Wikipedia edits made by public servants

James Smith made this Freedom of Information request to Department of the Prime Minister and Cabinet

The request was refused by Department of the Prime Minister and Cabinet.

From: James Smith

Delivered

Dear Department of the Prime Minister and Cabinet,

I refer to the article in The Sydney Morning Herald 'Malcolm Turnbull's department buries 'urgent' review of offensive Wikipedia edits' at the following URL:

http://www.smh.com.au/federal-politics/p...

This is an FOI request for the following documents:

1. The resulting reports of findings from each of the Defence, Foreign Affairs and Trade, Health, Agriculture and Parliamentary Services departments.

2. Documents created by DPMC which may be considered results of the 'initial investigation' by DPMC.

Yours faithfully,

James Smith

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Locutus Sum left an annotation ()

Nice! If I had a Twitter account I would tweet this application.

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From: FOI
Department of the Prime Minister and Cabinet


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UNCLASSIFIED

FOI/2016/201

 

Dear Mr James Smith

 

Thank you for your email dated 22 November 2016, received by the
Department of the Prime Minister and Cabinet (the Department), in which
you made a request to the Department under the Freedom of Information Act
1982 (the FOI Act) in the following terms:

 

1.       The resulting reports of findings from each of the Defence,
Foreign Affairs and Trade, Health, Agriculture and Parliamentary Services
departments.

 

2.       Documents created by DPMC which may be considered results of the
‘initial investigation’ by DPMC.

 

Timeframe for receiving your decision

 

We received your request on 22 November 2016 and the 30 day statutory
period for processing your request commenced from the day after that date.
You should therefore expect a decision from us by 22 December 2016. The
period of 30 days may be extended in certain circumstances. We will advise
you if there is any extension of time.

 

Charges

 

Agencies may decide that an applicant is liable to pay a charge in respect
of a request for access to documents. If the Department decides that you
are liable to pay a charge, we will send you a preliminary assessment of
the charge as soon as possible.

 

Publication of documents

 

Please note that information released under the FOI Act may later be
published online on our disclosure log at
[1]http://www.dpmc.gov.au/pmc/accountabilit...,
subject to certain exceptions. If you think you might wish to raise any
objections to the publication of any of the information which may be
released to you please contact us by email at [2][DPMC request email].  If you
do wish to object to the publication of information, you would need to
provide supporting reasons.

 

Exclusion of officers’ names and contact details

 

For documents that fall within scope of the request, it is the
Department’s policy to withhold:

·         any person’s signature;

·         the names and contact details of Australian Public Service
officers not in the Senior Executive Service (SES);

·         the mobile or direct numbers of SES officers;

·         the names and contact details of Ministerial staff at a level
below Chief of Staff.

 

The names and other details of SES officers will not be withheld unless
there is some reason for that information to be exempt from release. If
you require signatures, the names and contact details of non-SES officers
or Ministerial staff below the level of Chief of Staff, or the mobile or
direct numbers of SES officers please let us know at [3][DPMC request email] so
the decision-maker may consider; otherwise we will take it that you agree
to that information being excluded from the scope of your request (that
is, the information will be treated as irrelevant and redacted from any
documents for release).

 

We will write again when the Department has more information. Further
information on FOI processing can be found at the website of the Office of
the Australian Information Commissioner at
[4]http://www.oaic.gov.au/foi-portal/about_....

 

Yours sincerely

 

FOI Adviser

Access and Administrative Review Section | Honours, Symbols and Legal
Policy Branch

Government Division | Department of the Prime Minister and Cabinet

p. 02 6271 5849

e. [5][DPMC request email]

[6]www.pmc.gov.au

PO Box 6500 CANBERRA ACT 2600

[7]Description: Description: Description: FOI design element

 

 

 

 

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References

Visible links
1. http://www.dpmc.gov.au/pmc/accountabilit...
2. mailto:[DPMC request email]
3. mailto:[DPMC request email]
4. http://www.oaic.gov.au/foi-portal/about_...
5. mailto:[DPMC request email]
6. http://www.pmc.gov.au/

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From: FOI
Department of the Prime Minister and Cabinet

UNCLASSIFIED

FOI/2016/201

 

Dear Mr Smith

 

I refer to your email of 22 November 2016 to the Department of the Prime
Minister and Cabinet (The Department) seeking access to documents under
the Freedom of Information Act 1982 (the Act) in the following terms:

 

I refer to the article in The Sydney Morning Herald 'Malcolm Turnbull's
department buries 'urgent' review of offensive Wikipedia edits' at the
following URL:

 

[1]http://www.smh.com.au/federal-politics/p...

 

This is an FOI request for the following documents:

 

1. The resulting reports of findings from each of the Defence, Foreign
Affairs and Trade, Health, Agriculture and Parliamentary Services
departments.

 

2. Documents created by DPMC which may be considered results of the
'initial investigation' by DPMC.

 

Notification of extension of processing period

 

The Department has formed the view that it is appropriate to consult
relevant third parties in respect of the possible disclosure of the
documents in accordance with sections 26A, 27 and 27A of the Act and,
under s 15(6) of the Act, the statutory period for processing an FOI
request is extended by 30 days in these situations. We advise that the
timeframe for processing this request has been extended by 30 days in
accordance with this provision and the date by which we must give you a
decision is now Tuesday 21 January 2017.

 

Kind regards, Debbie

 

FOI Adviser

Access and Administrative Review Section | Honours, Symbols and Legal
Policy Branch

Government Division | Department of the Prime Minister and Cabinet

p. 02 6271 5849 |e. [2][email address]

[3]www.dpmc.gov.au | [4]www.indigenous.gov.au

PO Box 6500 CANBERRA  ACT  2600

 

Please note that the Department of the Prime Minister and Cabinet will be
closed during its annual shutdown period from close of business 23
December 2016 through to 2 January 2017—the Department will re-open for
normal business from 3 January 2017.

 

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References

Visible links
1. http://www.smh.com.au/federal-politics/p...
2. mailto:[email address]
3. http://www.dpmc.gov.au/
4. http://www.indigenous.gov.au/

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From: FOI
Department of the Prime Minister and Cabinet

UNCLASSIFIED

Dear Mr Smith,

 

I’m writing in relation to your FOI request with the Department of the
Prime Minister and Cabinet—reference FOI/2016/201.

 

The due date for a decision on your request is 21 January 2017.
Regrettably, the Department will not be in a position to finalise the
decision on the FOI request before the due date due to various staff
members’ leave. Accordingly, we are seeking your consent to a 30 day
extension of time to the processing period, in accordance with section
15AA of the FOI Act. We will endeavour to notify you of the decision prior
to this extended date.

 

We kindly request you confirm your consent to the extension by way of
return email. If you are not inclined to agree to an extension of time, we
ask that you let us know as soon as possible so the decision-maker may
consider seeking an extension of time from the Office of the Australian
Information Commissioner, in accordance with section 15AB of the FOI Act.

 

Kind regards, Debbie

 

Debbie Arnold | Senior FOI Adviser

Access and Administrative Review Section | Honours, Symbols and Legal
Policy Branch

Government Division | Department of the Prime Minister and Cabinet

p. 02 6271 5849 |e. [1][email address]

[2]www.dpmc.gov.au | [3]www.indigenous.gov.au

PO Box 6500 CANBERRA  ACT  2600

 

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References

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

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From: James Smith

Delivered

Dear Debbie,

Thank you for your email.

Unfortunately I am unwilling to allow an extension on this occasion. As you know the department has already granted itself one 30 day extension.

Further, the department has a responsibility to ensure it meets its legal obligations and in my view the fact various employees are on leave is not an acceptable reason to give consideration to an extension.

Yours sincerely,

James Smith

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From: Irene Nicolaou


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Our reference: RQ17/00372

Agency reference: FOI/2016/201

 

Mr James Smith

 

By email: [1][FOI #2766 email]

 

Dear Mr Smith

Extension of time request under s15AC

On 23 January 2017, Department of the Prime Minister and Cabinet (the
Department) requested further time to make a decision on your FOI request
of 22 November 2016.

Section 15AC of the Freedom of Information Act 1982 (Cth) (the FOI Act)
allows the Information Commissioner to extend the processing time for an
FOI request where the initial decision period has ended and the agency or
Minister has not provided the applicant with notice of a decision. The
Department has advised this Office they have not made a decision in the
statutory time period. The FOI Act deems that your request has been
refused (deemed refusal).

 

As a delegate of the Information Commissioner, I am authorised to make
decisions on requests for extensions of time under s 15AC(5) of the FOI
Act. I have decided to grant the Department an extension of time to 20
February 2017 to process your request.

I note that this extension under s15AC of the FOI Act will mean that the
deemed refusal is taken never to have applied if the Department makes a
decision on your request by 20 February 2017.

 

Such an extension can only be granted once and cannot be extended by a
variation. This extension under s15AC of the FOI Act means the Department
cannot reimpose a charge.

 

If you would like to discuss this matter I can be contacted on 1300 363
992 or email [email address]. Please quote the reference number
RQ17/00372.

 

Yours sincerely

 

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| [2]www.oaic.gov.au

Phone:  1300 363 992 | E-mail: [3][email address]

 

Protecting information rights – advancing information policy

 

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References

Visible links
1. mailto:[FOI #2766 email]
2. http://www.oaic.gov.au/
3. mailto:[email address]

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From: FOI
Department of the Prime Minister and Cabinet


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Attachment FOI 2016 201 Decision Package.pdf
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UNCLASSIFIED

Dear Mr Smith

 

Please find attached correspondence relating to your FOI request with the
Department of the Prime Minister and Cabinet – ref: FOI/2016/201.

 

Kind regards

 

FOI Adviser

Access and Administrative Review Section | Honours, Symbols and Legal
Policy Branch

Government Division | Department of the Prime Minister and Cabinet

p. 02 6271 5849

e. [1][DPMC request email]

[2]www.pmc.gov.au

PO Box 6500 CANBERRA ACT 2600

[3]Description: Description: Description: FOI design element

 

 

 

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References

Visible links
1. mailto:[DPMC request email]
2. http://www.pmc.gov.au/

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From: James Smith

Delivered

Dear Department of the Prime Minister and Cabinet,

Please pass this on to the person who conducts Freedom of Information reviews.

I am writing to request an internal review of Department of the Prime Minister and Cabinet's handling of my FOI request 'Wikipedia edits made by public servants'.

A full history of my FOI request and all correspondence is available on the Internet at this address: https://www.righttoknow.org.au/request/w...

Yours faithfully,

James Smith

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William Summers left an annotation ()

This departmental response is desperate.

S37 is specifically about breaches of the law: none have been suggested in this case, at least not publicly, and even if it applied to some edits it certainly wouldn't apply to many.

S47 deals specifically with official methods for tests and examinations, not for ad hoc departmental investigations into Wikipedia changes.

You'll have to argue the case on each exemption though, at least when it gets to Info Commissioner stage.

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Bill Tarte left an annotation ()

Even if it is about the methods to investigate IT use in secure networks the APS does nothing special. The methods would be the same as any professional would advise or 30mins of googling would suggest you should do.

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From: FOI
Department of the Prime Minister and Cabinet


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Attachment FOI 2016 201 Internal Review decision package.pdf
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UNCLASSIFIED

Dear Mr Smith

 

Please find attached correspondence relating to internal review of the
Freedom of Information request with the Department of the Prime Minister
and Cabinet – ref: FOI/2016/201.

 

Kind regards

 

FOI Adviser

Access and Administrative Review Section | Honours, Symbols and Legal
Policy Branch

Government Division | Department of the Prime Minister and Cabinet

p. 02 6271 5849

e. [1][DPMC request email]

[2]www.pmc.gov.au

PO Box 6500 CANBERRA ACT 2600

[3]Description: Description: Description: FOI design element

 

show quoted sections

References

Visible links
1. mailto:[DPMC request email]
2. http://www.pmc.gov.au/

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William Summers left an annotation ()

Is the requester going to take this any further with a complaint to the Info Commissioner?

The grounds for withholding are very weak.

I am not sure s37 even applies to internal investigations (it specifically applies "where an agency has a function connected with investigating breaches of the law, its enforcement or administration" - not the case for here https://www.oaic.gov.au/freedom-of-infor...

s47e needs them to specifically say how it would change the operations of the department 'substantially'. Again, not applicable. https://www.oaic.gov.au/freedom-of-infor...

But you would need to argue the case with any review otherwise it lets them off the hook. (I would be willing to help).

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Things to do with this request

Anyone:
Department of the Prime Minister and Cabinet only: