List of .gov.uk domain names

John Cross made this Freedom of Information request to The JNT Association

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 refused by The JNT Association.

Dear JNT Association,

1. Please can you provide a list of domain names ending ".gov.uk" that are currently valid.

2. The name of the public body or other entity responsible for the site.

Please can you interpret my request for valid registrations as including domain names which redirect to archived sites and defensive registrations.

I note that others have made similar request in the past which have been refused and these refusals were justified by reference to: Section 21: Information Accessible by Other Means, Section 43: Commercial Interests. I will address these two exemptions in turn:

Section 21: Information Accessible by Other Means.
In response to pubic requests the JNT Association has argued that the information is already available to the requester using the domain lookup tool. I accept that it would be theoretically be possible for me to construct a list myself by carrying out separate searches for every possible combination of letters and characters and adding the suffix ".gov.uk". I note that newcastle-city-council.gov.uk is over twenty characters long and others may be longer. I note also that domain names can include any of the 26 letters of the alphabet and any of the digits 0-9. As a conservative estimate I would have to carry out at least 36 to the power 20 searches. I do not work in IT so I would have to carry out these searches manual at a rate of at most 1 per second. I calculate that if I worked non-stop 24 hours a day 365 days a year this task would take me more than a 100 million years. Section 21 refers to "(1)Information which is reasonably accessible to the applicant ..." the key word is "reasonably ". The exemption cannot be used in this case.

Section 43: Commercial Interests
This exemption cannot possibly apply to the whole list as many are simply not engaged in commercial activities e.g. jac.judiciary.gov.uk (Judicial Appointments Commission). Some public bodies do carry out commercial activities using websites in which case they should presumably be trying to advertise their web addressed rather than concealing them. The release of a '.gov.uk' web address won't prejudice a commercial interest so the exemption cannot be used in this case.

Finally, can I remind you of the following statement:

"In advance of introducing any necessary legislation to effect our Right to Data proposals, public requests to departments for the release of government datasets should be handled in line with the principles underpinning those proposals: a presumption in favour of transparency, with all published data licensed for free reuse."

http://www.number10.gov.uk/news/statemen...

Yours faithfully,

John Cross

M Bimmler left an annotation ()

Nice rebuttal of the s21 argument. Wonder how they'll tackle that one.

Ganesh Sittampalam left an annotation ()

The ICO tried this same argument when someone requested the entire data protection register - I was quite tempted to just run a script to scrape the entire thing daily. I bet their webservers wouldn't have been too happy about it!

The JNT Association

Thank you for contacting the JANET Service Desk. Your enquiry has been entered in our call
logging system and is currently being dealt with by the appropriate member of our support
staff. Your message has been assigned Reference Number 127660. Please quote this number when
contacting the JANET Service Desk regarding this particular enquiry.

The contact information you have supplied will be held in JANET(UK)'s database for the
purpose of responding to your enquiry and used to support your JANET connection, if
applicable. It will not be supplied to any external body.

Best regards,
JANET Service Desk
0300 300 2212

======================================================

Your name: John Cross
Organisation: -
Description of Query:

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JSD Service, The JNT Association

Dear John,

Regarding your request for a list of .gov.uk domain names on the 5/6/2011,
If you could provide details of your requirements for this list that would
be much appreciated.

Kind regards

Paul Gray

JANET Service desk

0300 300 2212

[1][email address] [2][JANET(UK) request email]

[3]www.ja.net

JANET, the UK's education and research network.

JANET(UK) is a trading name of The JNT Association, a company limited
by guarantee which is registered in England under No. 2881024
and whose Registered Office is at Lumen House, Library Avenue,
Harwell Oxford, Didcot, Oxfordshire. OX11 0SG

References

Visible links
1. mailto:[email address]
2. mailto:[JANET(UK) request email]
3. http://www.ja.net/

Dear Mr Gray,
Thank you for responding so promptly. Please provide a list of web addresses in the following form:

hmrc.gov.uk, Her Majesty's Revenue and Customs;
justice.gov.uk, Ministry of Justice;
...

I am happy to receive the list in Microsoft Excel format, CSV format or in a text file.

Yours sincerely,

John Cross

JSD Service, The JNT Association

Good Afternoon John

Thank you for the FOIA request.

JANET(UK) has met with the Cabinet Office to review the request. It will be dealt with by [email address] who is the COI Compliance Officer.

The Cabinet Office owns the data, JANET(UK) handles the data on its behalf.

Giovanni Sorenti
JSD Manager
01235 822 267

JANET(UK) is a trading name of The JNT Association, a company limited
by guarantee which is registered in England under No. 2881024
and whose Registered Office is at Lumen House, Library Avenue,
Harwell Oxford, Didcot, Oxfordshire. OX11 0SG

Ganesh Sittampalam left an annotation ()

So in http://www.ico.gov.uk/~/media/documents/... and http://www.whatdotheyknow.com/request/li... the COI claim not to hold the information and redirect you to JaNET, and now you ask JaNET and they claim that COI/Cabinet Office own the information, which would imply that JaNET hold it on their behalf?!

Dear Giovanni Sorenti
Please be aware that I have already contacted the Cabinet Office who have told me the information is not held by them:

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

Please see also the Decision Notice (FS50355402) linked to below which states that:

"During the Commissioner’s investigation COI confirmed that, while it did not hold a complete list of .gov.uk domain names, it did hold a subset of this data."

http://www.ico.gov.uk/~/media/documents/...

My FOI request was addressed to JANET and JANET are legally required to provide me with the information I have requested or a valid refusal.

Yours sincerely,

John Cross

Dear JNT Association,
Tomorrow (1 July) is by law the last day on which you can respond to my Freedom of Information request.

I am emailing now to ask you to release the information in full and not to rely on any exemptions.

I set out in my initial response a clear argument as to why the 'Information Accessible by Other Means' and 'Commercial Interests' exemption do not apply in this case. I also referred to Government policy that "public requests to departments for the release of government datasets should be handled in line with the
principles underpinning those proposals: a presumption in favour of transparency".

I now wish to draw your attention to the following extract from ICO Decision Notice FS50355402:
"15. COI has indicated that the .gov.uk domain names it does hold can be accessed via the ‘whois’ service provided by JANET(UK). According to its website, JANET(UK) manages the administration and registration of gov.uk domain names on behalf of COI, with the ‘whois’ function allowing a member of the public to query registrations under .ac.uk and .gov.uk.

16. The Commissioner, however, does not accept that the requested information is publicly accessible through the ‘whois’ tool. This is because ‘whois’ does not provide a search function for .gov.uk domain names but instead only allows a member of the public to verify whether a .gov.uk domain name is in use."

http://www.ico.gov.uk/~/media/documents/...

Yours sincerely,

John Cross

JSD Service, The JNT Association

John

I acknowledge your email sent on 30th June at 22:47. JANET(UK) is currently reviewing you request internally and will respond next week.

Giovanni Sorenti
JSD Manager

JANET(UK) is a trading name of The JNT Association, a company limited
by guarantee which is registered in England under No. 2881024
and whose Registered Office is at Lumen House, Library Avenue,
Harwell Oxford, Didcot, Oxfordshire. OX11 0SG

Dear Giovanni
Thank you for your email. I would be grateful if you could provide the information early next week as strictly speaking today is the very last day by law for JANET(UK) to respond by providing the information or citing valid exemptions.

many thanks,

John Cross

JSD Service, The JNT Association

Dear John

JANET(UK) will not provide the information required due to exemption 21 Information accessible to applicant by other means.

The domain names for all central government departments are available through Directgov. This provides the UK government's digital service, delivering information and practical advice about public services.

The Directgov "Contacts" page sets out links to contact information for public sector, charity and voluntary organisations in the United Kingdom, broken down by various categories.

The link to the "A-Z of central government is as follows:

http://www.direct.gov.uk/en/Dl1/Director...

Yours Sincerely

Giovanni Sorenti
JSD Manager

JANET(UK) is a trading name of The JNT Association, a company limited
by guarantee which is registered in England under No. 2881024
and whose Registered Office is at Lumen House, Library Avenue,
Harwell Oxford, Didcot, Oxfordshire. OX11 0SG

Dear JNT Association,
The 1st July was the last by law for you to provide me with the information I requested. Please pass my email on to the person who is responsible for supplying me with the information I have requested.

The refusal you provided earlier today fails for several reasons:

1. The information I requested ['a list of domain names ending ".gov.uk"that are currently valid.'] is not all contained on the direct.gov.uk website.

As you are aware many bodies outside of Central Government have .gov.uk domains. I cannot find the following addresses listed on the direct.gov.uk website at all:

*www.dataunitwales.gov.uk (Local Government Data Unit Wales)
*www.middlelevel.gov.uk (Middle Level Commissioners)
*www.littlehampton-tc.gov.uk (Littlehampton Town Council)

These are just three examples, to illustrate the point, but a large number of local authority web address are not published on direct.gov.uk. In Colin P England v London Borough of Bexley (EA/2006/0060) the Information Tribunal stated in respect of the application of section 21: "We do not interpret the section as stating that a public authority has no obligation to provide information where a reasonable amount of that information is available elsewhere."

2. Not all of the domain names which appear on the direct.gov.uk website should be assumed to be reasonably accessible to me.

The directory pages on the site include non-public sector organisations such as the Prison Reform Trust (direct.gov.uk/en/Dl1/Directories/DG_10010864) and public bodies not using .gov.uk domain names such as Metropolitan Police (... /Directories/DG_10010968) as well as pages containing domain names I am interested in e.g. GCHQ.gov.uk (... /Directories/DG_10011978).

To collate a list of the .gov.uk domains listed on direct.gov.uk would mean trawling through hundreds of pages of irrelevant content and even if I did so it would be very difficult to be sure that no addresses were missed in the collation process.

In Ames v Cabinet Office (EA/2007/0110) the Information Tribunal considered the application of section 21 to information on websites:

"We would also make the point that, even if there was material on the Hutton Inquiry website which did answer Mr Ames’s request, it would not necessarily follow that the material was reasonably accessible to Mr Ames so as to allow the Cabinet Office to rely on section 21. We are not at all sure that, in a case where a public authority is asked for a very specific piece of information which (ex hypothesi) it holds, it would be legitimate for the public authority to say to the applicant that the information is somewhere to be found on a large website like that of the Hutton Inquiry, even if the applicant is someone as well informed as Mr Ames no doubt is."

I have made a specific request for a list of .gov.uk domain names, it is clear from the above judgement that it is not reasonable to expect me to trawl through a large amount of irrelevant content to construct a list myself. This principle is reflected in the ICO's Lines to Take document LTT151 "... In this case the public authority has to be reasonably specific to ensure it is found without difficulty and not hidden in a mass of other information."

3. You have failed to supply any information about .gov.uk domains which are used for redirection/ defensive registrations (e.g. http://communicationsact.gov.uk/)

4. You have not followed the spirit of Government Policy: "In advance of introducing any necessary legislation to effect our Right to Data proposals, public requests to departments for the release of government datasets should be handled in line with the principles underpinning those proposals: a presumption in favour of transparency, with all published data licensed for free reuse."

http://www.number10.gov.uk/news/statemen...

For the reasons given above your reliance on the section 21 is flawed and you must provide the requested information to me in my preferred format - which is a complete list of domain names (in Microsoft Excel format, CSV, format or in a text file) as indicated previously.

thank you

John Cross

The JNT Association

Thank you for contacting the JANET Service Desk. Your enquiry has been entered in our call
logging system and is currently being dealt with by the appropriate member of our support
staff. Your message has been assigned Reference Number 128447. Please quote this number when
contacting the JANET Service Desk regarding this particular enquiry.

The contact information you have supplied will be held in JANET(UK)'s database for the
purpose of responding to your enquiry and used to support your JANET connection, if
applicable. It will not be supplied to any external body.

Best regards,
JANET Service Desk
0300 300 2212

======================================================

Your name: John Cross
Organisation: ?
Description of Query:

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Dear JNT Association,
Please could you update me as to when you expect to be able to provide me with either (a) the information I have requested or (b) a valid refusal notice.

I consider it very unlikely that you will be able to provide a valid refusal notice in this case for the reasons set out in previous correspondence. I feel however JANET's failure to provide the information requested promptly is contrary to Government Policy:

"In advance of introducing any necessary legislation to effect our Right to Data proposals, public requests to departments for the release of government datasets should be handled in line with the principles underpinning those proposals: a presumption in favour of transparency, with all published data licensed for free reuse."

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

Yours faithfully,

John Cross

JSD Service, The JNT Association

Hello,

Further to your email dated 4th July 2011 requesting an internal review of our response to the FOIA request, JANET(UK) is carrying out this review. JANET(UK) will respond with the outcome of this review within 20 working days of the original response.

Regards

JANET Service Desk
0300 300 2212
[email address] [JANET(UK) request email]
www.ja.net

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Dear JANET,
Please can you confirm I that you will provide me with the information I have requested on or before Friday 29 July 2011.

I consider that you had a legal duty to provide the information request no later than 1 July 2011 so this matter should have been resolved some time ago. I expect you to ensure you provide the information promptly.

Yours sincerely,

John Cross

JSD Service, The JNT Association

Thank you for emailing JANET Service Desk.

Our operating hours are 07:00 to 23:59, Monday to Friday (excluding bank holidays).

We will endeavour to respond to your email at the earliest opportunity during our next working period.

------------------------------------------

JANET Service Desk

0300 300 2212 (+44 1235 822 212)

[JANET(UK) request email]<mailto:[JANET(UK) request email]> www.ja.net<http://www.ja.net/>

-------------------------------------------

JANET(UK) is a trading name of The JNT Association, a company limited
by guarantee which is registered in England under No. 2881024
and whose Registered Office is at Lumen House, Library Avenue,
Harwell Oxford, Didcot, Oxfordshire. OX11 0SG

Dear JANET,
Please could you respond to my request for an internal review. 20 working days have past since I requested an internal review:

"In view of all the above the Commissioner considers that a reasonable time for completing an internal review is 20 working days from the date of the
request for review."

http://www.ico.gov.uk/upload/documents/l...

many thanks,

John Cross

JSD Service, The JNT Association

Hello John,

For your information a list of all Central Government open websites is being published on the Cabinet Office website today.

http://www.cabinetoffice.gov.uk/resource...

Please find the information that you require from that website.

JANET(UK) will not therefore be releasing the information that you have requested because the information is accessible to the applicant by other means (section 21 - absolute exemption).

If you are not content with the outcome of your request, you may apply directly to the Information Commissioner for a decision. Generally, the Information Commissioner's Office (ICO) cannot make a decision unless you have exhausted the complaints procedure provided by JANET(UK). If you wish to raise a complaint you should directly contact JANET Service Desk ([JANET(UK) request email]). The Information Commissioner can be contacted at: The Information Commissioner's Office, Wycliffe House, Water Lane, Wilmslow, Cheshire SK9 5AF.

Kind regards,

JANET Service Desk
0300 300 2212
[JANET(UK) request email]
[email address]

JANET, the UK's education and research network.

JANET(UK) is a trading name of The JNT Association, a company limited
by guarantee which is registered in England under No. 2881024
and whose Registered Office is at Lumen House, Library Avenue,
Harwell Oxford, Didcot, Oxfordshire. OX11 0SG

Dear JANET,
The list that has been published for Central Government is fantastic - thank you for your hard work on this.

This does not quite fulfil my original request though - I asked for:

'a list of domain names ending ".gov.uk" that are currently valid.'

The list you have published excludes .gov.uk addresses not relating to Central Government e.g. www.birmingham.gov.uk , http://www.middlelevel.gov.uk/

Yours sincerely,

John Cross

Mark Goodge left an annotation ()

What puzzles me is *why* they are so determined not to release a full list of gov.uk domains, given that they're perfectly happy to release a full list of ac.uk domains. I've submitted a kind of meta-FOI request to try and tease out some of that information:

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

Dear JANET,
Please be advised that as you have failed to provide me with the full list I requested or a valid refusal notice I have complained to the ICO today.

If JANET send the list through even at this late stage I would withdraw my complaint.

regards,

John

Mark Goodge left an annotation ()

Mark Goodge left an annotation ()

I've blogged about this, and related issues, at http://mark.goodge.co.uk/2011/09/governm...

JSD Service, The JNT Association

Dear John

The legal position is that JANET(UK) is not a body that is required to respond to requests under the Freedom of Information Act. We have helped as far as we can and will provide no further information on this request.

Tim Kidd
Operations Director

Tel: 0300 300 2212
Fax: 0300 300 2213
E-mail: [JANET(UK) request email]
[email address]
Web:    http://www.ja.net

JANET, the UK’s education and research network.

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JSD Service, The JNT Association

Hi Mark

All open FoI requests for the JANET Service Desk were replied to yesterday with the below using BCC:

From: JSD Service
Sent: 08 September 2011 10:47
Cc: JSD Service
Subject:

Hi

Please be aware that this request is still ongoing and is with our Operations Director for finalisation.

Many thanks

JANET Service Desk
Shift Leader

Email: [JANET(UK) request email] & [email address]
Tel: 0300 300 2212
Fax: 0300 300 2213
Web: http://www.ja.net

JANET, the UK's education and research network.

Would this restrict the receiving of emails by WDTK?

Many thanks

JANET Service Desk
Shift Leader

Email: [JANET(UK) request email] & [email address]
Tel: 0300 300 2212
Fax: 0300 300 2213
Web: http://www.ja.net

JANET, the UK's education and research network.

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Richard Taylor left an annotation ()

The above message may be out of order on the request thread as it was sent to the request address via a "BCC" line which copied in two other requests made to JANET, this resulted in the message needing to be manually placed on the request by the WhatDoTheyKnow team.

--

Richard - WhatDoTheyKnow.com volunteer