I know this phrase, but for some reason it is blocked in my mind. What is the term for observing a rule, but doing so in a way that subverts it? I'm almost certain that malicious is one of the words in the phrase, but I’m not positive about that.
As an example, suppose there is a rule that in your workplace, you must put boxes to be mailed out in a certain place. Ralph considers this inconvenient, so he puts his boxes there, but he places them so they are in the way when you walk down that aisle, or in a way that makes the mail people work harder to organize the boxes before mailing them out. Ralph does this as a sort of protest against the rule.
I don't think the phrase is malicious observation, and it’s not passive aggressive, but it’s something that means that. Help, this is worse than hearing a particular song in my head for hours!