Meetings with MindGeek and Age Verification suppliers

Jim Killock made this Freedom of Information request to Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport

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 partially successful.

Dear Department for Culture, Media and Sport,

Can you please supply me with a list of meetings between staff or ministers working on age verification and companies including the BBFC, MindGeek or age verification vendors.

This list of meetings can be restricted to the period 1 May 2016 to April 13 2017.

Please also send me any correspondence between MindGeek and your department on the topic of age verification.

Yours faithfully,

Jim Killock

FOI Mailbox, Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport

Thank you for your email which is now being dealt with by the Freedom of
Information Team at the Department for Culture, Media and Sport. 
You will receive a response to your information request within 20 working
days of receipt.
  

FOI Mailbox, Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport

6 Attachments

 

Dear Mr Killock,

 

Thank you for your information request of 15 April. You asked:

 

Can you please supply me with a list of meetings between staff or
ministers working on age verification and companies including the BBFC,
MindGeek or age verification vendors.

This list of meetings can be restricted to the period 1 May 2016 to April
13 2017.

Please also send me any correspondence between MindGeek and your
department on the topic of age verification.

 

I have dealt with your request under the Freedom of Information Act 2000
(the Act) and, following a search of our records, am able to release some
of the information the Department holds that is within scope of your
request.

 

However, we have determined that some information is exempt from
disclosure under section 35 (a) (formulation of government policy) of the
Act. Section 35 is a ‘qualified exemption’ and requires us to carry out a
public interest test to consider whether the balance of interest lies in
releasing or withholding the information. In considering this, we have
paid particular regard to the arguments in favour of disclosure, including
that disclosure may be of benefit because:

•           greater transparency makes government more accountable to the
electorate and increases trust;

•           the desirability of citizens being confident that decisions
are taken on the basis of the best available information;

•           knowledge that the arguments relating to a debate will be
released will in fact improve the quality of those arguments. Far from
inhibiting the frank provision of advice, there might be circumstances
where the prospect of disclosure would enhance the quality of advice.

However, while acknowledging these benefits we consider that on this
occasion the arguments for upholding the exemption and withholding the
information outweigh those in favour of disclosure. In particular,
consideration of the following factors has led us to the conclusion that
the public interest requires the exemption in section 35 to be upheld
because:

•           Ministers and their officials need space in which to develop
their thinking and explore different options in communications and
discussions. We are continuing to use the information at issue here to
inform the development of our ongoing policy;

•           Ministers and their officials need to be able to think through
all the implications of different options. In particular, they need to be
able to undertake rigorous and candid assessments of the risks to
particular programmes and projects;

•           good government depends on good decision making and this needs
to be based on the best advice available and a full consideration of all
the options - there may be a deterrent effect on external experts or
stakeholders who might be reluctant to provide advice because it might be
disclosed.

  

 

The list of meetings that you requested are below and the correspondence
is attached.

 

Please note that some information has been redacted under section 40
(personal information) of the Act. Section 40 is an absolute exemption and
therefore does not require a public interest test.

 

 

Date Organisation Participants
19/05/2016 British Board for Film Classification Officials
(BBFC)
28/06/2016 UKCCIS (BBFC in attendance) Minister & Officials
11/07/2016 BBFC Officials
28/07/2016 BBFC Officials
15/09/2016 Digital Policy Alliance (AV Technology Officials
Session) (MindGeek and AV technology
providers present)
16/09/2016 BBFC Officials (Project)
16/09/2016 Digital Policy Alliance (MindGeek and Officials
AV technology providers present)
30/09/2016 BBFC Officials (Project)
6/10/2016 Adult Providers Network (MindGeek and Officials
AV technology providers present)
10/10/2016 Digital Policy Alliance (AV Technology Minister & Officials
Session) (MindGeek and AV technology
providers present)
17/10/2016 BBFC Officials
18/10/2016 UKCCIS (BBFC in attendance) Minister & Officials
21/10/2016 BBFC Officials (Project)
04/11/2016 BBFC Officials (Project)
11/11/2016 Internet Service Providers (BBFC Officials
present)
18/11/2016 BBFC Officials (Project)
22/11/2016 Meeting with Mobile Network Providers Officials
(BBFC present)
01/12/2016 DCMS/Home Office/BBFC Officials
08/12/2016 Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO) Officials
(BBFC present)
09/12/2016 BBFC Officials (Project)
12/12/2016 BBFC Officials
15/12/2016 BBFC Officials
16/12/2016 BBFC Officials
19/12/2016 Mastercard (BBFC present) Officials
09/01/2017 BBFC Officials
13/01/2017 Internet Service Providers (BBFC Officials
present)
19/01/2017 BBFC Officials
20/01/2017 BBFC Officials (Project)
25/01/2017 BBFC Officials
26/01/2017 BBFC Officials
10/02/2017 DCMS/Home Office/BBFC meeting
14/02/2017 BBFC Officials
17/02/2017 BBFC Officials (Project)
20/01/2017 MindGeek and Portland TV Officials
22/02/2017 BBFC Minister
24/02/2017 ISPs (BBFC present) Officials
28/02/2017 BBFC Officials
03/03/2017 BBFC Officials (Project)
15/03/2017 BBFC Officials (Funding)
28/03/2017 UKCCIS (BBFC present) Ministers and officials
29/03/2017 BBFC Officials (Project)
07/04/2017 BBFC Officials (Project)

 

 

 

Yours sincerely,

Freedom of Information Team

 

Department for Culture, Media & Sport

4th floor, 100 Parliament Street

London SW1A 2BQ

 

Tel: 020 7211 6395

[1]www.gov.uk/dcms

 

 

Complaints and comments

As is customary in our replies, I would like to explain that if you are
dissatisfied with any aspect of our response to your request for
information and/or wish to appeal against information being withheld from
you please send full details within two calendar months of the date of
this email to:  [2][email address]

 

You have the right to ask the Information Commissioner (ICO) to
investigate any aspect of your complaint. Please note that the ICO is
likely to expect internal complaints procedures to have been exhausted
before beginning his investigation.

 

 

References

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1. http://www.gov.uk/dcms
2. mailto:[email address]

Dear FOI Mailbox,

Thank you very much for the information you supplied, which is very helpful.

One document mentioned in the email from 26 September 2016 (sent to me as r 160926.pdf ) appears to be missing. It is called DEB 2016_Proposed Amendment NOTES_V2_DW edits.docx

Could you supply this as well?

Yours sincerely,

Jim Killock

FOI Mailbox, Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport

Thank you for your email which is now being dealt with by the Freedom of
Information Team at the Department for Culture, Media and Sport. 
You will receive a response to your information request within 20 working
days of receipt.
  

FOI Mailbox, Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport

Dear Mr Killock
The document "DEB 2016_Proposed Amendment NOTES_V2_DW edits.docx" is the
information that I referred to in my initial response as being exempt
from disclosure under section 35 (a) (formulation of government policy) of
the Act.  
Regards.
FOI Team
On 17 May 2017 at 11:44, FOI Mailbox <[1][email address]> wrote:

Hi Alan,
Please see email below. You can probably just add the document to an
email rather than do a whole new request.
Esa

show quoted sections

Dear FOI Mailbox,

Thank you very much for the explanation, that is very helpful.

Yours sincerely,

Jim Killock

FOI Mailbox, Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport

Thank you for your email which is now being dealt with by the Freedom of
Information Team at the Department for Culture, Media and Sport. 
You will receive a response to your information request within 20 working
days of receipt.