Technology media outlet Delimiter today revealed it would establish a free file-serving mirror of PDF documents published under Freedom of Information laws by the Attorney-General’s Department and relevant to the technology sector, in the wake of confirmation by the department that it has removed such documents from its website.
Under the Freedom of Information Act, all government departments and agencies covered by the legislation must provide a way for the public to access documents which any party has requested under the legislation. This means that if individuals make FoI requests of government organisations, that that information will eventually reach the public domain and be accessible to all.
Almost all Federal Government organisations — including some government business enterprises such as NBN Co — interpret the act to mean that they must publish documents released under the FoI act in a disclosure log on their website. The Attorney-General’s Department, which contains FoI oversight as part of its portfolio, has historically done this.
However, the department recently removed PDF documents relating to FoI requests from its website, forcing those seeking access to the documents to email or otherwise communicate with it directly. This has substantially reduced access to a number of sensitive documents — via redwolf.newsvine.com