Babel Street 2nd Attempt (Chicago Police Department)

Curtis Waltman filed this request with the Chicago Police Department of Chicago, IL.
Tracking #

PRR-2017-0755

Est. Completion None
Status
Fix Required

Communications

From: Curtis Waltman

To Whom It May Concern:

Pursuant to the Illinois Freedom of Information Act (5 ILCS 140/1 to 11), I hereby request the following records:

Documents concerning contracts with the company Babel Street. This includes:

-Contractual documents such as purchase orders, delivery orders, invoices, trial run agreements, and grant procurement documents.

-Any emails with the domain @BabelStreet.com to the head of procurement/financial department or any technology departments the agency may run, or the Chief of Police.

-Any marketing material obtained from Babel Street.

-Any reports on the efficacy of Babel Street.

-The number of investigations Babel Street has been used on. This is not a request for documentation on each investigation, simply the number.

-The total date range for this request is 1/1/15 to the date this request is processed.

The requested documents will be made available to the general public, and this request is not being made for commercial purposes.

In the event that there are fees, I would be grateful if you would inform me of the total charges in advance of fulfilling my request. I would prefer the request filled electronically, by e-mail attachment if available or CD-ROM if not.

Thank you in advance for your anticipated cooperation in this matter. I look forward to receiving your response to this request within 5 business days, as the statute requires.

Sincerely,

Curtis Waltman

From: Shulruff, Audrey G.

Dear Mr. Waltman,

This is a duplicate of a request received on April 18, 2017, responded to on May 26, 2017. Please see attached response letter.

Thank you,

Audrey Shulruff
FOIA Officer
Department of Legal Affairs
Chicago Police Department

From: Curtis Waltman

To Whom It May Concern:

This is the CPD denial for Babel Street records handed down again on August 11th.

Sincerely,
Curtis Waltman

From: Public Access

Curtis,

We need the FOIA request and CPD’s response in their entirety-showing to whom it was sent, date it was sent, etc. CPD states they attached a letter so we need a copy of that as well.
Thanks,

Mary Jo

From: Curtis Waltman

Mary Jo

I provided such in the links I sent. Do you need more/different sourcing? I also sent an email in which the response was attached, but I will do reattach that now.

The original request: https://www.muckrock.com/foi/chicago-169/babel-street-chicago-police-department-36208/?
Second attempt: https://www.muckrock.com/foi/chicago-169/babel-street-2nd-attempt-chicago-police-department-41788/?#appeal

Thank you,
Curtis

From: Curtis Waltman

To Whom It May Concern:

This is a request for review.

I had asked the Chicago Police Department for records involving a social media monitoring company called Babel Street. This request asked for mostly contractual documents, and also asked for emails. The CPD records office informed me that they had "quite a number of pages" and would be releasing them to me shortly. Then, a month later, they exempted the entire release, which shocked me. I have asked police departments around the country for documents on Babel Street and other companies which sell proprietary equipment to law enforcement, and have always been able to get at least contracts. I have even written an article for Motherboard which cites a FOIA request in which the agency granted me records about Babel Street. The public has a right to know what tools police are using. Maybe not exactly how they are being used, or proprietary information about the product, but the public has a right to know what tools their government is using and buying.

Knowing how much CPD paid for this program, what program they bought, and how long this has been in use, are vital pieces of information for the public and do not damage police work in any way. This is more or less standard practice, and as someone who has filed hundred if not thousands of FOIA requests, this was a shocking denial. The CPD issued the following exemption to me: "[d]isclose unique or specialized investigative techniques
other than those generally used and known or disclose internal documents of correctional agencies related to detection,
observation or investigation of incidents of crime or misconduct, and disclosure would result in demonstrable harm to
the agency or public body that is the recipient of the request." 5 ILCS 140/7(1)(d)(v). These kind of programs are in general use around the nation, and disclosure of contracts would in know allow the public to be able to circumvent this program or render it useless. Their assertion that "Given that these social media monitoring
tools have great worth in identifying victims and perpetrators, it would be incredibly damaging to the Department’s
police powers if these tools were publicly identified. As such, use or potential use of these programs must be withheld
pursuant to 7(1)(d)(v).," is a stunning refusal of transparency. Disclosing which company and how much they paid for it is not releasing any information that would damage their ability to use the program. I was not asking for information about how it is used by CPD, or how often or in what capacity.

CPD is known to use social media monitoring. Their scandal with Geofeedia is well known. Contractual documents between them and Babel Street should be released as soon as possible.

Attached is the link to my request, and CPD's denial. I had requested review on Tuesday but was told that my chance for review had expired, so I refiled and was granted the same denial on August 11th 2017.

https://www.muckrock.com/foi/chicago-169/babel-street-2nd-attempt-chicago-police-department-41788/?#appeal
Original request: https://www.muckrock.com/foi/chicago-169/babel-street-chicago-police-department-36208/?

Sincerely,
Curtis Waltman

From: Public Access

Curtis,

We are still missing the FOIA request and CPD’s response.
Thanks,

Mary Jo

From: Curtis Waltman

I hope this satisfies, I am including my original email to CPD and their response. Let me know if the documents come through. Thank you.

Sincerely,
Curtis

From: Public Access

Curtis,

We have the FOIA request now but still need the response to that request (not the 6/9 response). We are unable to access your links.

Mary Jo

From: Curtis Waltman

Mary Jo,

Here is the email I received from CPD when I made a second request. Let me know if this satisfies my request for review.

Sincerely,
Curtis Waltman

From: Public Access

Curtis,

CPD states it attached a response letter which we did not receive. Please send that attachment and we’ll be good to go.
Thanks,

Mary Jo

From: Curtis Waltman

Hi Mary Jo,

Okay awesome. Here it is, it was an extension letter. Thank you so much!

Sincerely,
Curtis

From: Public Access

Curtis,

The letter you attached from CPD is dated April 25, 2017. We need the response from CPD to your most recent request.

Mary Jo

From: Curtis Waltman

Mary Jo,

Ah, okay. This should do it. Thank you!

Sincerely,
Curtis Waltman

From: Public Access

This is the letter but I cannot open their attachment so would you please send that to us?

From: Curtis Waltman

It is the same denial as before, they just resent it. I will attach it here.

Sincerely,
Curtis

From: Public Access

Curtis,

The letter that was attached was dated June 9, 2017. We need the letter from CPD that would be dated August 11, 2017.

Mary Jo

From: Curtis Waltman

Mary Jo,

They didn't send a new letter dated August 11th. They just resent the same denial from June 9th, date and everything. I hope this doesn't change anything. I resent my request to them like I was informed I needed to, that is how CPD chose to respond.

Sincerely,
Curtis Waltman

From: Yattoni, Barbara

Please find attached correspondence from AAG Harter.

Contact our office if you have any questions. Thank you.

Barbara Yattoni
Administrative Clerk
Office of the Attorney General
500 South Second Street
Springfield, IL 62706

From: Public Access

Ok. Thanks Curtis.

From: Yattoni, Barbara

Please find attached correspondence from AAG Harter.

Contact our office if you have any questions. Thank you.

Barbara Yattoni
Administrative Clerk
Office of the Attorney General
500 South Second Street
Springfield, IL 62706

From: Curtis Waltman

Dear Ms. Harper,

This is in response to the Chicago Police Department's correspondence with your office. What I would like to contend is two things mainly. One, CPD asserts that just by giving up the name of the tool they are using, likely Babel Street, it would equal giving up important law enforcement methods to prevent crime. I find this unsatisfying. I do not understand this reasoning, because it seems to me, due to the widespread Geofeedia scandal in which Twitter, Facebook, and other major social media platforms cut off access to the company, the public is already well aware that police use social media monitoring tools. To that end, I do not see the harm in releasing contracts concerning which social media tool CPD is using. To repeat, I am not asking for anything more. I am not asking investigative techniques be disclosed. I simply want to see how much CPD paid for their social media monitoring tool. And I think it is a stretch to conclude that one the name is disclosed suddenly the tool would be rendered ineffective, as these tools have been widely reported on for many years now.

Secondly, especially in regards to the ACLU lawsuit against Geofeedia and various Police Department's, using the tool to surveil 1st Amendment protected protests, I think it is in the Chicago public's interest to understand their Police Department is using a social media monitoring tool. I understand that techniques and methods can be harmful to release, but to allow the public a chance to understand the tools police use, that is a different story to me. The public understands how DNA can be used against them, that they can be fingerprinted, that facial recognition technology exists, and that these things can be pulled from a database or case file in a case against them. That police officers carry firearms, tasers, and OC. That police cruisers can lock on to their speed to catch speeding violators, that police can go undercover to infiltrate crime rings, and use IMSI catchers, pen registers, and wire taps to accomplish the same goals. These are tools that police use to effectively conduct their job, and in light of public knowledge, including of brands used, it has largely not harmed police work. I fail to see how social media monitoring tools are any different. It is simply a tool in law enforcement's efforts to conduct their duties. And the public does have a right to understand that these tools exist, and that they may be held accountable under these tools. Which specific brand of the tool CPD is using, should not be relevant and will not effect their ability to use that tool.

Sincerely,
Curtis Waltman

From: Curtis Waltman

Dear Ms. Harper,

I would like to add one small correction my case. It was not a lawsuit against Geofeedia exactly, but rather records disputes that resulted in an ACLU report on the widespread use and abuse of Geofeedia. I will link here to the ACLU report. https://www.aclunc.org/blog/facebook-instagram-and-twitter-provided-data-access-surveillance-product-marketed-target

I just wanted to make sure that was clear. Thank you.

Sincerely,
Curtis Waltman

From: Harter, Laura

Mr. Waltman:

I am waiting for CPD to provide responsive records for this office’s review. Once we are able to review the records at issue, we will be able to make a determination in the matter.

Please contact me directly if you have additional questions.

Laura S. Harter
Assistant Attorney General, Public Access Bureau
Office of the Attorney General – State of Illinois
500 South Second Street
Springfield, IL 62706
(217) 524-7958

E-MAIL CONFIDENTIALITY NOTICE: This electronic mail message, including any attachments, is for the intended recipient(s) only. This e-mail and any attachments might contain information that is confidential, legally privileged or otherwise protected or exempt from disclosure under applicable law. If you are not a named recipient, or if you are named but believe that you received this e-mail in error, please notify the sender immediately by telephone or return e-mail and promptly delete this e-mail and any attachments and copies thereof from your system. If you are not the intended recipient, please be aware that any copying, distribution, dissemination, disclosure or other use of this e-mail and any attachments is unauthorized and prohibited. Your receipt of this message is not intended to waive any applicable privilege or claim of confidentiality, and any prohibited or unauthorized disclosure is not binding on the sender or the Office of the Illinois Attorney General. Thank you for your cooperation.

From: Harter, Laura

I have been communicating with CPD regarding providing the Public Access Bureau with records for our confidential review so that we can reach a determination on this matter. I expect them to provide the records this week.

From: Curtis Waltman

Hi Ms. Harter,

Thank you for your follow up. Did CPD release the records to your office as of yet?

I appreciate your time and effort and look forward to receiving the judgement.

Sincerely,
Curtis Waltman

From: Chicago Police Department

We are still waiting on records from CPD.

Laura S. Harter
Assistant Attorney General, Public Access Bureau
Office of the Attorney General – State of Illinois
500 South Second Street
Springfield, IL 62706
(217) 524-7958

E-MAIL CONFIDENTIALITY NOTICE: This electronic mail message, including any attachments, is for the intended recipient(s) only. This e-mail and any attachments might contain information that is confidential, legally privileged or otherwise protected or exempt from disclosure under applicable law. If you are not a named recipient, or if you are named but believe that you received this e-mail in error, please notify the sender immediately by telephone or return e-mail and promptly delete this e-mail and any attachments and copies thereof from your system. If you are not the intended recipient, please be aware that any copying, distribution, dissemination, disclosure or other use of this e-mail and any attachments is unauthorized and prohibited. Your receipt of this message is not intended to waive any applicable privilege or claim of confidentiality, and any prohibited or unauthorized disclosure is not binding on the sender or the Office of the Illinois Attorney General. Thank you for your cooperation.

From: Chicago Police Department

Mr. Waltman:

We cannot provide an estimated date for resolution of this matter. Your interest has been noted in the file.

Laura S. Harter
Assistant Attorney General, Public Access Bureau
Office of the Attorney General – State of Illinois
500 South Second Street
Springfield, IL 62706
(217) 524-7958

E-MAIL CONFIDENTIALITY NOTICE: This electronic mail message, including any attachments, is for the intended recipient(s) only. This e-mail and any attachments might contain information that is confidential, legally privileged or otherwise protected or exempt from disclosure under applicable law. If you are not a named recipient, or if you are named but believe that you received this e-mail in error, please notify the sender immediately by telephone or return e-mail and promptly delete this e-mail and any attachments and copies thereof from your system. If you are not the intended recipient, please be aware that any copying, distribution, dissemination, disclosure or other use of this e-mail and any attachments is unauthorized and prohibited. Your receipt of this message is not intended to waive any applicable privilege or claim of confidentiality, and any prohibited or unauthorized disclosure is not binding on the sender or the Office of the Illinois Attorney General. Thank you for your cooperation.

From: Chicago Police Department

Mr. Waltman:

As noted previously, we cannot provide an estimated date for a determination. Your interest in a resolution has been noted in the file.

Laura S. Harter
Assistant Attorney General, Public Access Bureau
Office of the Attorney General – State of Illinois
500 South Second Street
Springfield, IL 62706
(217) 524-7958

E-MAIL CONFIDENTIALITY NOTICE: This electronic mail message, including any attachments, is for the intended recipient(s) only. This e-mail and any attachments might contain information that is confidential, legally privileged or otherwise protected or exempt from disclosure under applicable law. If you are not a named recipient, or if you are named but believe that you received this e-mail in error, please notify the sender immediately by telephone or return e-mail and promptly delete this e-mail and any attachments and copies thereof from your system. If you are not the intended recipient, please be aware that any copying, distribution, dissemination, disclosure or other use of this e-mail and any attachments is unauthorized and prohibited. Your receipt of this message is not intended to waive any applicable privilege or claim of confidentiality, and any prohibited or unauthorized disclosure is not binding on the sender or the Office of the Illinois Attorney General. Thank you for your cooperation.

From: Chicago Police Department

Mr. Waltman:

As noted previously, we cannot provide an estimated date for a determination. Your interest in a resolution has been noted in the file.

Laura S. Harter
Assistant Attorney General, Public Access Bureau
Office of the Attorney General – State of Illinois
500 South Second Street
Springfield, IL 62706
(217) 524-7958

E-MAIL CONFIDENTIALITY NOTICE: This electronic mail message, including any attachments, is for the intended recipient(s) only. This e-mail and any attachments might contain information that is confidential, legally privileged or otherwise protected or exempt from disclosure under applicable law. If you are not a named recipient, or if you are named but believe that you received this e-mail in error, please notify the sender immediately by telephone or return e-mail and promptly delete this e-mail and any attachments and copies thereof from your system. If you are not the intended recipient, please be aware that any copying, distribution, dissemination, disclosure or other use of this e-mail and any attachments is unauthorized and prohibited. Your receipt of this message is not intended to waive any applicable privilege or claim of confidentiality, and any prohibited or unauthorized disclosure is not binding on the sender or the Office of the Illinois Attorney General. Thank you for your cooperation.

From: Chicago Police Department

Please find the attached correspondence from AAG Harter.

Please contact us if you have any questions. Thank you.

Hattie Bryant
Office Assistant
Public Access Bureau
500 South Second Street
Springfield, IL 62706
(217) 785-5526

E-MAIL CONFIDENTIALITY NOTICE: This electronic mail message, including any attachments, is for the intended recipient(s) only. This e-mail and any attachments might contain information that is confidential, legally privileged or otherwise protected or exempt from disclosure under applicable law. If you are not a named recipient, or if you are named but believe that you received this e-mail in error, please notify the sender immediately by telephone or return e-mail and promptly delete this e-mail and any attachments and copies thereof from your system. If you are not the intended recipient, please be aware that any copying, distribution, dissemination, disclosure or other use of this e-mail and any attachments is unauthorized and prohibited. Your receipt of this message is not intended to waive any applicable privilege or claim of confidentiality, and any prohibited or unauthorized disclosure is not binding on the sender or the Office of the Illinois Attorney General. Thank you for your cooperation.

From: Curtis Waltman

Hi Ms. Bryant,

I was wondering when CPD would be sending me the files? Thank you! Have a great afternoon.

Sincerely,
Curtis Waltman

From: Chicago Police Department

Mr. Waltman:

The Public Access Bureau will not be sending you any records provided by CPD. You must contact CPD to follow-up on your FOIA request.

Laura S. Harter
Assistant Attorney General, Public Access Bureau
Office of the Attorney General – State of Illinois
500 South Second Street
Springfield, IL 62706
(217) 524-7958

E-MAIL CONFIDENTIALITY NOTICE: This electronic mail message, including any attachments, is for the intended recipient(s) only. This e-mail and any attachments might contain information that is confidential, legally privileged or otherwise protected or exempt from disclosure under applicable law. If you are not a named recipient, or if you are named but believe that you received this e-mail in error, please notify the sender immediately by telephone or return e-mail and promptly delete this e-mail and any attachments and copies thereof from your system. If you are not the intended recipient, please be aware that any copying, distribution, dissemination, disclosure or other use of this e-mail and any attachments is unauthorized and prohibited. Your receipt of this message is not intended to waive any applicable privilege or claim of confidentiality, and any prohibited or unauthorized disclosure is not binding on the sender or the Office of the Illinois Attorney General. Thank you for your cooperation.

From: Curtis Waltman

To Whom It May Concern:

Due to AAG Harter's office ruling that CPD should release records to me concerning Babel Street, I was wondering when CPD might be able to send me those records? Thank you for your time, and I am attaching the official letter I was sent explaining AAG Harter's ruling.

Sincerely,
Curtis Waltman

From: Chicago Police Department

Please be advised that this FOIA is a duplicate of P060336, which was responded to on April 18, 2017.

Thank you,

CPD FOIA Intake

This message is intended only for the use of the individual or entity to which it is addressed, and may contain information that is PRIVILEGED, CONFIDENTIAL AND EXEMPT FROM DISCLOSURE UNDER APPLICABLE LAW. If the reader of this message is not the intended recipient, or the employee or agent responsible for delivering that message to the intended recipient, you are hereby notified that any dissemination, distribution or copying of this document is strictly prohibited.
________________________________________

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