* Posts by Secret geek

16 publicly visible posts • joined 12 Dec 2010

Twin brothers nabbed for scrap over sex with 'shared' girlfriend

Secret geek

I wonder...

... how many people doing Google searches for 'Girlfriend Twin Sex' have found themselves disappointed because of this article?

Making MACH 1: Can we build a cranial computer today?

Secret geek

Nothing really to add except...

... my wife got me a first edition 2000AD for my last birthday.

I'm a very lucky man. :-)

Beware Freedom of Info law 'privacy folktale' - ICO chief

Secret geek

That's not FOIA.

Just for info: Seems either you or Herts Const don't know the difference between DPA (personal information) and FOIA (non-personal information). They can't charge you anything for requesting information from them as long as it doesn't relate to a living individual and won't cost them more than £450 to find and extract it. It also doesn't need to be in hardcopy, email is more than sufficient as long as you use your real name.

It sounds more like that you're requesting personal data (for yourself?) and for this a £10 charge is perfectly legit under DPA and a erquest in hardcopy is necessary along with ID to confirm you are who you say you are.

US tweet deportation: Chilling behind-the-scenes photos

Secret geek

Top stuff gents

And nice use of the underrated Defcon too

Too rude for the road: DVLA hot list of banned numberplates

Secret geek

Seen yesterday...


Nuff said I think.

Rebekah Brooks quits - Murdoch accepts this time

Secret geek

aka Ross Kemp

I saw it was about to kick off...

....so I closed NOTW.

Secret geek

Apples and oranges

For me the main difference between NI and Lulz etc and part of the reason that I can quite happily feel justifiable anger at NI's actions is that Lulz don't spend every second of their existence thinking of ways of trying to sell me more shit.

Secret geek

Oh I'm sorry...

...is one of the most important situations in recent decades in our modern 'democracy' in terms of it's relevance to our political system, the power of the media, the ethics of journalists and our law enforcement officers, the widespread abuse of individuals right to privacy in order to sell papers and the dubious ethical stance of those corporations who own that media and try and sell us their products through it despite their glaring hypocrisy by claiming to be ethical, getting in the way of you wanking in a dark room by yourself is it? For fuck's sake indeed.

FOIA requests climb to levels last seen when Act came in

Secret geek

No s**t

As someone working in the field we recorded an almost 100% increase in requests Jan-Mar this year. It's dropped back a bit now but it's still the highest it's ever been. And with fewer staff to do the same job it's just becoming a 'mare. I love my job but there's plenty of days I think 'Oh just fuck off' when we get another lengthy FOI from a business looking to tout its over priced shit our way.

/end whinge

New Yorkers battle giant blindness-causing plants

Secret geek

Where's my flame thrower?

Just in case Genesis decide to do a remake.

Antarctic ice breakup makes ocean absorb more CO2

Secret geek
Paris Hilton


Are we going to fry, drown or choke? Sorry but I'm still no clearer.

Sarko to use G8 presidency to promote net regulation

Secret geek

Resisting regulation of the internet is also a moral imperative.

Nuff said I think.

NASA craft to woo comet on Valentine's Day

Secret geek


Wouldn't going "head to head with a comet" kind of blow the chance of getting any pictures? Suppose it would double the chances of the next mission spotting a crater though.

Facebook riddled by 'my first ever status message' scam app

Secret geek
Paris Hilton

1 of the stupid people.

Just thought I'd comment as one of the muppets that installed this app. Didn't fill out the survey, just saw it, thought 'arse' and deleted it. Did inspire me to get rid of a whole bunch of other shitty apps that I'd installed over the years though so I suppose it was actually quite useful.

Councils show true grit in the face of ... FOI requests

Secret geek

FOI & Commercial Confidentiality

There appears to be a dearth of actual FOI expertise in these comments so allow me to enlighten you somewhat.

Tthe councils were probably right in that the information requested is the result of individually and confidentially negotiated contracts with suppliers and as such falls under the section 43 exemption (ooh controversial). However, there are a couple of tests that should have been carried out before the exemption to publish is actually applied and I think it might be helpful to have some idea as to what has actualyl occurred.

The first test is the prejudice test. Would release of this information cause harm to the commercial interests of any person or organisation?

Hmmm...well if it's known that one company charges one council one price and another council a different one then there's a good chance that the next time it comes round to negotiating the company is going to find it that much harder to get the higher price from the other council thereby damaging its commerical interests. Alternatively, the company might say 'Fair enough, we'll just charge the higher price.' So the council that paid less now finds itself paying more because of the release, again damage.

Also, the salt supplier is working in a competeitive marketplace. The next time these contracts come up for renewal they're going to be at a significant disadvantage to other salt suppliers due to the fact that they've had their pricing structure splashed all over the place and the others haven't.

Ok, so it seems reasonable to say that there would be harm to someone's commercial interests if this information was released. Test passed.

Next is the 'public interest test'. Basically this is a balancing act to see whether it is in the public interest to release the information anyway DESPITE the harm. Note: This is not the same as what the public is interested in. Now obviously I'm not privy to the arguments put forward but I reckon I can take a fair shot at some of the main ones.

Firstly, factors for maintaining the exemption. This is by no means an exhaustive list.

It is not in the public interest that a company's commercial interest is harmed without very good cause.

It is not in the public interest that a local authority is unable to obtain best value for a product because of a skewed marketplace and the inablility to hold confidential negotiations with suppliers. Possibly resulting in the reluctance of suppliers to compete for work with authorities that then go on to release that information. Less competitiveness = less chance of getting a good deal.

Second, factors against maintaining the exemption.

It is in the public interest that transparency is promoted by releasing information.

The release of this information would inform an ongoing debate on a relevant and significant subject in the public eye.

There is a public interest in the public knowing that there council is getting the absolute best value it can for products it purchases.

Given the signficant sums being spent it is in the public interest to know how it's money is being spent.

Anyway, that's just a few. So, what happens then is that your friendly neighbourhood FOI officer takes a look at all the factors and decides on balance which has the greater weight. Note: If they are equal then the exemption should not be maintained.

Obviously what has occured here is that the authorities have decided that it is not in the public interest for this info to be released in the manner that it has been asked for.

I'm inclined to agree with the councils but you can argue a public interest test like this until the cows slip over.

Now, if they'd asked for last years prices, that'd be a different story.

Anyway, I hope that's enlightened some of as to the mysterious art of the FOIA.

Please continue.

UK government looks for 500MHz spectrum

Secret geek

I created an account specifically...

...to down vote those last three posts. I felt there had to be some pay back for the time I wasted reading them.