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Thursday, 1 December 2016

BBC Finally Releases Awkward FOI Response About Damage Limitation

It turns out we were right.

Information finally released by the BBC confirms that its arse did go into the spasm the moment it realised that some half wit, who is probably reading this right now, had inadvertently publicised vast swathes of its TV Licensing secrets.

The aforementioned half wit now faces hours of retraining on "the safe redaction of documents and the use of Adobe redaction software". There's nothing like closing the stable door after the horse has bolted.

The BBC went into immediate damage limitation mode and started to anticipate awkward questions the media might pose in the wake of its recent Freedom of Information blunder. For convenience you can view the BBC's rehearsed responses to those questions here.

In scenes reminiscent of a Points Of View complaint, the BBC is apparently less concerned about its own incompetent cock-up and more concerned about the fact that someone (the TV Licensing Blog and others) has dared to notice and mention it.

The BBC willingly released the offending material in response to what it knew was a public request. It cannot blame anyone else for the fact that information is now available for public scrutiny and commentary. Had the boot been on the other foot and sensitive information had landed in the lap of Panorama, then you can be entirely confident the BBC would have reported the fact.

Thanks to the BBC's latest response to Doug Paulley, we now know that there are further revelations in the TV Licensing Monthly Performance Pack for March 2015 that it would rather weren't highlighted to the public.

We now intend to revisit that document and go through it with a very fine tooth comb.

Stay tuned.

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Columbo from No. 5 said...

I love the printed and scanned documents with handwritten S40(2) notes. Problem with Adobe, chaps? *guffaw*

Fred Bear said...

One thing's for certain - The BBC are really big fans of your blog!

TVL178 said...

Just a small point that occurred to me when reading the FOI release. The BBC appears to have copied wholesale article(s) from your website and disseminated them by email internally. Could this perhaps be a breach of your copyright? Not sure they could claim the journalism exemption for that. Perhaps you would like to send them a cease and desist notice? Or better still, repeated "threatograms" about copyright infringement...

Admin said...

The BBC routinely grazes the web for material it can utilise in its output (or steal, depending on your perspective).
We spend a lot of time encouraging people to share and discuss our articles, so can't really complain at the BBC doing so.

Fred Bear said...

Hmmm 20,000 WOIRAs and around 100 search warrants per year. Even if every WOIRA address is targeted for a search warrant, which is by some miracle granted, it would take 200 years to visit each address.

Fred Bear said...

Just had another look through the released correspondence. In document 1 it is said in relation to WOIRAs:

“If asked about this information (16k addresses suppressed from visiting in March 2015) we would say: If individuals withdraw the right of access to visit, TV Licensing will use detection on those addresses”

Note the use of the word "will". Who are they kidding? Or perhaps they do not understand the legal use of surveillance?

Admin said...

Good spot.
In non-BBC speak: If asked about the massive number of WOIRA, we would simply lie and say we'd used detection.