KiwiRail GeVIS Access

Cody C made this Official Information request to KiwiRail

The request was refused by KiwiRail.

From: Cody C

Dear KiwiRail,

I am requesting all information relating to the GeVIS system and that the service be made available to the public due to a greater public safety interest in accordance with the Official Information Act 1982.

For the purposes of the Act, I am a New Zealand citizen and residing in New Zealand at the time of making this request. You generally have 20 working days to respond to this notice, as required by law. Your response will be published publicly on the fyi.org.nz website.

Yours faithfully,

Cody C

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From: Louise Jago
KiwiRail


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Good morning Cody

 

We acknowledge receipt of the below Official Information Act 1982 request.

 

Under the Act, KiwiRail has up to 20 working days from the date of
receiving your request to respond.  Therefore, you can expect a response
on or before Tuesday 24 May 2016.

 

This calculation takes into account KiwiRail receiving your request on the
ANZAC statutory holiday.

 

We will be in touch with you if it is necessary to clarify any aspect of
your request.

 

Kind regards

Louise

 

Louise Jago | Communications Co-ordinator

Ph: +64-4-498 3372 (internal extn 43372) | Fax: +64-4-473 1589 | Mob:
+64-027 407 1718
Level 4, Wellington Railway Station, Bunny Street, Wellington 6011 | PO
Box 593, Wellington 6140, New Zealand

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From: Louise Jago
KiwiRail


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Good afternoon Cody

 

The scope of your request for ”all information relating to the GeVIS
system” is very broad.  To help us process your request can you please
specify the type of information you are seeking or the areas you are
interested in.

 

We look forward to hearing from you.

 

Feel free to contact us if you have any questions regarding this.

 

Regards

Louise

 

Louise Jago | Communications Co-ordinator

Ph: +64-4-498 3372 (internal extn 43372) | Fax: +64-4-473 1589 | Mob:
+64-027 407 1718
Level 4, Wellington Railway Station, Bunny Street, Wellington 6011 | PO
Box 593, Wellington 6140, New Zealand

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From: Louise Jago
Sent: Tuesday, 26 April 2016 10:49 a.m.
To: '[OIA #3924 email]'
Subject: RE: Official Information Act request - KiwiRail GeVIS Access

 

Good morning Cody

 

We acknowledge receipt of the below Official Information Act 1982 request.

 

Under the Act, KiwiRail has up to 20 working days from the date of
receiving your request to respond.  Therefore, you can expect a response
on or before Tuesday 24 May 2016.

 

This calculation takes into account KiwiRail receiving your request on the
ANZAC statutory holiday.

 

We will be in touch with you if it is necessary to clarify any aspect of
your request.

 

Kind regards

Louise

 

Louise Jago | Communications Co-ordinator

Ph: +64-4-498 3372 (internal extn 43372) | Fax: +64-4-473 1589 | Mob:
+64-027 407 1718
Level 4, Wellington Railway Station, Bunny Street, Wellington 6011 | PO
Box 593, Wellington 6140, New Zealand

[2]Description: Description: KiwiRail Logo email

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From: Cody C

Dear Louise Jago,

It is my intention to request that access to the GeVIS system is opened to the public.

Yours sincerely,

Cody C

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From: Louise Jago
KiwiRail

Thank you for your clarification Cody.

We will respond in due course.

Regards
Louise

Louise Jago | Communications Co-ordinator
Ph: +64-4-498 3372 (internal extn 43372) | Fax: +64-4-473 1589 | Mob: +64-027 407 1718
Level 4, Wellington Railway Station, Bunny Street, Wellington 6011 | PO Box 593, Wellington 6140, New Zealand

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From: Louise Jago
KiwiRail


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Dear Cody

 

We are writing in response to your Official Information Act 1982 request
received on 26 April 2016 (25 April being ANZAC Day) for the following:

“I am requesting all information relating to the GeVIS system and that the
service be made available to the public due to a greater public safety
interest in accordance with the Official Information Act 1982.”

 

The scope of your request was too broad and we asked you to clarify it
which you redefined to:

“It is my intention to request that access to the GeVIS system is opened
to the public.”

 

GeVIS is a KiwiRail operational tool which is designed for rail network
users to assist them while working in and around the rail corridor.

 

It is not designed for public use and for safety reasons KiwiRail
considers it would not be in the public interest to have open access to
it.  In our view, that could lead to information being misinterpreted so
we are not considering making this system available outside of the current
users.

 

KiwiRail has a 0800 number (0800 801 070) and an email address
([1][KiwiRail request email]) that the public can use to ask questions or
express concerns about the rail network.

 

Under s28(3) of the Act, you have the right to seek an investigation and
review of this response by way of complaint to the Ombudsman.  Refer to
[2]www.ombudsman.govt.nz for more information.

 

Regards

Louise

 

Louise Jago | Communications Co-ordinator

Ph: +64-4-498 3372 (internal extn 43372) | Fax: +64-4-473 1589 | Mob:
+64-027 407 1718
Level 4, Wellington Railway Station, Bunny Street, Wellington 6011 | PO
Box 593, Wellington 6140, New Zealand

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Backbone of integrated transport networks

 

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From: Cody C

Dear Louise Jago,

Can you please clarify which section of the Act that this request has been rejected under? Additionally, is access to the GeVIS system only provided exclusively to selected KiwiRail employees for their essential businesses purposes?

It has come to my attention that parties external to KiwiRail have been provided with access to the GeVIS system without a genuine business reason.

Yours sincerely,

Cody C

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From: Louise Jago
KiwiRail

Good afternoon Cody

We are responding to your email dated 23 May 2016.

KiwiRail has not rejected your OIA. Your redefined question was not a request for information and so is not subject to the OIA.

As explained in our response GeVIS is not publicly available and KiwiRail has no intention of changing the status of that.

KiwiRail’s policy outlines to external users that access is limited to conducting KiwiRail business and only used in a secure, ethical and lawful manner in accordance with the Internet Use and E Commerce Standards.

Regards
Louise

Louise Jago | Communications Co-ordinator
Ph: +64-4-498 3372 (internal extn 43372) | Fax: +64-4-473 1589 | Mob: +64-027 407 1718
Level 4, Wellington Railway Station, Bunny Street, Wellington 6011 | PO Box 593, Wellington 6140, New Zealand

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From: Cody C

Dear Louise Jago,

To say that "Your redefined question was not a request for information and so is not subject to the OIA." is wholly incorrect. Ordinarily this would be treated as a new request for information under the Act.

I would strongly advise you to reconsider my request with the original questions that I have asked. To do otherwise risks me needing to refer the matter to the Ombudsman, wasting both of our own time. It is my understanding that the Ombudsman has previously advised affected parties that any request for information be treated as a request under the Act.

Yours sincerely,

Cody C

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From: Louise Jago
KiwiRail

Good morning Cody

Thank you for your email.

We will respond in due course.

Regards
Louise

Louise Jago | Communications Co-ordinator
Ph: +64-4-498 3372 (internal extn 43372) | Fax: +64-4-473 1589 | Mob: +64-027 407 1718
Level 4, Wellington Railway Station, Bunny Street, Wellington 6011 | PO Box 593, Wellington 6140, New Zealand

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From: Louise Jago
KiwiRail

Good afternoon Cody

We write in reply to your email dated 18 June 2016.

We have explained in previous correspondence what the GeVis service provides and why it's use is restricted. GeVis is an operational tool designed for rail network users to assist them while working in and around the rail corridor. It is not designed for public use, and for safety reasons KiwiRail considers it would not be in the public interest to have open access to it. In our view it could lead to information being misinterpreted so we are not considering making this system available outside of the current users.

We believe the above explains why access to the GeVis is not open to the public.

It remains our considered view that your redefined question does not constitute a request for information under the Official Information Act.

Under s28(3) of the Act, you have the right to seek an investigation and review of this response by way of complaint to the Ombudsman. Refer to www.ombudsman.govt.nz for more information.

Regards
Louise

Louise Jago | Communications Co-ordinator
Ph: +64-4-498 3372 (internal extn 43372) | Fax: +64-4-473 1589 | Mob: +64-027 407 1718
Level 4, Wellington Railway Station, Bunny Street, Wellington 6011 | PO Box 593, Wellington 6140, New Zealand

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Tony Randle left an annotation ()

Note KiwiRail appears to have breached the OIA in refusing to the provide the specific grounds under the OIA they are relying on to withhold the requested information.
This requirement is clearly outlined in the "Communicating the decision" section of the guide "The OIA for Ministers and agencies"
(http://www.ombudsman.parliament.nz/syste...) and includes the following:
"If the decision is to refuse the request, reasons must be given for that decision. This means that you must refer to the particular subsection relied on under the OIA to refuse the request. If the reason for refusal is found in section 9 of the OIA, it is also good practice to clearly identify the public interest considerations favouring release, and to give your reasons for concluding that the public interest in release does not outweigh the need to withhold.

The OIA also requires agencies to provide the grounds for relying on the relevant subsection, if the requester asks for them (See s 19(a)(ii) OIA.)."

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From: Cody C

Dear Louise Jago,

It is with concern that I note that Kiwirail may have breached the Official Information Act in failing to communicate the section of the Act used to refuse my request. Additionally, one does not have to specify that they are making an Official Information Act requests in order for it to be treated as such.

Please provide the section of the Act relevant to the refusal of my request.

Yours sincerely,

Cody C

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From: OCU
KiwiRail

Good morning Cody

Thank you for your email.

Your email will be forwarded to the appropriate person to review and action.

Regards,
Official Correspondence Unit
KiwiRail

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Luke left an annotation ()

Even if they find a withholding provision in the Act it is not going to help move this request forward. It's clear from the responses that KiwiRail does not understand how to apply the Act and any further correspondence will just exhaust both parties. You have already given them an opportunity to reconsider, and seeking another reconsideration a year from the original request probably won't be enough to change their stance.

Yes the information would be "held" for the purposes of the Act and yes they should have stated the reason (the particular withholding provision) they are relying on.

As I understand it, you are asking for open access for the public, to an interactive online map showing KiwiRail vehicles and trains within the KiwiRail network, which is currently accessed only by parties authorised by KiwiRail such as contractors. As I also understand, this is analogous to knowing the precise location of other forms of transport within New Zealand's borders, e.g. motor vehicles (such as buses), airplanes, or ships. Neither of which are currently readily accessible to the public. However that may be because the technology/data are not publicly owned and therefore not releasable under the OIA.

In a networked world, an autonomous car may be required to rely on 100% accurate location information for a train.

The more pertinent issues are understanding Kiwirail's concerns and whether there are options for a way forward. Some considerations relate to:

1. how accurate the information is in GeVIS is. The GeVis mobile user request form states that the information is not 100% accurate and "some trains may be present that do not appear on the Gevis map". What is the risk of harm (injuries or fatalities) occurring? If contractors and suppliers are reliably using the maps without any harm occurring to them, then could the public also rely on the same data with no harm?

2. What are the risks from misuse of the information? For example, will people try to beat the train in some way?

2. KiwiRail's concern about "misinterpretation" of the information. This needs to be more fully understood. It may relate to the public "misinterpreting" the map as being correct 100% of the time. Is the information accurate most of the time? If so, a disclaimer could be provided.

The ombudsman would consider those issues and more. I would encourage you to ask the Ombudsman to review Kiwirail's decision. It will take some time, but you have already waited a while in any case.

You should explain to the Ombudsman why you want the database to be publicly accessible and how it increases the overall wellbeing of the public (i.e. how making it open promotes the public interest).

http://www.learnz.org.nz/location162/mee...

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From: OCU
KiwiRail

Dear Cody

Thank you for your email of 21 March 2017 regarding our response to your request dated 26 April 2016.

There were two parts to your original request. The first part was for information about the GeVIS system, and the second part was a request that the system be made available to the public.

We then asked you to clarify your request, as there would be a lot of information in scope of the first part. You clarified it as follows:

‘It is my intention to request that access to the GeVIS system is opened to the public’.

We have provided you with information about the GeVIS system, as requested. However, your request that KiwiRail should allow people to have access to the GeVIS system was not a request for official information, and that is why we did not respond to it by referring to relevant sections of the Official Information Act 1982 (the Act).

On 23 May 2016 you sent us an email querying our response. In our reply to you we explained that, because your request had not been for official information, we had not responded to it under the Official Information Act.

In your email of 21 March you say that requesters do not have to specify that they are making an Official Information Act request in order for it to be treated as such. This is correct, but as explained earlier, a request that a system be made open to the public is not a request for official information and cannot be answered under the Act.

We hope that this clarifies the situation. Thank you again for your email.

Regards,
Official Correspondence Unit
KiwiRail

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Tony Randle left an annotation ()

IMHO this Kiwirail response could be, arguably, correct, although Kiwirail has been most unhelpful in assisting the requester (esp. taking a month to respond each time).

When you complained Kiwirail then stated (Louise Jago, KiwiRail, May 27, 2016) "KiwiRail has not rejected your OIA. Your redefined question was not a request for information and so is not subject to the OIA."

However, the response referred to (Louise Jago, KiwiRail, May 06, 2016) includes the statement:
"Under s28(3) of the Act, you have the right to seek an investigation and review of this response by way of complaint to the Ombudsman. Refer to [2]www.ombudsman.govt.nz for more information."

So the KiwiRail seemed to think their response that they later claimed was not subject to the OIA WAS subject to the OIA in the response itself. If it wasn't subject to the OIA, then why did the same response advise you of your right to complain which is a requirement of the OIA Act that your response was apparently not subject too ?

Confused?

They probably should have come back to you saying your response (Cody C, April 26, 2016) did not assist them in understanding how you wanted to refine your request to one where the GeVIS information could be provided (or more likely refused).

Perhaps start again with a more benign and positive request about GeVIS which could something like "Please can I have a copy of the document or documents that outline the information held in this system, its accuracy and how frequently it is updated?"

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Luke left an annotation ()

1. KiwiRail have interpreted your OIA request to be a request to open up the GeVIS system to the public rather than requesting the information in GeVIS. I can understand how they came to that conclusion because you "request that access to the GeVIS system is opened to the public."

2. So can a request to open a system to the public be an OIA request?

2.1. In my view, a request for them to open the system to the public is not a request for official information per se, but rather a request/plea/call/petition to open the _system_ (not the information in the system). As such I agree with Tony that KiwiRail "could be, arguably, correct..." when they refuse to acknowledge your request as an 'OIA request'.

2.2 However, if you request the information in the system, then that is an OIA request. It is an OIA request because you have asked for the information, and KiwiRail decide in what form they then provide it to you (unless you have specified a preference and then they must consider releasing it in your preferred format).

2.3. When the information is released to you, you or they may intentionally or unintentionally make it public by 'publishing' the information (note that the Copyright Act and any other Acts would still apply), say, on a website. Theoretically, the publication could take the form of a static version of the information or a dynamic (live) version. For a dynamic version, you or they would need access to the database and the backend application.

2.4. I think you need to re-think what is you want to achieve and then, if required, re-frame your request (OIA or otherwise).

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From: Cody C

Dear OCU,

To say that information contained within a database does not fall within the realm of an OIA request is plainly ridiculous. Please be advised a complaint has been lodged with the Ombudsman.

Yours sincerely,

Cody C

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From: OCU
KiwiRail

Good morning Cody

We acknowledge your below email and we will assist the Ombudsman's office if they wish to investigate the matter.

Regards,
Official Correspondence Unit

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Things to do with this request

Anyone:
KiwiRail only: