|Multi Request||Searches for race-bias messages|
|Submitted||March 27, 2019|
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To Whom It May Concern:
Pursuant to the Virginia Freedom of Information Act, I hereby request the following records:
1. Documents that show what kind of a database your agency's email is stored in (such as Microsoft Access; Oracle; Microsoft Sharepoint; SQL; or Microsoft Exchange).
2a. Documents sufficient to show any FOIA management software or email search software (not including the client one uses to read and reply to email) in use by your agency. These documents could include purchase orders, contracts for use of a service, or—if and only if neither of those are available—some departmental communication portraying the name of the system.
2b. Any vendor-provided manuals or instructions or software documentation for software used by the agency to search emails
2c. Complete copies of any rules, guidelines, instructions, or best practices in use by your agency for searching emails and texts in response to FOIA requests
3. Documents that show all of, and represent the entirety of each of, your agency’s contracts with cell/mobile service providers (sometimes called carriers). Also we request any documents that describe a deletion schedule for text messages sent to/from the devices on your agency's provider contract. For this purpose, "deletion schedule" means a number of days before messages are regularly deleted from the carrier's data repositories. Such a schedule would also specify whether that date is a rolling daily deletion after that many days, or rather periodical, where the number of days represents the period.
4a. Keyword searches of all SMS ("text") records sent to and received by all sworn officers on agency-issued mobile devices
4b. Keyword searches of all emails sent to and received by sworn officers on agency email accounts.
- For the keywords on 4a and 4b, please refer to the list at the bottom of this request. Date range is four months prior to the date of the request until the date of the request. Please provide the requesters evidence that your search was agnostic toward capital and lowercase letters throughout each searched character string.
- For each returned *email or SMS* result, please include the following metadata: unique sender identification; unique recipient identification; date and time of transmission; and document(s) sufficient to show the full name of the officer associated with the unique identifier. (An example of unique sender/recipient identification would be an email address or a phone number, depending on the type of record.)
5a. Documents that show what, if any, text-based messaging clients or platforms (you might call them software-based “systems” for messaging, or “instant messaging”) are available for use on computers in your patrol cars. Also we request documents that show what public body maintains or is responsible for each of those clients/platforms. For instance, sometimes a messaging system is maintained and offered by a state agency like highway patrol; other systems are built or contracted-for locally, by your jurisdiction itself. We request the above-described documents on any and all messaging systems deployed on a computer in a police vehicle in your jurisdiction.
If your jurisdiction maintains/provides its own software on in-car computers for "instant messaging”—and therefore is the keeper of records associated with the system, including historic message logs—I request:
5b. Documents sufficient to show what kind of a database that messages crossing the in-car messaging system are stored in. (Examples might be Microsoft Access; Oracle; SQL or similar). The file extension of the message logs will suffice.
5d. Keyword searches of databases containing messages sent and received over the in-car computers' instant messaging system. For the keywords that requester(s) would like searched, please refer to the list at the bottom of this request. Date range is four months prior to the date of the request until the date of the request. Please provide the requesters evidence that your search was agnostic toward capital and lowercase letters throughout each searched character string.
- For each returned *in-car IM* result, please include the following metadata: unique sender identification; unique recipient identification; date and time of transmission; and document(s) sufficient to show the full name of the officer associated with the unique identification. An example of unique sender/recipient identification would, in the case of a car-to-car instant message, be some kind of username corresponding to an officer, or, if and only if an officer identifier is not extant, an identifier for a particular computer or patrol car.
6. Documents that provide evidence of any search your jurisdiction that either the department itself or the public body of which it’s a part has undertaken, in the five years prior to the date of this request, for racist, race-biased, or white supremacist terminology. This would include any searches undertaken of text messages, emails, or instant messages, for example, those IMs to and from in-car computers. It need not include an internal investigation of any single officer. Rather, we seek documents that show a search of communications to/from groups of officers, ranging up to the entire department. We seek documents that show the date of the search; the rationale or reason for the search; the search terms used; the name of the public official who requested the search; the total number of officers whose communications were searched (and if a subset of a department, the reason for choosing that subset); the type of communications searched; and any summary of the result(s) of any search. If no document exists that can be construed as a summary of search results, we request the full results of any search.
Please take under advisement:
Communications that contain these terms, if in use by a law enforcement officer, are public and not personal records. Police officers interact directly with a diverse public and any expressions of potentially prejudicial or biased sentiments relate directly to an officer’s job responsibilities and performance. They are undoubtedly subject to disclosure. In the event you cite an ongoing investigation as a reason for withholding a particular record, we ask, as a part of this records request, for a document that shows the date (nothing more) of the last internal communication in the investigation.
Nearly every state, yours included, defines a public record as any record that a public body is in “control” of, not just in the “possession” of. This provides for situations where records are stored in the care of a third-party storage facility, or some kind of technology vendor that provides data storage or communications services to the public body in question. To the extent a technology vendor is in possession of the records sought herein, this request, barring justified exemption, compels the public body to seek the requested documents from its technology vendor.
Should a FOIA officer have one or more questions about the request, please contact Brandon Smith via phone (740-505-0038) or the email address this request was sent from. Mr. Smith would be happy to hear from you.
It is not Mr. Smith’s wish to overburden your office. An email or phone call is probably in order soon to discuss your office’s standard for how much estimated time—say, for review toward redaction—constitutes an unduly burdensome request. That said, we believe the list of search terms contained herein is sufficiently culled to produce only a reasonably number of responsive records.
Rarely does caselaw on what is and is not overly burdensome specify which type of employee is required for processing; the only relevant factor is estimated time by *a* staff member. In other words, if a search would be impossible or overly burdensome for a FOIA staffer, but an IT staffer can do it in ten minutes, then the law requires the public body to request an IT staffer complete the job. This is our purpose in asking for documents showing what type of database each record is stored in: the type of file determines what type of search is possible by a qualified IT staffer.
This request is being made on behalf of Brandon Smith and on behalf of ProPublica.
Search terms list:
Blood & Honour
Blood & Honor
Blood and honor
White civil rights
Diversity is a code word
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.
Please note that I am a citizen of Virginia, and am using MuckRock's services to help manage and track my request.
To Whom It May Concern:
I wanted to follow up on the following Virginia Freedom of Information Act request, copied below, and originally submitted on March 27, 2019. Please let me know when I can expect to receive a response.
Thanks for your help, and let me know if further clarification is needed.
Thank you for submitting your Virginia Freedom of Information Act (VFOIA) request, which was received by Fairfax County on April 8, 2019. For reference, attached is a copy of your request.
Due to the amount of time that will be required to process your request among multiple county agencies, Fairfax County requires an additional seven working days to respond after your payment is received. Va. Code Ann. § 2.2-3704(B)(4). A response to your request will be provided on or before April 24, 2019.
Countywide FOIA Office
Fairfax County Office of Public Affairs
12000 Government Center Parkway, Suite 551
Fairfax, Virginia 22035-0065
You mentioned payment. For the record, this request has been made in the service of journalism in the public interest. The outlet "ProPublica" will be producing a story or stories for a local Virginia media outlet, based on any response you might return. Thus, for the purposes of fees, please calculate any based on what you might charge a local media outlet for the same work preparing documents.
Thank you for submitting your Virginia Freedom of Information Act (VFOIA) request to Fairfax County on April 8, 2019. For reference, attached is a copy of your request.
Your request was coordinated among the Fairfax County agencies identified as having records responsive to your requests: the Fairfax County Police Department (FCPD), the Office of Public Affairs (OPA), the Department of Public Safety Communications (DPSC), the Department of Procurement and Material Management (DPMM), and the Department of Information and Technology (DIT). On behalf of Fairfax County, OPA invoked a seven-working day extension on April 15, 2019.
Our response is comprised in two parts: (1) records provided and (2) an advanced estimate for additional responsive records.
Links to the records responsive to your requests are provided below.
Please be advised that because the information below was readily available or publicly available, all costs associated with searching for and providing these records have been waived as a courtesy.
* VITA Contract - Microsoft Large Account Reseller<https://vita.cobblestonesystems.com/public/ContractDetails.aspx?cid=1557&wc=oplYouSJ3cTDS2kwbVIpB%2btxAw1gLGmbglGf%2bPFDsBDJR1v%2fCFdjwuF8b1sTzOakin0%2bmk1slS0yXc54tfHp3u7s4naGjKsKEmMKHVcLzwhssQL0exw0b3zhtjH0mHob35xWNePeqNMsWg95e4621A%3d%3d>
Fairfax County Government uses Microsoft Exchange for transmission of email and mailbox hosting for all supported Agencies, including the Fairfax County Police Department (FCPD).
* Responsive Records - SHAREFILE<https://fairfaxcounty-ent.sharefile.com/d-s262812f932f4f369>
* Dell Contract 4400006326<https://www.fairfaxcounty.gov/cregister/ContractDetails.aspx?contractNumber=4400006326>
Fairfax County Government uses built-in Microsoft Exchange content search capabilities, available through the O365 Security and Compliance Center, for searching email as well as Veritas eDiscovery Platform for more complex requests.
* Office 365 Security and Compliance Center: https://docs.microsoft.com/en-us/office365/securitycompliance/
* Veritas eDiscovery Platform Product Documentation: https://sort.veritas.com/documents/doc_details/eP/8.3/General/ProductGuides/
Vendor manuals and product documentation is hosted online by the vendors and is publicly available. Please note that some capabilities listed in the above-linked documents may not specifically be licensed by Fairfax County.
* Responsive Records - SHAREFILE<https://fairfaxcounty-ent.sharefile.com/d-scba2b2fb6ee40a08>
* AT&T Contract 4400006674<https://www.fairfaxcounty.gov/cregister/ContractDetails.aspx?contractNumber=4400006674>
* Verizon Contract 4400006679<https://www.fairfaxcounty.gov/cregister/ContractDetails.aspx?contractNumber=4400006679>
* T-Mobile Contract 4400006678<https://www.fairfaxcounty.gov/cregister/ContractDetails.aspx?contractNumber=4400006678>
* Responsive Records - SHAREFILE<https://fairfaxcounty-ent.sharefile.com/d-sfa2438a2fd648418>
FCPD uses cellular wireless mobile devices on AT&T, Verizon Wireless, and T-Mobile.
* AT&T mobile devices. Fairfax County Government has acquired an AT&T Message Archiving service portal for archiving of AT&T mobile device SMS messages sent to or received by County-owned mobile devices. The retention policy for this SMS portal is currently configured from roughly one month after the phone is activated indefinitely. Email documentation directly from vendor indicating the system retention policy is included as part of this response.
* Verizon and T-Mobile mobile devices. Please note that a similar service for capturing SMS messages on FCPD phones on the Verizon or T-Mobile wireless networks has not been acquired at this point.
* Reference advanced estimate below and attached excel spreadsheet titled "4a (SMS) Advanced Estimate"
The estimate included below and attached only includes SMS text messages that are available in the AT&T SMS portal. It does not include costs for the physical search and review of 130 mobile phones-this would result in significant time, cost and coordination among public safety employees. If you would like an estimate for the non-AT&T SMS text messages, then please let us know.
FCPD maintains approximately 130 mobile phones on Verizon and T-Mobile service provider networks that may have responsive SMS records retained on the device which cannot be archived by the above-mentioned AT&T SMS portal. As such, a physical review of devices would be required in order to determine whether additional responsive records exist outside of the AT&T SMS portal.
* Reference advanced estimate below and attached excel spreadsheet titled "Request 4b (Email) Advanced Estimate"
* Below is a screenshot of Content Search functionality in the Microsoft Security and Compliance Center published user guide reference in Section 2b related to case insensitivity. (https://docs.microsoft.com/en-us/office365/securitycompliance/keyword-queries-and-search-conditions).
* Attached is a screenshot of the Veritas eDiscovery Platform user manual referenced in 2b that indicates search capabilities are case insensitive (p. 82 of the vendor's manual).
* For the AT&T Text Portal, DIT was unable to locate any documentation that specifically stated the keyword search functionality is case insensitive. Link to online knowledge base for AT&T portal (Smarsh backend) is located below:
* CAD Record Management System contract 4400000309<https://www.fairfaxcounty.gov/cregister/ContractDetails.aspx?contractNumber=4400000309>
* Responsive Records - SHAREFILE<https://fairfaxcounty-ent.sharefile.com/d-s26f576d0c064b4eb>
Fairfax County Government is a Microsoft O365 customer which includes a Skype Messaging entitlement which is available for use on the patrol car computers and office computers. Skype Messages are treated as real time communications and are not captured or archived by DIT. DIT is unaware of any records that would be responsive to this portion of the request.
* Reference advanced estimate below and attached excel spreadsheet titled "Request 5d (In Car Msg.) Advanced Estimate"
Please be advised that FCPD conducted a diligent search for records. FCPD determined that records responsive to this request do not exist.
Fairfax County estimates that it will cost $1,552.53 to collect information responsive to requests for 4a, 4b, and 5d. Please note that once emails, texts, and in car messaging data are collected, a subject matter expert must review each record to determine:
· if it is a "public record" as defined in Va. Code Ann. § 2.2-3701,
· if it is responsive to the scope of your request for information related to sworn officers, and
· if so, whether it is subject to any exemptions.
Staff time for such review and production of the same will cost the County approximately $9,670.19. A further breakdown (e.g., estimated volume of potentially responsive records) is provided in the attached above-referenced excel spreadsheets. The total advanced estimate is $11,222.72. We hope this assists with your decision on how to best move forward with your requests.
Please also be aware that given the magnitude of this request the County would be unable to produce the entire record response within the 12 working days contemplated under the statute. Therefore, if you decide to move forward with this your request, the County will contact you to arrange for additional response time once your advance payment for estimated costs is received. Va. Code Ann. § 2.2-3704(C).
If you wish to continue with your VFOIA request, please send a check made payable to the "County of Fairfax" in the amount of $11,222.72 to the Fairfax County Office of Public Affairs at the address included below. To the extent that the actual costs may increase or decrease, you will be required to pay any additional costs and if the actual costs are less than estimated, the County will refund you the difference.
Countywide FOIA Office
Fairfax County Office of Public Affairs
12000 Government Center Parkway, Suite 551
Fairfax, Virginia 22035-0065