Parliament Makes Up National Security Excuse to Block Porn Site FoI

In another sign that the Freedom of Information Act has been furloughed, Parliament has refused to publish data revealing how often porn websites were visited on the parliamentary estate. They claim this refusal is on “national security” grounds, despite having previously published said data in 2013, 2015, and 2018. The Independent, who submitted the freedom of information request following the Neil Parish scandal, were told by Parliamentary authorities that not only would the request not be answered, they’ve retroactively deleted the previous disclosures from its website. Even No. 10, hardly keen answerers of FoI requests, was happy to publish their figures in 2021, with no such ‘national security’ concerns…

According to the full response, there is a legitimate public interest in the House of Commons being open and transparent”, however:

“disclosure of this information would cause substantial risks to the parliamentary network as it would aid malicious groups in their efforts to target the network” as “both the disclosure of either specific web addresses, categories that are blocked, or totals relating to attempts or access, could provide valuable information to those wishing to bypass our security systems”.

They claim this is because publishing the information “would make the extent of the Parliamentary Network’s blocking and filtering policies public knowledge”. Absolutely laughable…

mdi-timer 16 June 2022 @ 10:37 16 Jun 2022 @ 10:37 mdi-twitter mdi-facebook mdi-whatsapp mdi-telegram mdi-linkedin mdi-email mdi-comment View Comments
NEW: Bank of England’s ‘Inclusive’ Rebrand Cost Taxpayers Over £51,000

A Freedom of Information (FoI) request by Guido has uncovered the total cost of last month’s Bank of England “inclusive” logo and font rebrand was – and brace yourself for this – £51,694.49. The public sector Bank of England must be made of money…

The rebrand, which included a new Britannia logo, font, “photography for the visual identity” and a film about the new rebrand, broke down as follows:

  • Design of Britannia symbol: £6,720.00 – Epic Icons
  • Photography for the visual identity: £14,809.27 – Lee Funnell
  • Font design and licence of usage: £22,337.22 – Monotype Limited
  • Animation guidelines and film: £7,728 – RedSofa

As part of the FoI, Guido also asked for the Bank to specify exactly what about their new Britannia they claim to be more inclusive – beyond it now bearing a striking resemblance to Nicola Sturgeon.

Their answer is as follows:

  • “Our new Britannia symbol is now readable for mobile users and also better reflects our current mission and values
  • The key changes we have made are to replace the St George’s Cross on the shield with a Union Flag, and to remove the coins (the latter also helps us to increase the size of the Britannia within the symbol)”

Thank goodness the St George’s cross and the pile of cash is now gone. Those would have been an outrageously anachronistic logo choice for the, errrm, Bank of England…

mdi-timer 5 April 2022 @ 14:27 5 Apr 2022 @ 14:27 mdi-twitter mdi-facebook mdi-whatsapp mdi-telegram mdi-linkedin mdi-email mdi-comment View Comments
Parliament’s Penny-Pinching Pandemic Fight

Guido must congratulate the Houses of Parliament for being one of the few examples of public sector frugality in fighting Covid. After reporting on Lindsay Hoyle’s new Covid testing centre that had been set up for Peers, MPs and staffers, an FoI was promptly lodged asking about its total cost, which has now been revealed to have come to just £1,691 of Commons cash. Further, no extra staff have were hired to administer the tests, with nine existing staff being redeployed. If Rishi wants to start saving money after the government’s Covid battle, he should consider putting Sir Lindsay in charge of test and trace…

mdi-timer 3 March 2021 @ 10:46 3 Mar 2021 @ 10:46 mdi-twitter mdi-facebook mdi-whatsapp mdi-telegram mdi-linkedin mdi-email mdi-comment View Comments
Sadiq’s £100,000 for Black Lives Matter Group Behind Police Station Blockade

New FoI data shows Sadiq Khan has ploughed £100,000 of taxpayers money into a group that laid siege to a police station during last year’s Black Lives Matter protests. The 4Front Project, based in Barnet, was set up in 2012 to tackle “serious youth violence”, however the arrest of a 14-year-old carrying 13 bags of suspected cannabis led to a major protest led by the group, during which young men “obstructed a police vehicle from leaving the scene”. Numerous officers were injured in skirmishes led by 30-40 protestors…

According to FoI data, the Mayor’s “Violence Reduction Unit Community Seed Fund” dished out £50,000 to 4Front in 2019/20, and £46,042 in 2018/19 in the hope of delivering ” a youth-led intervention project for 100 young people involved in and affected by serious youth violence” on a local estate.

During the blockade, 4Front director Temi Mwale used a megaphone to berate officers:

“We tried to de-escalate the situation, I actually think it was going well,” she said. “But at some point, someone… decided it would be appropriate to send four, five huge vans full of hundreds of you, to start dragging community workers across the floor.”

Sadiq’s now hiring a man who yelled at the Queen to judicate on statues, and giving money to an organisation behind an anti-police demonstration to reduce youth violence…

mdi-timer 15 February 2021 @ 14:00 15 Feb 2021 @ 14:00 mdi-twitter mdi-facebook mdi-whatsapp mdi-telegram mdi-linkedin mdi-email mdi-comment View Comments
BBC’s Employee Covid Tag Splurge

Readers revelled in Guido’s coverage of the BBC’s harebrained decision to introduced restriction-enforcing bracelet tags for employees to keep them two metres apart. Not only did the BBC introduce the enforcement measures, Guido can reveal the BBC’s invested in 2,250 such devices.

The corporation tried dodging an FoI request to know how much money was spent, however the Manchester Evening Gazette last year reported the devices from Tended “is expected to be between £8-£12 per user per month“, meaning licence fee payers could be forking out £27,000 per month for the devices. Evidently the public sector has not had to tighten its belt during this pandemic…

mdi-timer 3 February 2021 @ 15:52 3 Feb 2021 @ 15:52 mdi-twitter mdi-facebook mdi-whatsapp mdi-telegram mdi-linkedin mdi-email mdi-comment View Comments
Taxpayers Cough Up £160,000 for FCDO Re-Brand

While the total cost of the FCO/DfID merger will end up being in the millions, FOI figures seen by Guido show the basic cost of rebranding and rolling out the department’s new name (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office) rounds up to an eye watering £160,000. Guido imagines taxpayers might feel a bit FCDOff about that cost…

While the new logo came to just £429 + VAT thanks to the government’s in-house design agency, it’s been estimated by the department that the cost of implementing the logo – including their shiny new Whitehall brass plaque and stationery – will hit £158,631 by the end of 2020/21. Given the UK still gives aid money to foreign powers with nuclear weapons programmes, the department’s new stationery splurge comes in as a relatively minor waste of taxpayer cash…

mdi-timer 7 December 2020 @ 15:00 7 Dec 2020 @ 15:00 mdi-twitter mdi-facebook mdi-whatsapp mdi-telegram mdi-linkedin mdi-email mdi-comment View Comments
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