Deletion

Dr Emma L Briant made this Freedom of Information request to University of Sheffield

This request has been closed to new correspondence. Contact us if you think it should be reopened.

The request was refused by University of Sheffield.

Dr Emma L Briant

Dear University of Sheffield,

A request was made on 25 September 2019 which was as follows:

“I am writing under the FOI Act to request all communication and documents relating to negotiation of a contract with Cambridge Analytica/Strategic Communication Laboratories (SCL) in 2016-17, including proposals, agreements, budget, any communications with the executive board or Public Affairs, PR and marketing teams at UoS. And also the dates, attendees and minutes of any meetings with the above mentioned companies please. Thank you for your assistance with this.”

To which you responded with incomplete information, in particular you confirmed that a key document was 'not retained' - therefore I am writing under the Freedom of Information Act to request all information and communications you hold regarding the deletion of the presentation or the decision to delete - including information about when this was done and who deleted the information and why.

Yours faithfully,

Dr Emma L Briant

Dear University of Sheffield,

I understand these are times of Covid, however, I have not even yet had an acknowledgement of my FOI request. Please could you respond as soon as possible. You are supposted to comply with the request within 20 days of receiving I believe.

Yours faithfully,

Dr Emma L Briant

Freedom Of Information, University of Sheffield

Good afternoon,

I write in relation to your FOI request dated 19^th June 2020.

Current request and history:

In the request you asked the following:

I am writing under the Freedom of Information Act to request all
information and communications you hold regarding the deletion of the
presentation or the decision to delete - including information about when
this was done and who deleted the information and why.

As stated in your email this is a follow up of your request dated 25^th
September 2019 which asked:

“I am writing under the FOI Act to request all communication and documents
relating to negotiation of a contract with Cambridge Analytica/Strategic
Communication Laboratories (SCL) in 2016-17, including proposals,
agreements, budget, any communications with the executive board or Public
Affairs, PR and marketing teams at UoS. And also the dates, attendees and
minutes of any meetings with the above mentioned companies please. Thank
you for your assistance with this.”

The request of the 25^th September was comprehensively answered with ‘no
information held’. You requested an internal review in to this decision
which was undertaken, you were dissatisfied with the review and
communicated this to the Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO) the
University responded to them with the same response provided to yourself
on multiple occasions, we do not hold the requested information.

There was correspondence between yourself and Matthew Zawadzki, during
November/December 2019, when you received the internal review response,
this correspondence again addressed your FOI question regarding The
University of Sheffield and Cambridge Analytica stating ‘no information
held’

Response to current request:

Your request is being refused under section 14 of the Freedom of
Information Act 2000 (FOIA 2000). In order to state a request in vexatious
the Information Commissioner’s Office provide 7 points that, if met,
warrant a request to be vexatious. Based on your initial request, internal
review, ICO correspondence and correspondence with the University I
believe 2 of the points are met and am able to refuse this request under
Section 14. Section 14 allows an organisation to take in to account a
requesters previous history and communications.

Unreasonable persistence - The requester is attempting to reopen an issue
which has already been comprehensively addressed by the public authority,
or otherwise subjected to some form of independent scrutiny. The
University of Sheffield has answered your question regarding Cambridge
Analytica stating we do not have the information that is requested. Your
current request still focuses on Cambridge Analytica, a point the
University of Sheffield has fully addressed. Your current request
demonstrates unreasonable persistence on a point that has been made on
three separate occasions, this is evidence of an attempt to open an issue
that has been comprehensively addressed. It has been addressed by the
University and the ICO who have independently scrutinised the handling and
the response to this request.

 

Intransigence - The requester takes an unreasonably entrenched position,
rejecting attempts to assist and advise out of hand and shows no
willingness to engage with the authority. As stated above the University
of Sheffield have comprehensively addressed your question regarding
Cambridge Analytica, and whilst I understand the frustration of a ‘no
information held’ response this does not detract from the accuracy of such
a response. You have become entrenched in your position that the
University does have the information you are seeking despite being advised
on numerous occasions that, regrettably, we do not.

Either one of unreasonable persistence or intransigence is enough to
refuse a request under section 14 FOIA 2000, I believe there is clear and
strong evidence that both of these are applicable in this case and as such
will be refusing your request.

Section 14 FOIA 2000 is applicable to your request rather than to you as
an individual. In respect of this the University of Sheffield will not be
providing any further responses to your communications where they relate
to, or we have reason to believe they relate to Cambridge Analytica in
anyway.

If you are dissatisfied with this response, please do contact the ICO and
they can address it with me directly.

Kind regards

Luke

Head of Data Protection & Legal Services

The University of Sheffield

 

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Dear Freedom Of Information,

This is a quite shocking response.

I am actually sending this as a separate FOI request to you as the Information Commissioner's Office explained to me that if I would like information about the deletion I need to send you a separate request. So I did. Nothing 'vexatious' about this.

Regarding the accusation that I have "no willingness to engage with the authority" ie University of Sheffield, I was trying to engage with you in our original exchange, for example requesting policies which you did not provide or reply to.

I have a right to complain to the ICO following my other request. And I have a right to file this separate request.

Yours sincerely,

Dr Emma L Briant

Luke Thompson, University of Sheffield

Good afternoon, 
As stated in my response, I can and have taken previous correspondence and
history in to account when responding to your request. Your latest request
from June 2020 has been deemed vexatious.
If you are dissatisfied with the response to your latest request please
speak with the ICO
kind regards 
Luke 

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