HRSDC denied request for source code under ATIP request...

I have thus far been denied my Access to Information request for the source code and documentation for the HIFIS system. What I find interesting is the reasoning, which is the claim that disclosing the source code would expose vulnerabilities in the software. They seem to be admitting that the software is currently vulnerable, meaning that it inadequately implements the government policies it was authored to automate.

Aug 23, 2005
Our file: A-2005-00129 / jl

Mr. Russell McOrmond
305 Southcrest Private
K1V 2B7

Dear Mr. McOrmond:

I am writing in response to your Access to Information request,
received on August 4, 2005, that reads as follows:

Documentation and software source code for the Homeless
Individuals and Families. Information System (HIFIS). As this
software is authored by the Government of Canada, and software is
defined as a literary work by the Copyright act, this information
should be as accessible to Canadians as any other literary works
created by the Government of Canada.

Documentation for the file format used to report to
Statistics Canada should also be disclosed.

Please make information available on a CD

With regard to the first portion of your request for:
"Documentation and software source code for the Homeless
Individuals and Families", please be advised that this
information is being exempted in its entirety pursuant to section
16(2)(c) of the Access to Information Act. I am enclosing,
for your information, a copy of this section.

Please note that some documentation for HIFIS is already available
to the general public. The user documentation for the HIFS software
is available on the Internet at the following address:

With respect to the last portion of your request for:
"Documentation for the file format used to report to Statistics
Canada", program officials confirmed that no such documents


Please be advised that you are entitled to bring a complaint to
the Information Commissioner, within one year from the date your
request was received, regarding the processing of your request.
Notice of complaint should be addressed to:

Place de Ville, Tower B
112 Kent Street, 22nd Floor
K1A 1H3

Should you have any questions concerning the processing of your
request, I can be reached at (819) 953-7641

Yours Truly,

Senior Public
Rights Administrator
Fax: (619) 953-0659
josee.lapensee -at-
hrsdc-rhdcc -dot-

Access to Information Act

16.(2) The head of a government
institution may refuse to disclose any record requested under this
Act that contains information that could reasonably be expected to
facilitate the commission of an offense, including, without
restricting the generality of the foregoing, any such information

(c) on the vulnerability of
particular buildings or other structures or systems, including
computer of communication systems, or methods employed to protect
such buildings or other structures or systems.