May 15th, 2007

priate fish

Documents you're not supposed to have

make for very interesting reading.

Last May a regional fiber-optic network provider (who shall not be named) sent to the Mayor's office a copy of their emergency response plan and other paperwork. The cover letter said that the state DPUC required them to send copies to every town in which they had facilities. The Mayor's office, apparently not knowing what else to do with it, sent it to the CIO. The CIO looked at it, and decided that it must be a network thing. Thus it landed on my office table. THUNK Whereupon it immediately became buried under all sorts of other paperwork. Until today.

Today I was possessed by the need to bring some order into my little den of chaos, and while sorting, tossing, and filing, I found this thing. On discovery I tossed it right in my recycle bin. Curiosity made me pull it back out. I gave it a going over.

The whole unit (held together with a 1" binder clip) was nearly an inch thick. Only the top 1/8 of an inch was the plan from the fiber carrier. It was really laughable -- pretty much every useful piece of information had been removed and replaced with [REDACTED]. The other 7/8 of an inch of paper consisted of two documents, both originating from the local gas company. One, an 1/8 of an inch thick itself, was the gas company's request to the DPUC to have their emergency response plan declared confidential and shielded from public release (including an affidavit from a senior exec testifying to the potential harm that could come from releasing this sensitive information, and a draft order for the DPUC to issue). The other 3/4 of an inch of paper was their complete and unredacted emergency plan.

Of course I read the whole thing. Well, I read all of the plan part. I skimmed the 75+ pages of tables with the full contact information (including home address and home telephone) for everyone at the supervisor level and up in the gas company and every Mayor, Town Council chair, Town Manager, Town Engineer, Fire Chief and Police Chief in the many towns they service. What a treasure trove of information. There is no technical information in the document that would help a terrorist blow up a pipeline, but the human information is vast. No wonder they wanted the DPUC to seal it.

How the fiber-optic carrier got these two documents in the first place is beyond me. If they didn't send it to the Mayor's office, then how the Mayor's staff got the documents (and then decided to clip them to the fiber provider's and send them to us) is equally beyond my knowing. The irony, however, is pretty clear.
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