Traffic Signals databases

Alex Skene made this Freedom of Information request to Transport for London

The request was refused by Transport for London.

From: Alex Skene

27 May 2008

Dear Sir or Madam

FREEDOM OF INFORMATION REQUEST

Please could you provide the following:

1) Database Schema(s) and/or Entity Relationship Diagram(s) for the
database(s) that contain details on types, locations, timings,
sequences, etc for traffic signals and traffic signal controllers
managed by TfL, including both UTC/SCOOT and those that operate
outside central control.

2) Details of the hardware and software used to run the database(s)

3) Technical details on any interfaces between this/these
database(s) and systems managed by 3rd parties (eg data suppliers
or external service providers).

Many thanks

Alex Skene

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From: enquiries (ST)
Transport for London

30 May 2008

Our Ref: SM034431

Dear Alex Skene

Thank you for your request for information dated 28 May 2008 which was
received by Transport for London on 28 May 2008 concerning
database/schemas for traffic signals and traffic signal controllers
managed by TfL. This request will be dealt with under the terms of the
Freedom of Information Act 2000.

We will aim to deal with your request promptly and provide you with a
response by 26 June 2008.

If you are unhappy with the response you receive, you may wish to use our
complaints procedure by writing to Beverley Hall, Head of Customer
Services & Consultation, at the address above, stating your concerns.

In the meantime, if you have any queries or would like to discuss your
request, please do not hesitate to contact me.

Once again, thank you for taking the time to contact us.

Yours sincerely

Gilmore Barrett
Correspondence Support Manager
London Streets
Customer Services
Email: [email address]

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From: enquiries (ST)
Transport for London

23 June 2008

Dear Mr Skene

Thank you for your email received by TfL on 27 May 2008. You have asked
for the following information.

1) Database Schema(s) and/or Entity Relationship Diagram(s) for the
database(s) that contain details on types, locations, timings,
sequences, etc for traffic signals and traffic signal controllers
managed by TfL, including both UTC/SCOOT and those that operate
outside central control.

2) Details of the hardware and software used to run the database(s)

3) Technical details on any interfaces between this/these database(s)
and systems managed by 3rd parties (eg data suppliers or external
service providers).

Your request has been dealt with under the terms of the Freedom of
Information Act and I can confirm that TfL does hold the information you
have requested. However, TfL is not obliged to supply the information, as
it is subject to the following statutory exemptions to the right of access
to information:

* Section 38 - Health & Safety

This exemption applies where the disclosure of the requested
information under the Freedom of Information Act would, or would be
likely to,

(a)   endanger the physical or mental health of any individual,
or

(b)   endanger the safety of any individual

The disclosure of the information would enable individuals with
sufficient expertise to compromise the security arrangements of the
software with the potential to manipulate traffic signals which could
endanger the safety of all those who use the road network.

This exemption is a qualified exemption. This means that TfL's
application of this exemption is subject to an assessment of the
public interest in relation to the disclosure of the information
concerned. Whilst there is a general public interest argument in
showing openness and transparency, this is outweighed heavily by the
need to ensure that the system used to operate traffic signals is not
exposed to an unnecessary and avoidable security risk, which has the
potential to endanger the safety of road users should the disclosure
of this information result in the system being compromised.

* Section 43 (2) - Commercial Interests

This exemption applies where the disclosure of the requested information
under the Freedom of Information Act would, or would be likely to,
prejudice the commercial interests of any person (including the persona
holding it).

TfL is applying this exemption because the release of the information is
likely to prejudice TfL's ability to procure effectively and obtain best
value in any future procurement exercise for database schemes, computer
hardware, software etc, as potential bidders would be reluctant to provide
their technical specifications for fear they would be disclosed to the
public in response to an information access request.

As well as prejudicing TfL's commercial interests, the disclosure of the
information would be likely to prejudice the commercial interests of our
supplier should it fall into the hands of a competitor. The information
requested is the intellectual property of the supplier. Disclosure may
also damage their reputation if their system is exposed to an avoidable
security risk due to the inappropriate disclosure of this information.

Again, this is a qualified exemption and the general public interest in
openness and transparency is outweighed by the need to ensure that TfL is
able to procure effectively and obtain best value for money and ensuring
that the commercial information of the supplier remains private and their
reputation is not damaged by the disclosure of this information.

If you are not satisfied with this response, please read the help-sheet
below, entitled `Your Right to Appeal'.

Yours sincerely

Patricia Mitchell
Head of Customer Services

Your Right to Appeal

Internal Review

If you are dissatisfied with the way TfL has handled your information
request, you can ask us to conduct an internal review of our decision.

The internal review will be conducted by someone other than the person who
made the original decision, in accordance with the complaints procedure
published on our website at [1]www.tfl.gov.uk/foi.

Requests for internal review should be addressed to:

Head of Information Access and Compliance
6^th Floor Windsor House
42 - 50
Victoria Street
London
SW1H 0TL

Complaints to the Information Commissioner

If, following the internal review, you remain dissatisfied with the way
TfL has handled your request, then you can take your complaint to:

Information Commissioner's Office
Wycliffe House
Water Lane
Wilmslow
Cheshire
SK9 5AF

A complaint form is available on the Information Commissioner's Office
website
[2]www.ico.gov.uk

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From: Alex Skene

23 June 2008

Dear Ms Mitchell

Your Ref: SM034431/1

Many thanks for your reply of 23 June to my FOI request on 27 May.

Before I ask for an internal review, please could you reconsider
your Section 17 refusal notice - you have applied 2 blanket
exemptions to all the information requested.

Each individual information request should have been considered on
its own merits. DCA Guidance states:

"If you refuse *any part* of a request for information in reliance
on a substantive exemption, you must explain which exemption you
are relying on and why."

<<http://www.dca.gov.uk/foi/guidance/progu...>>
[my emphasis added with *]

The Information Commissioner has issued Practice Notices to other
public authorities with similar warnings, for example to the Dept
of Health:

"The Department repeatedly applies blanket exemptions to requested
information with the effect of withholding entire documents from
release. This suggests that rather than considering requests on
their own merits, exemptions have been applied on a general
principle. The Commissioner is concerned that the application of
exemptions in this way may have the effect of suppressing
non-exempt information from release."
<<http://www.ico.gov.uk/upload/documents/l...>>
(p3)

I look forward to your earliest reply.

Regards

Alex Skene

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From: Towey Matthew
Transport for London

30 June 2008

Reference: IRV020-0809

Dear Mr Skene

I refer to your e-mail dated 23 June 2008 concerning your request for
TfL to reconsider the section 17 refusal notice ot your Freedom of
Information request. Your e-mail has been passed to TfL's Information
Access & Compliance Team (IACT) for response. IACT is responsible for
TfL's compliance with the Freedom of Information Act and the Data
Protection Act 1998.

From the correspondence with which I have been provided it appears that
you are unhappy with the way in which TfL has handled your request for
information. For this reason the issues raised in your e-mails will be
considered as part of an internal review which will examine the way in
which your request was handled. The review will be conducted by an
independent internal review panel consisting of individuals who were not
involved in dealing with your request. The review will be conducted in
accordance with TfL's Internal Review Procedure, which is available via
the following link
[1]http://www.tfl.gov.uk/assets/downloads/f...

Every effort will be made to provide you with a response as soon as
possible and in any event by 23 July 2008. However, if the review will
not be completed by this date, I will contact you and notify you of the
revised response date as soon as possible.

If you would like to discuss this matter further, please contact me on
the number given below.

Matthew Towey | Compliance Advisor
Information Access & Compliance Team | Corporate Governance | Transport
for London
6h Floor, Windsor House, 42-50 Victoria Street, London SW1H 0TL
T: 020 7126 3063/ auto 63063

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References

Visible links
1. http://www.tfl.gov.uk/assets/downloads/f...

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From: Alex Skene

30 June 2008

Dear Mr Towey,

REF: IRV020-0809

Many thanks for your email. Please be aware that I specifically DID
NOT REQUEST an internal review of my FOI request. I quote from my
email of 23 June: "Before I ask for an internal review ..."

I wanted to offer you the chance to reconsider your non-standard
refusal notice informally, so that if an Internal Review was
requested by myself I would able to respond to each exemption as
applied to individual elements of my request if necessary. The FOI
Act only permits the requester to ask for an Internal Review, it
cannot be carried out unilaterally by the public authority.

If you need to carry this out as a formal review in order to follow
your own internal processes, that would be acceptable, but only if
you will then permit me to make a further request for an Internal
Review at a later date if required.

Yours sincerely,

Alex Skene

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From: Towey Matthew
Transport for London

1 July 2008

Dear Mr Skene

Thank you for your e-mail.

It may help if I explain that TfL's process for re-considering refusal
notices is by carrying out a formal internal review of the handling of
the request and any decision to apply an exemption. This is the most
effective way of reviewing requests as it enables an independent panel
to review TfL's handling of the request and determine whether the
request was handled in accordance with the Freedom of Information Act or
Environmental Information Regulations, as appropriate.

Under section 17(7)(a) of the Act any refusal notice issued by TfL must
contain particulars of any procedure provided by TfL for dealing with
complaints about the handling of requests for information. The
"Secretary of State for Constitutional Affairs' Code of Practice on the
discharge of public authorities' functions under Part I of the Freedom
of Information Act 2000" states that any written reply from the
applicant expressing dissatisfaction with an authority's response to a
request for information should be treated as a complaint and handled in
accordance with the authority's complaints procedure. This Code of
Practice can be accessed via the link below

http://www.foi.gov.uk/reference/imprep/c...

In accordance with the approach outlined in the statutory Code of
Practice, TfL will consider whether it was appropriate to exempt the
information held in relation to your request and whether the refusal
notice was issued in accordance with the requirements of the Act. If you
are unhappy with this approach please contact

Richard Bevins
Head of Information Access & Compliance
Transport for London
6th floor, Windsor House
42-50 Victoria Street
London
SW1H 0TL

I hope this information is of assistance.

Kind regards

Matthew Towey | Compliance Adviser
Information Access & Compliance Team | Corporate Governance | Transport
for London
6h Floor, Windsor House, 42-50 Victoria Street, London SW1H 0TL
T: 020 7126 3063/ auto 63063

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From: Mckane Angela
Transport for London

22 July 2008


Attachment 2008.07.22 Refusal Notice.pdf
39K Download View as HTML


Dear Mr. Skene,

Internal Review (Our Ref IRV 020 0809)

Please find attached to this email the outcome of the Internal Review of
the actions and decisions taken in the handling of your recent requests
for information held by Transport for London.

<<2008.07.22_Refusal_Notice.pdf>>

Please don't hesitate to contact me should you wish to discuss or clarify
any aspect of the attached response.

Regards

Angela

Angela McKane
Senior Compliance Adviser
Transport for London
T: 0207 126 4070

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