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Interception of Communications - Department of Communications

Interception of Communications - Department of Communications

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Published by TJ McIntyre
These are documents held by the Irish Department of Communications relating to the interception of communications, which were released under the Freedom of Information Act.
These are documents held by the Irish Department of Communications relating to the interception of communications, which were released under the Freedom of Information Act.

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Published by: TJ McIntyre on Oct 06, 2011
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10/06/2011

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An Roinn Cumarsaide,Fuinnimh agus Acmhainni NadurthaBaile Atha Cliath 2.Department of Communications,Energy and Natural ResourcesDublin 2.
 ) . . . . . l
September 2011Mr. T J McIntyreDigital Rights Ireland
Ltd
Dear Mr. McIntyre1refer further to your recent request under section 7 of the Freedom ofInformation Act 1997 and2003 requesting records relating to the lawful interception and illegal interception ocommunications. I wish to advise that following consideration of the matter I have decided to partgrant your request.With regard to that part of your request for all records from 1 January 2001 onwards held by theDepartment relating to either (a) the lawful interception of communications, or(b) legislative measures intended to address the unlawful interception of communications, and inparticular the matters set out in paragraphs 1 and 5 of your request, I would advise as follows.Lawful interception is governed by the provisions of the Interception of Postal Packets andTelecommunications Messages (Regulation) Act 1993. Section 12 of that Act restricts thedisclosure of the existence of authorisations to the minimum necessary, where 'necessary' meansnecessary for the purpose of the prevention or detection of serious offences or in the interests of the security of the State. Section 32(1)(a) of the Freedom ofInformation Act 1997, as amended,provides that a request for access shall be refused if, inter alia, the disclosure of the recordconcerned is prohibited by any enactment, other than a provision specified in the Third Scheduleof the Freedom of Information Act, as amended. As the Interception of Postal Packets andTelecommunications Messages (Regulation) Act 1993 is not listed in the Third Schedule, accessto any records in respect of lawful interceptions is refused, by virtue of section 12 of the 1993 Actand under section 32(1)(a) of the Freedom ofInformation Act, as amended.In reaching my decision to refuse these parts of your request, I am also relying on the followingsections of the Freedom of Information Act and am of the opinion that revealing information inrespect of interceptions would be prejudicial to the public interest:-Sections 23(1)(a)(i), 23(1)(a)(ii), 23(1)(a)(iii), 23(1)(aa), 23(1)(c) andSections 24(1)(a), 24(1)(b), 24(2)(a)(i) and 24(2)(a)(ii).In reaching my decision I have also taken into account the provisions of section 23(2) and 24(3)of the Freedom of Information Act, as amended, which precludes me from disclosing theexistence or non existence of records to which section 23(1) and 24(1) of the Act applies.
29-31 Adelaide Road, Dublin 229-31 B6thar AdelaideBaile Atha Cliath 2Tel: +353 1 678 2000LoCal!: 1890 44 99 00Fax: +353 1 678 2449
 
With regard to paragraph (2) of your letter, I should advise you that this Department does nothold any records in relation to the matters referred to in subparagraphs 2(c) to (g). Accordingly,this part of your request is refused in accordance with section 10(1)(a) of the Freedom of Information Act, as amended.In relation to subparagraphs (2)(a), (2)(b) and (2)(h) of your request, I am refusing access to theserecords under section 20(1) of the Freedom ofInformation Act 1997, as amended given that suchrecords contain matters relating to the deliberative process of a public body and having regard tosection 20(3) it is my opinion that the public interest would not be better served by granting therequest.With regard to the ePrivacy Directive and various Statutory Instruments transposing thisDirective, I would advise that Article 5.1 of the Directive refers to interception or surveillance of communications and prior to the introduction of S.1. No. 337 of 2011, this was deemed to betransposed by section 98 of the Postal and Telecommunication Services Act 1983 as amended.Following revisions to the ePrivacy Directive, S.1. No. 337 of 2011was introduced in July 2011.In addition to section 98 of the 1983 Act, Regulation 5(1) of S.1. No. 337 of 2011 directlytransposes the provisions of the Directive.As regards subparagraph (2)(h), I can advise that the recently enacted CommunicationsRegulation (Postal Services) Act, 2011, puts in place a robust regulatory framework for the postalmarket which has been open to competition since the 1
sl
of January 2011 under the Third PostalServices Directive, 2008/6/EC. Section 54 of that Act,
Ministerial Directions to postal service providers,
extends the application of interception provisions to all postal service providers.I have decided to grant your request for access to records referred to in paragraph (3) of yourletter and in this regard attached a Schedule and associated documents.Finally, in relation to your request referred to in paragraph (4), I should advise you that"telephone hacking" is a matter for the Department of Justice and Equality and would suggestthat you contact that Department regarding records relating to this matter.I wish to advise you that if for any reason you are not satisfied with the outcome of your requestyou are entitled to seek a review by appealing the decision. To appeal, you need to write to the:-FOI UnitDepartment of Communications, Energy and Natural ResourcesElm House, Earlsvale RoadCavanYou must make you appeal within 4 weeks of the date of this letter but the making of a lateappeal may be permitted in certain circumstances. The review will involve a completereconsideration of the matter by a more senior member of staff of this Department.Please note that an application fee for an appeal is currently €75.00 and a reduced fee of €25.00applies if you are covered by a medical card. If claiming a reduced application fee, the requestmust be accompanied byThe medical card registration numberThe name of the issuing Health BoardYour consent to the verification of these details with that Health Board
 
Payments should be made by way of bank draft, money postal order or personal cheque madepayable to "Department of Communications, Energy and Natural Resources". On receipt of thefee you will be advised of when you can expect a decision on your appeal and the contact detailsof the person handling the appeal.Yours sincerely
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Barbara LeesonCommunications Policy DivisionPhone: 01 6782293

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