Blocking of Government Emails

Jean James made this Freedom of Information request to Ministry of Justice

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The request was successful.

Dear Ministry of Justice AND the Data Access Department,

Thank you very much for your courteous, prompt and professional response to my FOI request here:
https://www.whatdotheyknow.com/request/e...

As you know, you requested that it be handled by email directly and you proceeded on my behalf.

From the information that I received directly from Mr. Binns by email and his verbal clarification, it became apparent that he had NEVER received emails directly from me. The ones that he had received had been forwarded to him from colleagues working in other departments. These people did not have justice.gov.uk in their email addresses.

Further investigations have revealed that my emails to anyone and everyone in the Ministry of Justice with the email suffix of justice.gov.uk are all blocked. Furthermore, there is now also a grave concern that my emails are blocked at ALL gov.uk addresses, as I have not received the usual receipt notices for emails sent for a very long time now - possibly well over a year.

More than anyone, the Ministry of Justice and the Data Access function will be aware that emails are public records and they are required to be kept by law. Public records should not be deleted as they are permanent records, and the blocking of emails sent to government is equivalent to deleting/destroying them.

I can advise you, while we are on the subject, that I and others have evidence of emails being deleted by the Ministry of Justice UPON RECEIPT AND WITHOUT BEING READ. We have the name of the person who has been doing it. This may be the same person who arranged for all of my correspondence to the Ministry of Justice to be blocked.

There was a fiasco a few years ago when Michael Gove's staff was caught deleting emails.

https://www.ft.com/content/f70db1e0-6458...

I would like to know, please:

(1) whether or the Data Access staff received my picture I.D. as requested for the previous FOI request linked above
(2) who set up the IT email system to block all my emails sent to @justice.gov.uk and perhaps to gov.uk
(3) who initiated it
(4) who authorised it
(5) the reason for blocking me from communicating with the Ministry of Justice
(6) if emails to other departments with gov.uk in the email address have also been blocked by the IT department or some other authority, please
(7) when my emails will be unblocked and I can communicate with the government as I am entitled to do

I look forward to hearing from you but it would seem that, if you want to communicate with me by email, you will have to arrange for the Ministry of Justice to unblock me. Otherwise, I shall expect your answer here, on this webpage within the prescribed 20 business days.

Will you please be so kind as to acknowledge this request by responding to this webpage.

Thank you very much in advance for your usual co-operation and professionalism.

Yours faithfully,

Jean James

Dear Ministry of Justice,

There seems to be a problem with all of Mr. Buckland's emails blocking me.

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Yours faithfully,

Jean James

Dear Ministry of Justice,

Will you please acknowledge receipt of this FOI request?

Thank you.

Yours faithfully,

Jean James

Dear Ministry of Justice,

Sir Robert Buckland's constituency office also blocks me. I think you might want to start with Sir Robert and Mr. Vincent Opok, Assistant to the Permanent Secretary, when commencing your enquiries. It might save you some time. Mr. Opok's position appears to involve reputation management and damage mitigation.

https://www.mirror.co.uk/news/politics/j...

As previously requested, please acknowledge my FOI.

Yours faithfully,

Jean James

Dear Ministry of Justice,

Please acknowledge this FOI request.

Yours faithfully,

Jean James

Disclosure Team, Ministry of Justice

Dear Ms James

I can confirm that we have received your request and the dead line for our response is the 7th July

Regards

Disclosure Team

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Dear Disclosure Team,

Thank you very much for responding and acknowledging.

Yours sincerely,

Jean James

Disclosure Team, Ministry of Justice

Dear Ms James,

Further to previous correspondence, we are preparing a full response to your request. As your request concerns, to a certain extent, your own personal information, releasing such personal information to the wider world under the Freedom of Information Act would not normally be appropriate; we have an obligation to restrict the processing/sharing of personal information and to safeguard your data protection rights.

I would be very grateful, therefore, if you could provide an alternative address other than What Do They Know. Full details will follow, but there is a problem with the domain previously used by you; if you could provide us with an email account using another domain, or a postal address we can then reply in full.

Yours sincerely,

Disclosure & Library Team, Information Services Division
Digital and Technology Directorate
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Dear Disclosure Team,

Please provide me with an email address to which I can reply.

As you know, I am blocked from using any email address ending in @justice.gov.uk, and I will not publish my private email address on this forum.

Yours sincerely,

Jean James

Dear Disclosure Team,

I think you will find that, when emails are blocked, it is the IP address of the sender that is blocked, and not the email address.

Please do not forget that Robert Buckland has blocked me at his constituency address too.

This is perversion of justice and has interfered with my work as an advocate for someone affected by injustice. Please just get your Ministry of Justice IT team to unblock me as it is totally unlawful.

Yours sincerely,

Jean James

Disclosure Team, Ministry of Justice

Dear Ms James.

I have been advised by our IT people that a domain was blocked as a whole; other domains are available.

We are making all efforts to reply in full to your enquiry, and to resolve the error.

Yours sincerely,

Disclosure & Library Team, Information Services Division
Security, Services and Information Governance Group
Find out more on People Finder
Follow us on Twitter @MoJGovUK

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Dear Disclosure Team,

Please confirm that you are saying the telus domain is blocked?

Are you saying that the IP address is not blocked?

Please advise what you mean by "other domains are available". What other domains are you referring to?

Yours sincerely,

Jean James

Disclosure Team, Ministry of Justice

Dear Ms James,

I have been advised by our IT team that the issue with the domain has been resolved; you may wish to test this by emailing this inbox- i.e. [MoJ request email] using your personal email account (i.e. not using What Do They Know). I have been advised the IP address was not blocked.

When I referred to other domains, I meant that anyone can set up an email account using a number of options; for example, a "hotmail" email account.

Yours sincerely

Disclosure & Library Team, Information Services Division
Security, Services and Information Governance Group
Find out more on People Finder
Follow us on Twitter @MoJGovUK

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Dear Disclosure Team,

Thank you for advising that the issue has been resolved.

However, I still need an answer to my FOI please. It is due today.

Yours sincerely,

Jean James

Dear Disclosure Team,

My emails remain blocked by Robert Buckland's constituency office, his @justice.gov.uk office, and Lucy Frazer's justice.gov.uk office.

There may be more and I still need my FOI answered please.

The blocking of domain names is shocking. It affects thousands of people. What if someone had decided to block @gmail.com?

Yours sincerely,

Jean James

Picot, Matt, Ministry of Justice

Dear Ms James,

As advised before, some of the information requested relates to you; as such, it is inappropriate to release it under FOIA via a public forum to the wider world. Your request is a subject access request under the Right of Access - Article 15(1) of GDPR. That is why we have asked for a private email account or postal address.

I can send the subject access request response to your telus email if you so instruct.

Yours sincerely,

Disclosure & Library Team, Information Services Division
Security, Services and Information Governance Group
Find out more on People Finder
Follow us on Twitter @MoJGovUK

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Dear Picot, Matt,

Yes, please do.

Yours sincerely,

Jean James

Dear Disclosure Team,

I have received your email.

You asked me to test the system.

Robert Buckland's ministry of justice email address blocks me and so does Lucy Frazers at the ministry of justice.

Will you please investigate and correct this?

Yours sincerely,

Jean James

Disclosure Team, Ministry of Justice

Dear Ms James

As we have stated as the what do they know account is open to the world and you are requesting your own personal information, you will need to provide an alternative email address before we can deal with your request.

Regards

Disclosure Team

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Dear Disclosure Team,

As you have sent me emails previously, you already have my email address. Please use that to reply.

Thank you.

Yours sincerely,

Jean James

Disclosure Team, Ministry of Justice

Dear Ms James,

Thank you for your email.

We would be unable to respond to another email address regarding your issue without being contact by that email address, or by having it confirmed which email address this is. This is because, without confirmation, there is a possibility that we contact the incorrect email address.

Our practice is to only use What Do They Know to respond to Freedom of Information (FOI) requests and any requests for an internal review, and not to engage in general correspondence. If you wish to further raise your concerns you will either need to contact our email address directly, as previously provided, or use the following contact form:

https://contact-moj.service.justice.gov....

Kind Regards,

Disclosure and MoJ Library Team
Information Services Division, Security Services and Information Governance Group (SSIGG)

Follow us on Twitter @MoJGovUK

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Jean James left an annotation ()

The Ministry of Justice advised that their "IT contractor" had been asked by a Ministry of Justice email user to block all emails coming from a certain domain name, and that neither my email address nor my IP had been targeted for blocking. They said that there was a complaint about spam coming from the same domain name as my email address (a major internet service provider) and, "due to a misunderstanding", the IT contractor blocked the whole domain from communicating with the MInistry of Justice. So everyone who tried to communicate by email using the same email domain name as myself had been blocked FOR AT LEAST TWO YEARS.

I find it very strange that an IT contractor would have made such a basic 'mistake' without questioning the complainer or thinking for himself/herself. Perhaps it is an indication of the quality of the contractor's work?

However, they have now fixed the problem and they did apologise, but damage has been done in terms of perversion of justice.

To those who never get replies from government, no matter how serious your issues are, I suggest you might like to use this forum to find out if and why your emails are being blocked, or if there is some other reason why you never get replies from various government departments.