Security Advice Given to Michael Gove

P. John made this Freedom of Information request to Department for Education

The request was successful.

From: P. John

21 September 2011

Dear Department for Education,

please disclose any guidance given to Michael Gove concerning the
security of his communications, particularly any instructions
concerning the secure use of, or access to DfE email services.

I am particularly concerned to learn that Mr Gove should be using
the Gmail system for any Ministerial communications, and that he
believes in some misguided way it might be 'private' in any sense
of the word.

Gmail is hosted in the USA, hence would not be covered by UK
RIPA/Data Protection Act/Privacy in Electronic Communications
Regulations.

Given GMail's T&Cs and American law - the content of his email
would be entirely and routinely processed to generate commercial
intelligence, and the content of his Ministerial email would be
immediately and fully accessible to the intelligence services of
the United States Government (per the PATRIOT act).

All of which seems a bit damn careless to me, if you'll forgive me
pointing out the obvious >>ESPIONAGE RISK<< in capital letters.

Yours in faithfully,
P. John

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Department for Education

23 September 2011

Dear P John

Thank you for your recent email. A reply will be sent to you as soon as
possible. For information, the departmental standard for correspondence
received is that responses should be sent within 20 working days as you
are requesting information under the Freedom of Information Act 2000.

Your correspondence has been allocated the reference number 2011/0065437

Thank you.

Central Allocation Team

Public Communications Team

Tel: 0370 0002288
www.education.gov.uk

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From: P. John

20 October 2011

Dear Department for Education,

your response to my FoI request for 'Security Advice Given to
Michael Gove', was due promptly and by 19 October 2011.

It is the 20 October today, and I have not received your reply.

Please could I have your response in the next 48 hours, or a
complaint to the Information Commissioner will follow.

The details of my request are available online, here;
http://www.whatdotheyknow.com/request/se...

Yours faithfully,

P. John

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P. John left an annotation (17 November 2011)

Quote-marks ICO complaint sent Thursday, 17 November 2011

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From: P. John

2 May 2012

Dear Department for Education,

assuming you have received a copy of the ICO Decision Notice I have
before me (reference FS50425232) please provide the requested
information as instructed without any further delay.

The decision notice states;

"The Commissioner's decision is that the DfE has breached section
10(1) of FOIA by failing to respond to the complainant's request
within 20 working days. The Commissioner requires the public
authority to take the following steps to ensure compliance with the
legislation.

- State which information it holds within the scope of the
complainant's request, and

- Communicate the information it holds to the complainant and/or
issues a refusal notice in respect of all or parts of the
information it intends to withhold in accordance with section 17 of
the FOIA.

The public authority must take these steps within 35 calendar days
of the date of this Decision Notice. Failure to comply may result
in the Commissioner making written certification of this fact to
the High Court pursuant to section 54 of the Act and may be dealt
with as a contempt of court."

You have broken, and are presently breaking, the law.

Please comply with the Decision notice presently before you without
any further delay.

Yours faithfully,

P. John

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Department for Education

1 June 2012


Attachment response to Peter John pdf.pdf
1.3M Download View as HTML


Dear Mr John

 

Please find attached the Department’s response to your FOI request of 21
September. May I apologise once again for the delay in sending this to
you.

 

Yours sincerely

 

Eve Trueman

 

 

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Communications via the GSi may be automatically logged, monitored and/or
recorded for legal purposes.

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Leigh Park Initiative left an annotation ( 5 June 2012)

Quote-marks perhaps the department is standing on its head? Half of the document that was eventually supplied is upside down. Does FOI require files to be the right way up?

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Alex Skene left an annotation ( 5 June 2012)

Quote-marks Many apologies, that's WhatDoTheyKnow's PDF-to-HTML converter turning it upside down...

The original PDF as sent by the DfE is the correct way round.

Regards
Alex - WhatDoTheyKnow volunteer

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From: P. John

12 June 2012

Dear Department for Education,

thank you for your long overdue response. I was beginning to worry
you weren't familiar with the FoIA that states a response is due
within 20 days.

So, if I understand correctly, Mr Gove and his advisors were told;
"DON'T use unofficial devices (such as your own/constituency
PC/laptop/PDA) or unofficial services (such as internet email
accounts like Hotmail or Google) to access or hold DfE Information"

... but he chose to ignore that advice?

And Mr Gove remains Secretary of State for Education, responsible
for English literacy teaching & ICT policy in schools.

For the avoidance of doubt, that's a rhetorical question, not an
FoI request.

Yours faithfully,

P. John

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Department for Education

12 June 2012

Thank you for your email. I will be out of the office from 7th - 21 June. Please contact my colleagues Fiona McConachie ([email address]) or Dinesh Patel ([email address],gov.uk), who will be able to either deal with your email or direct it to the appropriate person if it is not for them.

Many thanks

Eve Trueman

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