Internal and external correspondence regarding case F0063641

FOI request reference: CAS-66378-Q5P3T9
Publication date: February 2021

Request
I am pleased that you have provided a copy of the document but remain dismayed that it was ever subject to any limitation on is publication and am rather confused about the involvement of the department of Culture Media and Sport. Therefore, please take this as a further FOI request for all internal and external correspondence concerning the FOI request no. F0063641.

Outcome
Some information provided.

Response
All emails related to FOI request F0063431 have been compiled in the attached PDF.

We are unable to provide you with some of the information you have requested because it is covered by the exemption at section 31 of the FOI Act, which exempts information if its disclosure is likely to prejudice the prevention or detection of crime.

In addition, some of the information is covered by the exemption at section 40(2) of the FOIA. This exempts the release of personal information where the applicant is not the data subject.

EXPLANATORY ANNEX
Exemptions applied.

Section 31: Law Enforcement
We are unable to provide you with some information that reveals specific software brands because this information is exempt from disclosure under section 31 (1)(a) of the FOI Act. Section 31 (1)(a) exempts information if its disclosure is likely to prejudice the prevention or detection of crime.

Section 31 is a qualified exemption and we are required to conduct a public interest test when applying any qualified exemption. This means that after it has been decided that the exemption is engaged, the public interest in releasing the information must be considered. If the public interest in disclosing the information outweighs the public interest in withholding it then the exemption does not apply and the information must be released. In the FOI Act there is a presumption that information should be released unless there are compelling reasons to withhold it.

The public interest has now been concluded and the balance of the public interest has been found to fall in favour of withholding information covered by the section 31(1)(a) exemption. Considerations in favour of the release of the information included the principle that there is a public interest in transparency and accountability in disclosing information about government procedure and contracts. However, release of this information would make The National Archives more vulnerable to crime. The crime in question here would be a malicious attack on The National Archives’ computer systems. As such release of this information would be seen to prejudice the prevention or detection of crime by making The National Archives’ computer system more vulnerable to hacking.

There is an overwhelming public interest in keeping government computer systems secure which would be served by non-disclosure. This would outweigh any benefits of release. It has therefore been decided that the balance of the public interest lies clearly in favour of withholding the material on this occasion.

Further guidance on section 31 can be found here:
https://ico.org.uk/media/for-organisations/documents/1207/law-enforcement-foi-section-31.pdf

Section 40(2): Personal Information where the applicant is not the data subject
The Data Protection Legislation prevents personal information from release if it would be unfair or at odds with the reason why it was collected, or where the subject had officially served notice that releasing it would cause them damage or distress.

In this case the exemption applies because the information contains the identities and contact details of National Archives staff as well as colleagues from DCMS and the Metropolitan Police Service.

Further guidance on section 40 can be found here:
http://ico.org.uk/for_organisations/guidance_index/~/media/documents/library/Freedom_of_Information/Detailed_specialist_guides/personal-information-section-40-and-regulation-13-foia-and-eir-guidance.pdf