City of London Police reject FOIA request for their dealings with copyright lobbyists


#1

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#2

move along, nothing to see here . . .


#3

Why do the CITY OF LONDON Police have any powers beyond their tiny little corporatocracy? Who do they think they are the FBI.


#4

Judicial review of the City of London police powers, I think. The police need to be held to a high standard and they cannot usurp parliament. Charge the head of the police with using a public office for profit, and use discovery to get their emsils? The way to proceed via FOIA is to ask for a better defined piece of information, eg who wrote the press release, who instigated the policy of investigating copyright claims.


#5

Their fraud squad is effectively national. I served on a jury in a trial related to a fraud where one defendant lived in Greater London and one in Manchester and the victim was in Birmingham- the investigating officer was from the City Police.

As for "elected by the banks with the biggest banks getting the biggest votes", that's a half-truth. As the people who work in the City (several hundred thousand) vastly outnumber those who live in it (fewer than ten thousand), the City is the only part of the UK which still retains the business vote which was abolished elsewhere in the 60s, so that the large numbers of workers can be represented.

However, it's by no means limited to banks- any business or other organisation with premises in the City can appoint voters. And while larger organisations get more voters, it's non-linear- larger companies have a smaller percentage of their workforce able to vote. So while a bank with 2,000 employees in the city can appoint 49 voters, the sole proprietor of a Tube-station newsstand also gets a business vote. It would be interesting to see a breakdown of the City's business vote by sector...


#6

You know, somebody should really invent a way to collect a big pile of documents and use a computer to find just the right one, based on a word or phrase. Maybe they could call it "searching." If only we had the technology, think of the possibilities!


#7

We would all buy their excuse except for the fact that most of us have used a similar BS excuse when we were 16 years old, thinking at the time that it was clever indeed.


#8

Torrentfreak will really have to try harder if they want to get information with a FOI request. It is a rookie mistake to request all the information on all lobbyists for all time because that will automatically generate the response you got. Limit it in some way by the lobbyists or/and by a time period like a financial year so that is does not get an auto fail. To get anywhere you need to punt a few FOI requests at them to test the scale of what you can do and be prepared to appeal any unreasonable rejections.

All they have done here is to fail to find out anything and use that failure to try and make a story. Setting up a straw man is the oldest and laziest trick in the book. Of course if it was their intention to stoke copyright paranoia by deliberately issuing a FOI request that would automatically be rejected and then reporting that “The Man” was covertly in cahoots with copyright lobbyists, then congratulations.


#9

While it is true that crafting a good FOIA request is a subtle art on a good day, and one that requires subtlety, cunning, and overt legal threats on a less good day; does that not strike you as the real problem?

The fact that targeting an FOIA is quite tricky isn't some fact of nature, like burning yourself if you touch hot objects, it's a deliberate product of the incentives and processes that govern FOIA systems. Shockingly enough, those tend not to veer in the direction of 'pleasant, helpful, and obliging'. If you are lucky, it's more like holding a senate hearing with a spook: If you know exactly what question to ask, and how to ask it, you may receive an answer that is strictly true within the context of the question you asked; but if you don't know, good luck. This doesn't exactly help the existing trend of actual interaction with your government being something that is either a full time, slightly obsessive, hobby or something you need a legal team on retainer for.

Aside from that, there's also the consideration that while some 'sunlight' type efforts are quite focused on a specific person, case, interaction, etc. others are essentially 'epidemiological' in approach. Unless there is a single "This Is The Smoking Gun, The One Dirty Deal Where All The Big Players Showed Their Hands", which there typically won't be, your task is much more one of population level survey, trend-spotting, analysis of how influence is transmitted through an organization or organizations, and so on.

This sort of study effectively demands the ability to obtain public records at considerable scale without massive transaction costs. Depending on the (almost certainly horrible) realities of legacy document systems, this may simply not be possible in the immediate term(even with an ample budget and actual goodwill, serious document management and conversion programs are tactical nuclear nightmare fuel, perhaps second only to ERP rollouts); but it must be the goal if 'freedom of information' is to retain and expand its utility.


#10

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