Wednesday, April 23, 2014

PM's Office Spent 36 Hours Discussing 'Replace Abbott With Kitty' App

Good to know the prime minister's staff are spending their taxpayer-funded time on important things. Like writing more than 130 pages of correspondence and spending more than 36 hours discussing what to do about a popular app that replaced PM Abbott's face with a cute kitty in news stories.

From The Age:
Developers Dan Nolan and Ben Taylor made the "Stop Tony Meow" browser extension in January. Downloaded more than 50,000 times, it automatically swaps any picture of Mr Abbott encountered online with pictures of cats.
Curious as to what the Prime Minister and his staff thought of the extension, Mr Nolan submitted a Freedom of Information request to the Department of the Prime Minister and Cabinet for any correspondence that mentioned the words "Stop Tony Meow".

‘‘There was an issue where the Liberal party website and other sites were slightly modified so the extension didn’t apply there,’’ Mr Nolan said.

‘‘I had a gut feeling that maybe someone had sent an email internally saying that we need to stop this thing from working on our site, what can we do?

‘‘I don’t think there’s going to be any high-level stuff ... but it would be really interesting to see how a government department reacts to these weird new kinds of technology and culture jamming stuff, which previously they wouldn’t have had to deal with.’’

However once the Department had approved the release of 137 pages of correspondence relating to the Stop Tony Meow request, it charged Mr Nolan $720.30 in fees for access.

Charging such huge fees for Freedom On Information replies is obviously an attempt to dissuade the public from making them.

So much for "transparent government."