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Posted by: John Brace | 6th November 2014

Things go from bad to worse at Wirral Council as now 3 emails about censorship to councillors are censored!

Things go from bad to worse at Wirral Council as now 3 emails about censorship to councillors are censored!

                                                                                        

Wirral Council bans filming and public from public meeting

A picture reminder above of times gone by at Wirral Council

In the “you couldn’t make it up if I tried”, my emails about censorship have indeed been censored!

Oh well, I can always go old-fashioned, print off a copy and deliver it in person on Tuesday evening! As some councillors don’t have an email address shown on Wirral Council’s website it might be necessary anyway.

What’s also interesting is that the automatic forwarding of emails to addresses outside Wirral Council, I thought that used to be prohibited by their IT policy or has that changed?

Here is what the IT policy on their website states (although knowing Wirral Council this may be out of date):

Users must comply with the Code of Practice relating to the Use of Internet, Electronic Mail and Telecommunications Facilities (reproduced at Appendix 4). The equivalent Code of Practice for Members must be adhered to by all Councillors. The following points should be noted:

The automatic forwarding of electronic mail from a Wirral Council email account to another email account in a lower classification domain (eg – an internet email account such as hotmail) is prohibited by Government Connect.

Here is the relevant section on the Code of Practice for councillors (which shows that residents communications with councillors referred to as Members in the policy via email are not classed as private by Wirral Council):

15. In the interest of national security, Members using Government Connect Secure Extranet (GCSx) or Government Secure Intranet (GSi) e-mail addresses may have their communications monitored by Government agencies. The contents of a Members email folders may be accessed by officers of the Council, or Police Officers, as part of any investigation into inappropriate use of e-mail, or complaint against the conduct of a Member.

16. Members must not automatically or manually forward electronic mail from a Wirral Council email account to another email account in a lower classification domain (ie – an internet email account such as Hotmail or personal email account).

As if to confirm my views on Wirral Council and censorship within minutes of emailing I started receiving these replies (which as my email didn’t contain any attachments are incorrect anyway). I might point out these emails also reveal councillors’ private rather than Wirral Council email addresses in a lower classification domain and certainly an attempt by automated systems to breach s.16 of this code of practice.

Blocked email – Undetermined format out

Subject: Blocked Email Outgoing – Undetermined Format

Dear john.brace@gmail.com,

Inline with Corporate Policy an email addressed from you has been blocked.
This email contains a potentially unsafe attachment and therefore has been blocked. Emails in an undetermined format cannot be further scanned for viruses and are quarantined.

If it is essential that you have it delivered, then simply reply to this email and a job will be logged with the IT Service Desk on your behalf.

If you need to include a message to IT Services regarding the release of this email, please scroll to the very bottom of this email and write your comments as indicated.

If you experience any problems carrying out the above, please call the IT Service Desk on (0151) 666 4080. Otherwise the email which has been blocked will be automatically deleted within 30 days.

The details of the email are as follows:

Addressed To: andrewhodson@entirefm.co.uk
Blocked from: john.brace@gmail.com
Dated: Thu, 6 Nov 2014 12:34:52 +0000
Subject: filming of public meetings at Wirral Council
Message area: Message Processing Failure Outgoing

Kind regards,
IT Services

=================================================================
For IT Services Use Only
=================================================================

[Standard Call] Release a blocked email
[Call reference 3] Via VQSMDaemon
[Comments]
Addressed To: andrewhodson@entirefm.co.uk

Blocked email – Undetermined format out

Subject: Blocked Email Outgoing – Undetermined Format

Dear john.brace@gmail.com,

Inline with Corporate Policy an email addressed from you has been blocked.
This email contains a potentially unsafe attachment and therefore has been blocked. Emails in an undetermined format cannot be further scanned for viruses and are quarantined.

If it is essential that you have it delivered, then simply reply to this email and a job will be logged with the IT Service Desk on your behalf.

If you need to include a message to IT Services regarding the release of this email, please scroll to the very bottom of this email and write your comments as indicated.

If you experience any problems carrying out the above, please call the IT Service Desk on (0151) 666 4080. Otherwise the email which has been blocked will be automatically deleted within 30 days.

The details of the email are as follows:

Addressed To: j.salter446@btinternet.com
Blocked from: john.brace@gmail.com
Dated: Thu, 6 Nov 2014 12:34:52 +0000
Subject: filming of public meetings at Wirral Council
Message area: Message Processing Failure Outgoing

Kind regards,
IT Services

=================================================================
For IT Services Use Only
=================================================================

[Standard Call] Release a blocked email
[Call reference 3] Via VQSMDaemon
[Comments]
Addressed To: j.salter446@btinternet.com

Blocked email – Undetermined format out

Subject: Blocked Email Outgoing – Undetermined Format

Dear john.brace@gmail.com,

Inline with Corporate Policy an email addressed from you has been blocked.
This email contains a potentially unsafe attachment and therefore has been blocked. Emails in an undetermined format cannot be further scanned for viruses and are quarantined.

If it is essential that you have it delivered, then simply reply to this email and a job will be logged with the IT Service Desk on your behalf.

If you need to include a message to IT Services regarding the release of this email, please scroll to the very bottom of this email and write your comments as indicated.

If you experience any problems carrying out the above, please call the IT Service Desk on (0151) 666 4080. Otherwise the email which has been blocked will be automatically deleted within 30 days.

The details of the email are as follows:

Addressed To: steve.niblock@ntlworld.com
Blocked from: john.brace@gmail.com
Dated: Thu, 6 Nov 2014 12:34:52 +0000
Subject: filming of public meetings at Wirral Council
Message area: Message Processing Failure Outgoing

Kind regards,
IT Services

=================================================================
For IT Services Use Only
=================================================================

[Standard Call] Release a blocked email
[Call reference 3] Via VQSMDaemon
[Comments]
Addressed To: steve.niblock@ntlworld.com
Blocked from: john.brace@gmail.com
Dated: Thu, 6 Nov 2014 12:34:52 +0000
Subject: filming of public meetings at Wirral Council
Message area: Message Processing Failure Outgoing

=================================================================
Comments for IT Services :: For Customer Use Only

=================================================================

Comments for IT Services:

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Responses

  1. You have in fact answered your second blog by the first one, sounds back to front. If you do not want things to get out, you try to block communication. I know this because they have done it with me. My course of action in your case ” A Report to your MP ” He will know what to do about it and believe me from what I have read and seen, from your good self, you certainly have sufficient evidence to support your report

    • I wrote the first one, then sent the emails. So I didn’t get the replies to the first blog post until later.

      Politicians aren’t always happy when communications to them are “blocked”. Mind you there are plenty of people with vested interests in keeping them in the dark.

      The truth is, the more you unpeel the onion layers of democracy the more I am amazed by what lurks beneath.

  2. If I can help in anyway, contact and I will not block your Blog

    • I think a “wait and see” approach is best for now, but thanks for the offer.

  3. […] Things go from bad to worse at Wirral Council as now 3 emails about censorship to councillors are ce… […]


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