Disclosure of information gathered from your investigations for the the last thirty reports of interference from PLT devices

Mark Salter made this Freedom of Information request to Office of Communications

This request has been closed to new correspondence from the public body. Contact us if you think it ought be re-opened.

The request was successful.

Dear Office of Communications,

Due to the continued significant radio spectrum pollution already causing problems both in the UK and overseas could Ofcom please respond expeditiously and in full to the following questions concerning the most recent thirty cases involving Power Line Technology (PLT).

For the number of cases indicated, please supply full and complete details and documentation of the following from each case:-

1. The case reference and date raised.

2. Precise details of the radio spectrum reportedly affected.

3. Where multiple sources were reported or identified, please state the total number of sources determined from your investigation.

4. Whether all identified sources of intereference were
removed/resolved.

5. Precise details of the make(s) and model(s) of PLT or other equipment determined to be causing intereference.

6. Precise details of the radio spectrum range used by the equipment as determined during your investigation. Where this is not known, please state the reason this
detail was not determined.

7. For those cases in point 4 above where devices were left interfering, please provide a synopsis of the reason the the interference was not removed, please include the case status.

I trust this reduce of scope is acceptable to you and that you will be able to now disclose the information requested. Should the reduction in scope not be acceptable then please let me know by return.

Yours faithfully,

Mark Salter

Dear Office of Communications,

On 1 July 2011, Mr Graham Howell wrote:-

http://www.whatdotheyknow.com/request/of...

"
Dear Mr. Salter,
We are pulling together the information you have requested on the 30 most recent cases and will have that for you next week.
On your request for an internal review I am not clear what information you believe we have withheld from you as I believe that all the information that we are able to supply has been supplied to you.
Yours sincerely,
Graham Howell.
"

This email address should be considered the return address for all future responses to this request:-

http://www.whatdotheyknow.com/request/di...

I would like to thank you for the notice that the case data will be available next week.

Yours faithfully,

Mark Salter

Information Requests, Office of Communications

2 Attachments

Dear Mr Salter

Please see correspondence attached.

Yours sincerely

Eleanor Berg

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Dear Information Requests,

I would like to ask for a quick revisit of this response please. In my request I asked for the "most recent thirty cases involving Power Line Technology (PLT)". Although the majority of cases given do involve PLT, some only reference PLT/A as the "alleged source" and some disclosed were ascertained *not* to be PLT at all and therefore fall outside the scope of this request.

So, please may I have the information requested for the thirty most recent cases involving PLT, not cases that include the word, but where your investigations determined that PLT was present, interfering and thus involved.

Please can you also provide the information requested in points 3 through 7 of my request; which appear to currently be missing.

Yours sincerely,

Mark Salter

Dear Office of Communications,

Can you please acknowledge that my follow-up and request for the missing information :-

http://www.whatdotheyknow.com/request/di...

has been received?

Yours faithfully,

Mark Salter

Information Requests, Office of Communications

Dear Mr Salter

Thank you for your email.

I can confirm that we received your request on 6 July and will respond in due course.

Your sincerely

Eleanor Berg

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Eleanor Berg, Office of Communications

1 Attachment

Dear Mr Salter

Please find correspondence attached.

Yours sincerely

Eleanor Berg

:: Eleanor Berg
Information Requests

[1][Ofcom request email]

:: Ofcom
Riverside House
2a Southwark Bridge Road
London SE1 9HA
020 7981 3000
[2]www.ofcom.org.uk

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Dear Eleanor Berg,

Thank you for your response.

I would like to request an internal review of the responses given, with consideration and response for the following items.

1. The original response completely ignored my requests for information numbered 3, 4, 5, 7.

2. You state that "The information that Ofcom holds has been provided to you in our original response." although then you also state that "Therefore to provide you with any further relating to determine whether...". These statements are contradictory.

3. To extract case information from such a small number of cases should not be considered "manifestly unreasonable". Simply satisfying the records management guidance of the Lord Chancellor should provide your department the ability to access this information to meet the needs of the FOIA and EIR; as your records management does not appear to meet the Lord Chancellor's guidance then the process of collection, collation and storage must need urgent revision and correction.

4. Cost (or time) is not a measure of 'manifestly unreasonable'. For a request to be considered 'manifestly unreasonable' it must be obviously so - this request for information - your department must be gathering to correctly identify, investigate interference - is not unreasonable.

Yours sincerely,

Mark Salter

Dear Office of Communications,

In addition to the points/reasons previously provided, please also include:-

5. The redaction of case numbers. You state in the original response that :-

"
Please note that the case reference numbers have been redacted under Regulation 13 of EIR. This has been done on the basis that case numbers have been published on the internet and the disclosure may indirectly and inadvertently result in the unauthorised
discourse of personal data
"

If case numbers have already been published, and the information given in your response to my request are redacted, then how would personal data be compromised?

Yours faithfully,

Mark Salter

Graham Howell, Office of Communications

1 Attachment

Dear Mr. Salter,
Please see my letter to you attached.
Yours sincerely,
Graham Howell

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This email has been scanned by the MessageLabs Email Security System.
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______________________________________________________________________

Dear Graham Howell,

I will raise this request and Ofcom's handling of it with the ICO.

Yours sincerely,

Mark Salter

Mark Salter left an annotation ()

The ICO have been really helpful and in letting their processes run, it looks like there might yet be a satisfactory outcome.

I will still keep my fingers crossed though and I will provide links here once their decision notice has been issued.

Mark Salter left an annotation ()

Update

Decision notice with the ICO's "Head of Policy Delivery department" for checking and hopefully signature and issuance.

Fingers still crossed!

Dear Jonathan Pillinger-Cork,

As indicated here:-

http://www.whatdotheyknow.com/request/of...

The correct return address for the case evidence of PLT generated interference to radio devices is the email address on this reply.

Could you please send the zipped report interference to this email as well please. It is the correct return address for the data you have released today.

Thank you for your time.

Yours sincerely,

Mark Salter

Mark Salter left an annotation ()

Update...

... now the ICO decision is imminent (and in favour of disclosure), Ofcom have decided to release the data requested (not checked yet).

Unfortunately to the incorrect return address though.

I have requested they reply again but *here* this time, but for now this is where the data is:-

http://www.whatdotheyknow.com/request/of...

Checking the data really does fulfill the request now...

Dear Information Requests,

It has been almost 15 complete working days since the incorrect response - that included one non-plt case and the personal addresses of two users of PLT - was provided to the wrong return address.

Can you please provide an indication of when the response will be correctly given to *this* return address.
You will be aware that on the 10th February your office indicated that the properly redacted and complete response would be given 'as soon as possible'.

Yours sincerely,

Mark Salter

Information Requests, Office of Communications

1 Attachment

Dear Mr Salter

Thank you for your email.

Please find attached the 30 most recent cases in which PLT was found to be the source of the reported interference. You also requested an ‘internal review’, whilst we are not required to undertake an IR we will look at the issues involved and make any changes to our processes that are necessary.

I will also notify the Information Commissioner's Office that we have provided you with this information.

Kind Regards

Jonathan Pillinger-Cork

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Dear Information Requests,

Thank you for this response, I will look through this release at my earliest opportunity and then confirm the request as 'information received' on whatdotheyknow.com.

As you indicate, I did ask for an internal review, but not for this request. The request I have asked for an internal review - the one you provided the previous incorrect release to - http://www.whatdotheyknow.com/request/of...

This was left hanging by your department from the 21st June 2010 until the flawed release was made on the 1st February 2011. Please note that I have already received an acknowledgement from a lady named 'Eleanor Berg' of your office that my request for an internal review is being dealt with.

Once again, to try and help with the apparent mixing of return addresses I will restate my reasons for requesting an internal review on that request; so you have the correct return address - If you can help me (help you) by quoting any case reference numbers you are using in the body of any responses I would be grateful.

Yours sincerely,

Mark Salter

Dear Information Requests,

thank you for this response.

I am still awaiting the decision notice from the ICO and I will share the detail of that once it is issued for the reference of whatdotheyknow.com users in the future.

Yours sincerely,

Mark Salter
179 working days.

Mark Salter left an annotation ()

Well, a lot of water has passed under many bridges since my promise to share the ICO result, it still makes interesting reading in finding *for* disclosure.

Ofcom went on to make a complete mess of releasing the data - once forced - including leaving unredacted personal data as well as some irrelevant data.

Their decision notice is here :- http://bit.ly/1mjEl46

I wanted to highlight the conclusion on the extraction of data from the 'SIEBEL' system, that whilst not fit for purpose in terms of being able to search and use as a database (Ofcom archive scanned images of hand completed forms instead of raw data), I did wonder if it is the only system they do have. The ICO found it *not* manifestly unreasonable that Ofcom could find 'the last 30 cases involving PLT' in it, although of course Ofcom did fail to do so with complete accuracy!

They also found that case numbers are *not* personal data and so should be released if associated with any of the cases requested - despite Ofcom's rather tenuous attempts to claim otherwise.

It seems Ofcom still have not changed their ways and more ICO decision notices might be needed for them to actually comply with the FOIA; time will tell.

Mark