FOI reference: FOI/18/03634
Date received: 5 December 2018
Date responded: 10 January 2019
Details relating to the development of a 5G Strategy, a Strategy for Autonomous Vehicles, information relating to the rollout of smart streetlights and roads technology and details regarding the deployment of 2G, 3G, 4G, 5G and Wi-Fi/WiGIG in urban areas.
We have provided some of the information you have requested; this set out in Annex A.
With regard to Question 1.4, an exemption under section 29(1)(a) of FOISA (formulation or development of government policy) applies to the information requested because it relates to the formulation of the Scottish Government’s policy on 5G.
This exemption is subject to the ‘public interest test’. Therefore, taking account of all the circumstances of this case, we have considered if the public interest in disclosing the information outweighs the public interest in applying the exemption. We have found that, on balance, the public interest lies in favour of upholding the exemption. We recognise that there is a public interest in disclosing information as part of open, transparent and accountable government, and to inform public debate. However, there is a greater public interest in high quality policy and decision-making, and in the properly considered implementation and development of policies and decisions. This means that Ministers and officials need to be able to consider all available options and to debate those rigorously, to fully understand their possible implications. Their candour in doing so will be affected by their assessment of whether the discussions on 5G will be disclosed in the near future, when it may undermine or constrain the Government’s view on that policy while it is still under discussion and development.
In terms of Question 6, providing the information requested would exceed the upper cost limit of £600 as it requires an extensive review of several years worth of documents to ensure personal details and commercially sensitive information is redacted. Under section 12 of FOISA public authorities are not required to comply with a request for information if the authority estimates that the cost of complying would exceed the upper cost limit, which is currently set at £600 by Regulations made under section 12.
You may, however, wish to consider reducing the scope of your request in order that the costs can be brought below £600. For example, this could be achieved by framing any request with more specificity. You may also find it helpful to look at the Scottish Information Commissioner’s ‘Tips for requesting information under FOI and the EIRs’ at: http://www.itspublicknowledge.info/YourRights/Tipsforrequesters.aspx
However, we wish to be as helpful as possible and therefore have provided higher level responses to your Questions 1.4 and 6. These are set out in Annex A.
We have withheld information requested in Question 2 under section 38(1)(b) of FOISA (personal information). This constitutes personal data of a third party, i.e. names of individuals, and disclosing it would contravene the data protection principles in Article 5(1) of the General Data Protection Regulation and in section 34(1) of the Data Protection Act 2018. This exemption is not subject to the ‘public interest test’, so we are not required to consider if the public interest in disclosing the information outweighs the public interest in applying the exemption.
The Scottish Government is committed to publishing all information released in response to Freedom of Information requests. View all FOI responses at http://www.gov.scot/foi-responses