|Aug. 17, 2015
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Dear Custodian of Records/Public Records Coordinator,
I am collaborating with the Electronic Frontier Foundation, a public interest group, and the media organization MuckRock, to survey how law enforcement agencies deploy mobile biometric technologies.
Mobile biometric technologies can be defined as any mobile device or mobile app used by law enforcement agencies to scan, capture, analyze, store, or automatically recognize any physical or biological characteristic of a subject. Commonly used mobile biometric technologies include fingerprint/thumbprint collection, facial recognition, scans of the iris or other elements of the human eye, Rapid DNA, and tattoo recognition. (Please see below for examples.)
Pursuant to South Carolina Freedom of Information Act, I request the following records pertaining to mobile biometric technologies, including those listed above, as well as other biometric technologies I have not identified:
1) Purchasing and procurement documents, including but not limited to: purchase orders, RFPs, responses to RFPs, invoices and contracts
2) Policy, procedural, and training documents, including but not limited to: use policies, standard operating procedures, training materials, presentations, privacy assessments, data retention policies, and other guidelines
3) Programming documents, including but not limited to: funding opportunity announcements, grant applications and grantor status/progress reports, reports to legislative bodies, annual reports
4) Audit documents, including but not limited to: audits of the system, misuse reports, and reports to oversight bodies
In your response, I would appreciate that you individually address each of the above categories of documents individually.
In addition to the above classes of documents, I am also seeking the following information:
- The total number of individuals whose biometric data has been collected over the last three years,
- The total number of [biometric data points] contained in the agency’s database
- The retention period for biometric data
- The number of mobile biometrics devices purchased and in use
- The total number of authorized users of the mobile biometrics devices
- Which external agencies and entities have access to biometric data in the database and under what conditions,
- Whether biometric data is combined with biographic data such as name and address in the database, and
- The process by which data is entered into the database
These documents will be published online and inform the public dialog over police technology. Because of the great public interest in these issues, I ask that you waive any fees. If your agency is unable to do so, please contact me with an estimate of the costs.
Mobile facial recognition
I will submit your request to be processed.
To Whom It May Concern:
I wanted to follow up on the following Freedom of Information request, copied below, and originally submitted on Aug. 17, 2015. Please let me know when I can expect to receive a response, or if further clarification is needed.
Thanks for your help, and let me know if further clarification is needed.
I will get with the FOIA clerk and have her contact you.
Good Morning Mr. Bartelme,
In response to your request for any information on the Mobile Biometric Technologies, the City of Charleston Police Department does not use any mobile devices to recognize any physical or biological characteristic of a subject. If you should have any further questions, please do not hesitate to contact me. Thank you.
Aimee N. Beck
City of Charleston Administration Support Department, Records Division
180 Lockwood Boulevard
Charleston, SC 29401
Direct Line: 843-720-2451
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