Cabinet Office Cover Up Taxpayer-Funded MacBook Splurge

big ben apple

Nearly all the civil servants in the Cabinet Office who were offered a free laptop on the taxpayer chose an Apple MacBook Air. But they don’t want you to know it…

2000 staff were given a choice between a selection of either a premium MacBook or a less top-of-the-range Dell or Lenovo laptop, as part of the Cabinet Office’s Choose Your Own Device scheme. Unsurprisingly, Techno heard on the grapevine that most staff plumped for the £849 13″ MacBook Air. Yet the Cabinet Office are refusing to answer our FoI requesting a breakdown of the figures, spuriously claiming that it would be “inappropriate” to indicate “favouritism“:

“Section 43 is engaged on the basis that this IT devices is a hotly contested digital market. It would be inappropriate for HMG to provide any indication of favouritism or indicate that another product is inferior it would have an effect on the market. The release of information concerning the number of staff choosing each laptop could have a direct impact on the ability of suppliers to compete on a level playing field in current and future commercial activities; Preserving relationships of trust and confidence and the free flow of information between the government and suppliers is paramount. The disclosure of the requested information against the wishes of the suppliers would jeopardise this relationship, which is fundamentally important in maintaining for the most effective delivery of public services. After weighing up the competing public interest considerations, we have determined that the balance of public interest is in favour of withholding the requested information.”

Which is the most comical FoI response Guido has had in a while. So much for the new age of openness and transparency… 

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Quote of the Day

Dr Alexander Kogan, the app developer who originally harvested the Facebook data, said…

“I think what Cambridge Analytica has tried to sell is magic and made claims this is incredibly accurate and it tells you everything there is to tell about you. But I think the reality is it’s not that. If you sit down and you really work through the statistics and you think what does a correlation of point three means, those claims quickly fall apart. And that’s something any person with a statistical background can go and do.”


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