Intercept Modernisation Programme

The request was successful.

Dear Sir or Madam,

According to a written answer submitted to the Earl of Northesk on 8 July 2008 by Lord West of Spithead, Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Security and Counter-terrorism), Home Office:

"the objective of the Intercept Modernisation Programme (IMP) is to maintain the UK's lawful intercept and communications data capabilities in the changing communications environment. It is a cross-government programme, led by the Home Office, to ensure that our capability to lawfully intercept and exploit data when fighting crime and terrorism is not lost. It was established in response to my right honourable friend the Prime Minister's national security remit in 2006."

The following information is requested under the Freedom of Information Act for the period from January 2007 to date:

-Agenda and minutes of all meetings of the Intelligence and Security Liaison Group (and prior and subsequent re-namings of this entity);

-Agenda and minutes of all meetings of the Government-Industry Forum (once called the Government Industry Encryption Forum);

-Any feasibility studies, or budgetary forecasts produced by the Home Office or their consultants relating to the Intercept Modernisation Programme, including breakdown in terms of costs to the taxpayer and cost to private industry;

-Draft or other plans for the technical architecture of the system;

-Agenda and minutes of any meetings, other than those mentioned above, between communications service providers and the Home Office on the subject of the Intercept Modernisation Programme; and

-Copies of correspondence regarding the Intercept Modernisation Programme, including expressions of concern from either communications service providers, civil servants, elected officials or civil society.

Please include copies of material which you hold in the form of paper and electronic records, including emails.

This information should be supplied by email, unless the total size is greater than 10MB, in which case a CD-ROM is preferable. If you are not able to provide the information in this format then please explain why not, when you provide the information in another format.

If you decide to withhold any of the information requested, please explain clearly why you have done so in your response, by reference to the legislation. If your decision to withhold is based upon an evaluation of the public interest then please clearly explain which public interests you have considered and why you have decided that the public interest in maintaining the exception(s) outweighs the public interest in releasing the information.

If you are proposing to make a charge for providing the information requested then please provide full details in advance together with an explanation of any proposed charge.

We look forward to hearing from you promptly, as required by the legislation, and in any case within 20 working days. We would be grateful if you could acknowledge safe receipt of this request by email.

Yours faithfully

Becky Hogge
Executive Director, Open Rights Group

7th Floor, 100 Grays Inn Road
London WC1X 8AL
+44 (0)20 7096 1079
[email address]

Watching Them, Watching Us left an annotation ()

Details of correspondence or meetings with some public Commissioners, who are neither part of the civil service nor of civil society, would also be of use in understanding whether this scheme has been properly thought through or not:

e.g. The Information Commissioner Richard Thomas and the Interception of Communications Commissioner, the Rt. Hon. Sir Paul Kennedy (not an FOIA public body)

Richard McMillan left an annotation ()

FYI: Response from the HO, read more here:

We are considering your information request. Although the Freedom of Information Act carries a presumption in favour of disclosure, it provides exemptions which may be used to refuse to confirm whether or not we hold information, or where we do, to withhold that information in specified circumstances. Some of these exemptions are subject to a public interest test. These exemptions are known as qualified exemptions. The public interest test is used to balance the public interest in openness against the public interest in favour of applying exemptions. Section 10(3) of the Act allows us to exceed the 20 working day response target where reasonably necessary to consider the public interest test fully. This is subject to us telling applicants when we expect to conclude our deliberations and provide a full response.

We are currently assessing the public interest in saying whether or not we hold the information you have requested, and should we do so, in providing the information you have requested. We are doing so under the exemptions contained in Sections 23(5) and 24(2) (national security), 35(3) (formulation of government policy, 31(3) (prevention and detection of crime) and 43(3) (prejudice to commercial interests) of the Freedom of Information Act.

This letter should not be taken as conclusive evidence that the information you have requested exists or does not exist.

Richard McMillan left an annotation ()

It's now been over 60 working days since the original request - should this not be referred to the ICO?

P. John left an annotation ()

Into the second calendar year, apparently without reply?

Complaints to the ICO should be addressed to;

FOI/EIR Complaints Resolution
Information Commissioner's Office
Wycliffe House
Water Lane

ICO recommend you contact them after 20 days have expired for a request... or 40 days in the case of an internal review.

This request is long overdue a complaint.

Becky Hogge left an annotation ()

A rather pitiful response was indeed made to this request in December 2008 - see

John Cross left an annotation ()

Richard Taylor left an annotation ()

As the annotation above from the requestor states a response was received, albeit not via the @whatdotheyknow email address associated with the request, I have today marked the request as successful.


Richard - volunteer