5.11, 102 Petty France
London SW1H 9AJ
Mr N Heath
Freedom of Information Request
Dear Mr Heath,
Thank you for your email dated 5 May 2015 in which you asked for the following
information from the Ministry of Justice (MoJ):
In your department:
1. How many computers are still running Windows XP?
2. When do you anticipate you will transition all of these XP machines to a
new operating system?
3. Which operating system are you switching these machines to?
4. What parts of the department are these machines mainly used in?
5. How are you securing the XP machines in the interim period before their
operating system is replaced?
6. Have you taken out an Extended Support deal with Microsoft to update
these XP machines?
7. What is the cost of this Extended Support deal?
8. When does this Extended Support deal expire?
Your request is being handled under the Freedom of Information Act 2000 (FOIA).
I can confirm that the MoJ does hold the information, but that we are not obliged to
provide the information if its release would prejudice law enforcement. By releasing this
information we believe that disclosure may make MoJ systems vulnerable to interference
and potentially assist criminal activity.
As a result, I am withholding release of this information under section 31(1) a (prevention
of crime) of FOIA (please see explanatory notes at the end of this letter).
We have considered whether it would be in the public interest for us to disclose the
information. In this case, we have concluded that the public interest favours not
disclosing. When assessing whether or not it was in the public interest to disclose, we
took into consideration the following arguments: Public interest considerations in favour of disclosure – s.31:
Disclosure of the information would be consistent with policies for greater
transparency about the uses of, and accountability for, public expenditure.
It is also in the public interest to know that a public authority has measures in
place to protect information in their possession. Public interest considerations against disclosure – s.31:
Disclosure of this information could provide information which can be used
maliciously in a targeted electronic attack against our systems.
Disclosure of information may make MoJ systems vulnerable to interference and
potentially assist criminal activity.
Attempts to breach the security of Government IT systems could lead to a loss of
confidentiality, integrity and potential availability of information on an ICT system.
Consequences of potential security breaches may include some or all of the following:
malfunction of software
breaches of physical security arrangements;
theft or loss of software;
misuse of software;
use of unauthorised or unlicensed software;
uncontrolled system changes;
theft or loss of data;
malicious software (e.g. computer virus);
wilful damage to information;
loss of service;
system malfunctions or overloads;
unauthorised use of a computer;
unauthorised amendment of information or software held on a computer;
unauthorised disclosure of information;
non-compliance with policies or guidelines;
You can find out more about information held for the purposes of the Act by reading
some guidance points we consider when processing a request for information, attached
at the end of this letter.
You can also find more information by reading the full text of the Act, available at http://www.legislation.gov.uk/ukpga/2000/36/contents.
You have the right to appeal our decision if you think it is incorrect. Details can be found
in the ‘How to Appeal’ section attached at the end of this letter.
You can also view information that the Ministry of Justice has disclosed in response to
previous Freedom of Information requests. Responses are anonymised and published
on our on-line disclosure log which can be found on the MoJ website:
Yours sincerely B McGhee
How to Appeal
If you are not satisfied with this response, you have the right to an internal review. The
handling of your request will be looked at by someone who was not responsible for the
original case, and they will make a decision as to whether we answered your request
If you would like to request a review, please write or send an email within two months
of the date of this letter
to the Data Access and Compliance Unit at the following
Data Access and Compliance Unit (10.34),
Information & Communications Directorate,
Ministry of Justice,
102 Petty France,
Information Commissioner’s Office
If you remain dissatisfied after an internal review decision, you have the right to apply to
the Information Commissioner’s Office. The Commissioner is an independent regulator
who has the power to direct us to respond to your request differently, if he considers that
we have handled it incorrectly.
You can contact the Information Commissioner’s Office at the following address:
Information Commissioner’s Office,
Internet address: http://www.ico.org.uk/
EXPLANATION OF FOIA – SECTION 31
We have provided below additional information about Section 31 of the Freedom of
Information Act. We have included some extracts from the legislation, as well as some of
the guidance we use when applying it. We hope you find this information useful.
The legislation Section 1: Right of Access to information held by public authorities
(1) Any person making a request for information to a public authority is entitled—
to be informed in writing by the public authority whether it holds
information of the description specified in the request, and
if that is the case, to have that information communicated to him.
Section 31: Law Enforcement
(1) Information which is not exempt information by virtue of section 30 is exempt
information if its disclosure under this Act would, or would be likely to, prejudice—
the prevention or detection of crime,
the apprehension or prosecution of offenders,
the administration of justice,
the assessment or collection of any tax or duty or of any imposition of a
the operation of the immigration controls,
the maintenance of security and good order in prisons or in other
institutions where persons are lawfully detained,
the exercise by any public authority of its functions for any of the
purposes specified in subsection (2),
any civil proceedings which are brought by or on behalf of a public
authority and arise out of an investigation conducted, for any of the purposes
specified in subsection (2), by or on behalf of the authority by virtue of Her
Majesty’s prerogative or by virtue of powers conferred by or under an enactment,
any inquiry held under the Fatal Accidents and Sudden Deaths Inquiries
(Scotland) Act 1976 to the extent that the inquiry arises out of an investigation
conducted, for any of the purposes specified in subsection (2), by or on behalf of
the authority by virtue of Her Majesty’s prerogative or by virtue of powers
conferred by or under an enactment.
(2) The purposes referred to in subsection (1)(g) to (i) are—
the purpose of ascertaining whether any person has failed to comply with
the purpose of ascertaining whether any person is responsible for any
conduct which is improper,
the purpose of ascertaining whether circumstances which would justify
regulatory action in pursuance of any enactment exist or may arise,
the purpose of ascertaining a person’s fitness or competence in relation o
the management of bodies corporate or in relation to any profession or other
activity which he is, or seeks to become, authorised to carry on,
the purpose of ascertaining the cause of an accident,
the purpose of protecting charities against misconduct or
mismanagement (whether by trustees or other persons) in their administration,
the purpose of protecting the property of charities from loss or
the purpose of recovering the property of charities,
the purpose of securing the health, safety and welfare of persons at work,
the purpose of protecting persons other than persons at work against risk
to health or safety arising out of or in connection with the actions of persons at
(3) The duty to confirm or deny does not arise if, or to the extent that, compliance with
section 1(1)(a) would, or would be likely to, prejudice any of the matters mentioned in
subsection (1). Guidance
Section 31 is concerned with protecting a wide range of law enforcement interests and
its application turns on whether disclosure would be likely to prejudice those interests.
Some interests that are protected by section 31 are drawn quite widely, for example: the
administration of justice, the prevention or detection of crime and the operation of
immigration controls. But section 31 also applies where the exercise by any public
authority of certain specified functions would be prejudiced by disclosure.