Who gets to see the confidential UK surveillance annex?
Update: The request was refused: I confirm that the Cabinet Office holds information relevant to your request. I must inform you that the Cabinet Office is withholding this information because it is exempt under the exemption at section 23(1) (Information supplied by, or relating to, bodies dealing with security matters and national security) of the Freedom of Information Act. Section 23 is an absolute exemption; we do not therefore have to apply the public interest test.
Every year the Interception of Communications Commissioner in the UK reviews the interception warrants in the UK (of which there are around 1500 warrants per year), and a small subset of the requests for communications data (of which there are around half a million requests per year). Each report has statements of numbers, value statements about the professionalism of the police, and statements about errors, and problems and then tends to trivialise them. But then each report has a confidential annex.
Considering all the debates going on in the UK about the state of communications surveillance, it is essential to see who has access to this most important confidential annex. After all, it would be a surprise to the Parliamentary process if key Parliamentarians do not have access to this full report and are yet expected to be the key adjudicators of what is necessary in a democratic society. This is why we are looking forward to the response to our FOI request to the Prime Minister's Office, due by August 28, 2012.