When the Irish government updated its Freedom of Information law, it promised something fit for the computer era. To say it did not deliver is rather an understatement.
The new bill (PDF) says: "the FOI body shall take reasonable steps to search for and extract the records to which the request relates, having due regard to the steps that would be considered reasonable if the records were held in paper format."
Get that? The standard for whether a FOI request is reasonable is whether it would be easy to get if the records were on paper and in a filing cabinet. If the records can be retrieved from a database with one click, but would take a hundred years with a filing cabinet, then the records can remain secret forever, because clicking once is deemed unreasonable.
As Simon McGarr puts it: "The Irish State wishes to uninvent computers.
The Explanatory Memo which the Government published to go with the Bill is more explicit about the government’s intent.
Bodies are required to take reasonable steps to search for and extract such data (analogous to the steps that would be considered reasonable if such a record was held in paper form)
When he was launching the Bill Minister Brendan Howlin had this to say:
“the current legislation was essentially designed to deal primarily with paper records and the legislative framework for FOI needs to be updated to reflect the transformation that has taken place in ICT since that time
Now we know he meant that special laws to allow the state to pretend that the ICT transformation never happened should be brought in. Civil servants are to be empowered to pretend that computers haven’t been invented and all their records are paper ones.
The Irish State wishes to uninvent computers with new FOI Bill
The Sheffield-based experimental music act 65daysofstatic has a new album coming out in September, called "Replicr, 2019." Today, the band began its launch publicity by releasing a video from the album, only to have the video blocked on multiple services by copyright bots working on behalf of Sony, which distributed the band's label, Superball.
Alan Wendt writes, "Detroit commissioners arrested the police commissioner Willie Burton during a public meeting because he wouldn't stop talking about the secret meetings where the commission decided to install facial recognition systems."
New Orleans is festooned with police cameras, the legacy of a secret partnership with the surveillance contractor Palantir, which used New Orleans as a covert laboratory for predictive policing products.
Looking to upgrade that old laptop or tablet? Holiday sales may be way on the horizon, but there’s an even better way to get like-new tech for a steal. Here are 10 of our favorite deals on personal computers and gaming gear – refurbished, renewed or brand new. Acer Touchscreen 11′ Chromebook 16GB (Certified Refurbished) […]
Vape technology has been around long enough that vapers are starting to get picky about their gear. Luckily, so are we. From disposable models to cutting-edge touchscreen atomizers, there’s a vaporizer in this roundup to suit every taste. Hera 2 – World’s Most Advanced Dual-Use Vaporizer Choose between dry herb or oil extraction modes – […]
With enough practice and commitment, anyone can be a visual artist. But without the right instruction, that time spent honing your skills could seem like an eternity. If you really want to see where your talent can take you, you need sound fundamentals – and no matter what discipline or genre you lean toward, the […]