European Commission; First Stage of Infringement Proceeding

P. John made this Freedom of Information request to Information Commissioner’s Office

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

Information Commissioner’s Office did not have the information requested.

Dear Sir or Madam,

on 14 April 2009, the UK were given two months to respond to
infringement proceedings initiated by the European Commission (64/08/INSO).

The proceedings arise following the covert trials of Phorm/121Media interception and surveillance systems by BT Internet on hundreds of thousands of its customers, and the web sites they used.

The last working day for the UK Government to submit a response was Friday 12 June 2009.

Please will you

- confirm or deny that a response has been submitted

- indicate which Department of Government was responsible for submitting the response

- disclose the content of that response in full

- disclose the content of correspondence between the Information Commissioners Office and the European Commission concerning the same matter

- disclose correspondence between the Information Commissioners Office and other UK government departments contributing to the response concerning the same matter

Yours faithfully,

P. John

Information Commissioner’s Office

Link: [1]File-List

15th June 2009

Case Reference Number IRQ0253449

Dear Mr John

Thank you for your e-mail dated 13 June 2009 in which you make a request
for information.

Your request is being dealt with in accordance with the Freedom of
Information Act 2000.  We will respond by 10 July 2009 which is 20
working days from the day after we received your request.

Yours sincerely

Charlotte Powell

Internal Compliance Manager

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http://www.ico.gov.uk or email: [email address]
Information Commissioner's Office, Wycliffe House, Water Lane, Wilmslow,
Cheshire, SK9 5AF
Tel: 01625 545 700 Fax: 01625 524 510

References

Visible links
1. file:///tmp/rad798AF_files/filelist.xml

Information Commissioner’s Office

Link: [1]File-List

29 June 2009

Case Reference Number IRQ0253449

Dear Mr John

On 13 June you sent us the following requests for information:

On 14 April 2009, the UK were given two months to respond to infringement
proceedings initiated by the European Commission (64/08/INSO).

The proceedings arise following the covert trials of Phorm/121Media
interception and surveillance systems by BT Internet on hundreds of
thousands of its customers, and the web sites they used.

The last working day for the UK Government to submit a response was Friday
12 June 2009.

Please will you:

- confirm or deny that a response has been submitted;

- indicate which Department of Government was responsible for submitting
the response;

- disclose the content of that response in full;

- disclose the content of correspondence between the Information
Commissioner’s Office and the European Commission concerning the same
matter ;

- disclose correspondence between the Information Commissioner’s Office
and other UK government departments contributing to the response
concerning the same matter.

Having made enquiries of those sections of this office handling such
issues and having searched filing systems that may contain information
about Phorm and 121 Media, I can confirm that we hold no information in
relation to these five requests.

We hold no information indicating whether or not a response has been sent.

We hold no information indicating which Government Department, if any,
would have been responsible for submitting a response.

We do not hold a copy of any response, if it has been made.

We hold no correspondence between ourselves and the European Commission
concerning a response.

We hold no correspondence between ourselves and any Government Department
concerning a response.

Under our duty to provide advice and assistance I should indicate whether
or not we can suggest which other public authorities might hold any
information of the nature you seek. I note from the website to which I am
sending this response that this assistance is not required.

If you are dissatisfied with the response you have received and wish to
request a review of our decision or make a complaint about how your
request has been handled you should write to the Internal Compliance Team
at the address below or e-mail [2][email address]

Your request for internal review should be submitted to us within 40
working days of receipt by you of this response. Any such request
received after this time will only be considered at the discretion of the
Commissioner. I have previously sent you a copy of our internal review
procedures.

If having exhausted the review process you are not content that your
request or review has been dealt with correctly, you have a further right
of appeal to this office in our capacity as the statutory complaint
handler under the legislation. To make such an application, please write
to the Case Reception Team, at the address below or visit the
‘Complaints’ section of our website to make a Freedom of Information
Act complaint online.

Yours sincerely

Graham S Smith

Internal Compliance Team

Information Commissioner's Office

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http://www.ico.gov.uk or email: [email address]
Information Commissioner's Office, Wycliffe House, Water Lane, Wilmslow,
Cheshire, SK9 5AF
Tel: 01625 545 700 Fax: 01625 524 510

References

Visible links
1. file:///tmp/rad8D175_files/filelist.xml
2. mailto:[email address]

Dear Sir or Madam,

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

I am writing to request an internal review of Information Commissioner’s Office's handling of my FOI request 'European Commission; First Stage of Infringement Proceeding'.

A full history of my FOI request and all correspondence is available on the Internet at this address:
http://www.whatdotheyknow.com/request/eu...

It seems surprising that the Information Commissioner's Office would not be consulted concerning the Government response to such a European Commission inquiry, particularly given the responsibility of the ICO to enforce;

- Privacy and Electronic Communications (EC Directive) Regulations 2003

- Data Protection Act 1998

Many of the complaints concerning Phorm relate to the failure of the Information Commissioner's Office to enforce PECR/DPA, and the European Commission press release specifically highlights the failure of the UK Government to implement privacy and electronic communications directives, and data protection directives;

"The EU Directive on privacy and electronic communications requires EU Member States to ensure confidentiality of the communications and related traffic data by prohibiting unlawful interception and surveillance unless the users concerned have consented (Article 5(1) of Directive 2002/58/EC). The EU Data Protection Directive specifies that user consent must be ‘freely given specific and informed’ (Article 2(h) of Directive 95/46/EC). Moreover, Article 24 of the Data Protection Directive requires Member States to establish appropriate sanctions in case of infringements and Article 28 says that independent authorities must be charged with supervising implementation. These provisions of the Data Protection Directive also apply in the area of confidentiality of communications."

http://europa.eu/rapid/pressReleasesActi...

Consequently it seems quite probable that the ICO would have been consulted, and contributed significantly, to the response to such an inquiry.

Please could you reconsider whether the information requested exists, and if so, disclose it immediately?

Yours sincerely,

P. John

Dear Sir or Madam,

please could I chase progress on this internal review?

It has been in-progress for approximately 3 months.

Yours faithfully,

P. John

Information Commissioner’s Office

Link: [1]File-List

24th September 2009

Case Reference Number RCC0270876

Dear Mr John

Thank you for your emails dated 29 June 2009 and 24 September 2009 in
which you have requested a review of your request for information our
reference IRQ0253449. 

Please accept our sincere apologies for the delay in acknowledging your
review request unfortunately your original email was overlooked.

Your review request has been assigned to an Assistant Commissioner and we
will respond to you as a matter of priority.

Yours sincerely

Joanne Crowley

Assistant Internal Compliance Manager

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Information Commissioner's Office, Wycliffe House, Water Lane, Wilmslow,
Cheshire, SK9 5AF
Tel: 01625 545 700 Fax: 01625 524 510 Web: www.ico.gov.uk

References

Visible links
1. file:///tmp/radC445A_files/filelist.xml

Information Commissioner’s Office

Link: [1]File-List

Dear Mr John

I write in reply to your request for an internal review of our response to
your information request dated 13 June 2009. The request covered the
following information relating to infringement proceedings initiated by
the European Commission (64/08/INSO) :-

“Please will you
- confirm or deny that a response has been submitted
- indicate which Department of Government was responsible for submitting
the response
- disclose the content of that response in full
- disclose the content of correspondence between the Information
Commissioners Office and the European Commission concerning the same
matter
- disclose correspondence between the Information Commissioners Office and
other UK government departments contributing to the response concerning
the same matter”

First of all can I reiterate my colleague’s apology for the delay in
carrying out the review.  As she explained, this was due to an
administrative oversight that should most certainly not have happened.

In our response to you of 29 June 2009, we confirmed after searching that
we held no information that would have answered any of the five parts of
your request.  I have now reviewed the request, spoken to the members of
staff who would have been most likely to have been involved, and searched
through the relevant files.  As a result I can confirm that it is indeed
the case that we do not hold this information.  You will be aware that
infraction proceedings are brought against EU Member States, in this case
the UK government, and the duty to respond therefore falls to the
government department(s) which ‘own’ the legislation, rather than to
any national regulatory body such as the ICO.  You will also be aware
that the Commission’s action centres on the implementation of EU law
regarding the interception and confidentiality of communications, and it
is my understanding that the UK implemented Directive 20002/58/EC via the
Regulation of Investigatory Powers Act (RIPA) rather than the Data
Protection Act.

I am sorry we were unable to provide you with what you requested, and I
appreciate that my response will not be the outcome you were hoping for.
However if you remain unhappy, you have a right of appeal to the ICO in
our capacity as the statutory regulator for the FOI Act. If you wish to
appeal, then please visit the ‘Complaints’ section of our website to
make a complaint online, or alternatively please write directly to the
Case Reception Unit at our head office in Wilmslow.

Yours sincerely

Anne Jones

Assistant Commissioner (Wales)

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Information Commissioner's Office, Wycliffe House, Water Lane, Wilmslow,
Cheshire, SK9 5AF
Tel: 01625 545 700 Fax: 01625 524 510 Web: www.ico.gov.uk

References

Visible links
1. file:///tmp/rad49ED3_files/filelist.xml

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