear Attorney Correspondence,

You have not requested an extension from me or the OAIC, which are requirements under the FOI Act for a request to remain valid. The request is taken to be refused under the Act.

Considering the Minister's slippery approach with the law especially with FOI, I have lodged an appeal against the deemed refusal from the Minister.

Yours sincerely,

Ben Fairless

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From: Attorney Correspondence
Attorney-General's Department


Attachment 201611231449.pdf
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UNCLASSIFIED

Dear Mr Fairless

 

Please find attached a letter which notifies you of a decision about your
FOI request.

 

Office of the Attorney-General

Leader of the Government in the Senate

Parliament House CANBERRA ACT 2600

T: 02 6277 7300 | F: 02 6273 4102

 

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From: Ben Fairless

Delivered

Dear Attorney Correspondence,

I refer to your letter sent 23 November. As your letter is almost identical to that of the Minister for Communications, I've responded with the same statement:

The process to determine if I have these apps installed on my mobile device took all of 5 minutes. This can be done (on an iPhone device) by acquiring the device, and swiping across each "home screen" on the device to determine if the relevant icon is present. With respect to the last item on my list, as the Minister's Chief of Staff, I would assume you know if the Minister uses a private email server to conduct Government business.

The reason you say this is unreasonable is because you would need to assess each and every message. I note the OAIC Guidelines state that "Poor record keeping or an inefficient filing system would not of themselves provide grounds for a claim that identifying or locating documents would be a substantial and unreasonable diversion of resources."

You have also not advised if the Minster A) uses any of the platforms listed or B) how many messages are there. If the Minister only used one of the platforms and sent 10 messages (for example) how in the world could this be considered an unreasonble diversion of resources?!

I'm confused about how I can limit the scope of my request. I've kept it to a very short time frame and limited the scope of applications. I also note that the Attorney-General says that communication would be "Unremarkable". Can you offer a suggestion about how this request can be narrowed?

Yours sincerely,

Ben Fairless

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Attorney-General's Department


Attachment ICR 1 7327293 344.pdf
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Form Submitted
You submitted a form called: FOI Review_.

Your form tracking code is: QY4GP28

Your submission reference number is: ICR_1-7327293-344

To check the progress of your submission and/or confirm it has been received you
should contact the agency that provides the form. Where available these details
may be displayed below. Alternatively the agency name is usually displayed on
the front page of the form or as part of the form logo.

Please see the attached PDF for a copy of your form submission.
Please do not reply to this email as it has been sent from an automated system
and replies are routed to an unmonitored mailbox. For further information
regarding your form please contact the relevant Government Agency:

Agency Name: Office of the Australian Information Commissioner

Agency URL: [1]www.oaic.gov.au

References

Visible links
1. file:///tmp/www.oaic.gov.au

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From: Enquiries

Our references: MR16/00524

 

 

Dear Mr Fairless

 

Your IC review application about Attorney-General's Department (AGO-FOI
2016/28)

 

Thank you for your correspondence seeking to lodge an IC review
application with the [1]Office of the Australian Information Commissioner
(the OAIC) about the Attorney-General's Department (AGD).

 

We have referred your correspondence to the OAIC’s FOI team for
consideration and assessment.

 

Please note:

 

o If the agency has made a decision on your request and you have not
already provided our office with a copy of the decision letter, please
reply to this email attaching a copy as soon as practicable.

 

o If the agency has not provided you with a decision on your request,
please reply to this email as soon as practicable attaching a copy of
your original freedom of information (FOI) request to the agency and
any correspondence received in response to your request.

 

o Please also reply to this email as soon as practicable advising if you
have submitted a request to the agency for internal review of its
decision and it has not yet provided you with an internal review
decision.

 

o Your application will be assessed and you will be advised by an IC
review officer of the next steps within the next four weeks.

 

o Your IC review application will be shared with the agency as part of
the IC review process unless you have specifically requested
otherwise.

 

o If your circumstances change, or your request has been resolved
directly with the agency, please advise us by email as soon as
practicable.

 

 

Should you wish to follow up on this matter, please contact the OAIC
enquiries line on 1300 363 992 or email [2][email address] and
quote the reference number at the top of this email.

 

 

Yours sincerely

 

Carl

Enquiries officer

Office of the Australian Information Commissioner

 

 

 

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References

Visible links
1. http://www.oaic.gov.au/
2. mailto:[email address]

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From: Ben Fairless

Delivered

Dear Enquiries,

The application was deemed refused under the Freedom of Information Act, however the decision maker has issued a Practical Refusal Notice. Technically, I presume my request is still refused however I've asked for further information on how I can reduce the scope.

Yours sincerely,

Ben Fairless

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From: Irene Nicolaou


Attachment image001.png
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OAIC reference: MR16/00524

Agency reference: AGO-FOI 2016/28

 

Mr Ben Fairless

By email: [1][FOI #2353 email]

 

 

Dear Mr Fairless

 

I write to you in relation to your request for IC review of a deemed
decision by the Office of the Attorney-General for access to documents
under the Freedom of Information Act 1982 (Cth).

 

Further to your email of 1 December 2016, can you please advise if a
decision has been provided to you by the Office of the Attorney-General?

 

If a decision has been provided can you please:

·         provide a copy of the decision to the OAIC

·         clarify whether you wish to withdraw or proceed with this
application for IC review by 12 January 2017; and

·         if you do wish to proceed with your application for IC review,
provide submissions in response to the decision of the Office of the
Attorney-General by 19 January 2017.

 

If you have any questions in relation to this email, please contact me on
02 9284 9605 or by return email to [2][email address] quoting
reference number MR16/00524.

 

Kind regards

 

Irene Nicolaou | Assistant Investigation and Review Officer | Freedom of
Information Dispute Resolution

Office of the Australian Information Commissioner

Level 3, 175 Pitt Street, SYDNEY NSW 2000

GPO Box 5128 SYDNEY NSW 2001| [3]www.oaic.gov.au

Phone:  +61 2 9284 9605 | E-mail: [4][email address]

 

Protecting information rights – advancing information policy

 

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References

Visible links
1. mailto:[FOI #2353 email]
2. mailto:[email address]
3. http://www.oaic.gov.au/
4. mailto:[email address]

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From: Ishani Jayaweera


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Our reference: MR16/00524

Agency reference: AGO-FOI 2016/28

 

Mr Ben Fairless

By email: [1][FOI #2353 email]

 

Dear Mr Fairless

 

I write to you in relation to your request for IC review of a deemed
decision by the Office of the Attorney-General for access to documents
under the Freedom of Information Act 1982 (Cth).

 

I wish to advise that I have been allocated as the case officer with
carriage for this IC review.

 

As requested in the correspondence below, can you please advise whether a
decision has been provided to you by the Office of the Attorney-General?
If so, can you please provide a response addressing the bullet points in
the email below?

 

If you have any questions, please contact me on the following details.  

 

Kind regards

Ishani  

 

Ishani Jayaweera | Review and Investigation Officer | FOI, Dispute
Resolution

Office of the Australian Information Commissioner

Level 3, 175 Pitt Street, SYDNEY NSW 2000

GPO Box 5218 SYDNEY NSW 2001| [2]www.oaic.gov.au

Phone:  +61 2 9284 9882| E-mail: [3][email address]

 

Protecting information rights – advancing information policy

[4]Description: Description: Description: Description: Description:
Description: Description: Description: Description:
cid:image001.jpg@01CD2C68.A6382250

From: Irene Nicolaou
Sent: Thursday, 5 January 2017 12:18 PM
To: '[FOI #2353 email]'
<[FOI #2353 email]>
Subject: MR16/00524 Your request for IC review [SEC=UNCLASSIFIED]

 

OAIC reference: MR16/00524

Agency reference: AGO-FOI 2016/28

 

Mr Ben Fairless

By email: [5][FOI #2353 email]

 

 

Dear Mr Fairless

 

I write to you in relation to your request for IC review of a deemed
decision by the Office of the Attorney-General for access to documents
under the Freedom of Information Act 1982 (Cth).

 

Further to your email of 1 December 2016, can you please advise if a
decision has been provided to you by the Office of the Attorney-General?

 

If a decision has been provided can you please:

·         provide a copy of the decision to the OAIC

·         clarify whether you wish to withdraw or proceed with this
application for IC review by 12 January 2017; and

·         if you do wish to proceed with your application for IC review,
provide submissions in response to the decision of the Office of the
Attorney-General by 19 January 2017.

 

If you have any questions in relation to this email, please contact me on
02 9284 9605 or by return email to [6][email address] quoting
reference number MR16/00524.

 

Kind regards

 

Irene Nicolaou | Assistant Investigation and Review Officer | Freedom of
Information Dispute Resolution

Office of the Australian Information Commissioner

Level 3, 175 Pitt Street, SYDNEY NSW 2000

GPO Box 5128 SYDNEY NSW 2001| [7]www.oaic.gov.au

Phone:  +61 2 9284 9605 | E-mail: [8][email address]

 

Protecting information rights – advancing information policy

 

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References

Visible links
1. mailto:[FOI #2353 email]
2. http://www.oaic.gov.au/
3. mailto:[email address]
5. mailto:[FOI #2353 email]
6. mailto:[email address]
7. http://www.oaic.gov.au/
8. mailto:[email address]

Link to this

From: Ben Fairless

Delivered

Dear Ishani,

All correspondence is available online at https://www.righttoknow.org.au/request/r....

The Attorney-General has advised that the processing of this request would take too long to process and invited me to consult. I have responded to these contentions which can be seen at the above link, however have yet to receive any response.

Yours sincerely,

Ben Fairless

Link to this

From: Ishani Jayaweera

Our reference: MR16/00524
Agency reference: AGO-FOI 2016/28

Dear Mr Fairless

I am writing to provide an update in relation to your application for IC review (MR16/00524).

From the correspondence on file, it appears that the Office of the Attorney General (OAG) issued a request consultation notice on 23 November 2016, and that you responded to this notice on 24 November 2016.

This office is currently conducting inquiries with the OAG to ascertain whether a substantive decision has been made on your request.

I will provide a further update in due course.

In the meantime, please feel free to contact me should you have any questions.

Kind regards
Ishani

Ishani Jayaweera | Review and Investigation Officer | FOI, Dispute Resolution
Office of the Australian Information Commissioner
Level 3, 175 Pitt Street, SYDNEY NSW 2000
GPO Box 5218 SYDNEY NSW 2001| www.oaic.gov.au
Phone: +61 2 9284 9882| E-mail: [email address]

Protecting information rights – advancing information policy

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Link to this

From: Attorney Correspondence
Attorney-General's Department


Attachment 201706151656.pdf
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UNCLASSIFIED

Dear Mr Fairless

 

Please see attached a letter regarding your freedom of information request
to the Attorney-General.

 

Regards

 

Office of the Attorney-General

Leader of the Government in the Senate

Parliament House CANBERRA ACT 2600

T: 02 6277 7300

 

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Locutus Sum left an annotation ()

This is a very strange and interesting request. Mr Fairless writes with a request to the department of the Attorney General (the "AGD"). AGD replies to explain that a practical refusal reason exists and invites Mr Fairless to remove the practical refusal reason. Mr Fairless replies (after only 1 day!) to ask what he can do to remove the practical refusal reason. The agency does not bother to reply.

Mr Fairless writes to the Information Commissioner about the request. Still the agency does not reply. After many months (?8 months), the agency writes to say that a practical refusal reason "still exists". They do not say that this is maybe because they did not bother to answer the question from Mr Fairless, "What can I do to remove the practical refusal reason"! The history of the request does, in my opinion, support the contention of Mr Fairless in his correspondence that the agency takes "a slippery approach to the law".

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Posty left an annotation ()

Hey Ben, did you get any further response from OAIC officially?

the AG's response is tripe that he's so precious that he can't be away from his phone for a moment to perform some cursory searches.

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Ben Fairless left an annotation ()

I don’t think I pursued this any further to be honest.

You’re welcome to make the same or similar request if you wanted ;)

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Things to do with this request

Anyone:
Attorney-General's Department only: