Oh ASIC, it just keeps getting worse for you. Not content with accidentally blocking up to 250,000 websites and laughing it off as if of no consequence, it is now entirely evident that they aren’t capable of even keeping records of their mass-blocking escapades.
I made a freedom of information request regarding this incident on the 13 May, the final amended request reads:
- Documents relating to the blocking of, filtering of or interference with the IP address 220.127.116.11, or any websites or services on said IP address; and
- Documents specifying any IP addresses or websites targeted by ASIC for interference, blocking or filtering by the of s313 of the Telecommunications Act, from September 2012 to 21 May, 2013.
Pretty straightforward, right? Surely this is as simple as looking in their database of requests for blocking they’ve made. ASIC, you do have such a database, right? …Right?
Well, after accepting this request as valid on May 31, I receive an email, with a scanned letter in PDF format with the actual content (how is this still okay in 2013?). This letter states:
Pursuant to section 15(5)(b) of the FOI Act, I calculate the date for delivery of my decision to be Monday, 17 June 2013. However, so that I may finalise my decision, and any documents to be released under that decision, I request an extension of time under section 15AA of the FOI Act until Thursday, 20 June 2013 in which to respond to your request.
I would be grateful if you would please advise if you agree to this extension.
Now, I’m rightfully pissed off now. This is a completely straightforward request and leaves only two options:
- They have blocked relatively few sites but are having trouble finding out just how many due to no actual proper record-keeping on this issue; or
- They have blocked so much that just determining if the documents can be released at all is time burdensome.
I do not like either of these options. Both of them stink of incompetence and overreach by a regulatory agency.
I’m a reasonable person, so I respond:
As I believe ample time has been given for what is a rather simple but very important request, I reluctantly consent to your request for an extension to 20 June, but I will not consent to any further extension requests.
Then we hit June 20, and I receive an email from the OAIC. They’ve missed the deadline and want more time.
Dear Mr Molloy
Extension of time request under s15ABOn 20 June 2013 the Australian Securities And Investments Commission requested further time to make a decision on your FOI request of 15 May 2013. This request was on the basis that the processing period is insufficient to deal adequately with your request, because it is complex. The Information Commissioner has decided to grant Australian Securities And Investments Commission an extension of time of eight days for this request, to 28 June 2013. This decision has been made under s15AB(2) of the Freedom of Information Act 1982 (Cth) (the Act).
Review rightsIf you are unhappy with the way we have handled this matter, you may complain to the Commonwealth Ombudsman. This service is free, and you can contact the office on 1300 362 072 or visit www.ombudsman.gov.au. If you would like to discuss this matter you may contact me on (02) 6239 9121 or via email email@example.com. Yours sincerely Elizabeth Zatschler | Investigations Officer Office of the Australian Information Commissioner
So now we wait until June 28 to get a response, and that response could be that they want me to pay money and/or wont give me the documents I’ve asked for. Gotta love the FOI Act.