Guilford County Sheriff's Office Social Media

Working Narratives filed this request with the Guilford County Sheriff's Office of Guilford County, NC.

It is a clone of this request.

Status
Completed

Communications

From: Nick Szuberla

To Whom It May Concern:

Pursuant to North Carolina Public Records Law (G.S. §§ 132-1 through 132-10), I hereby request the following documents:

1. All records regarding the purchase of, acquisition of, installation of, subscription to, payment for, or agreements concerning software designed to access information from social media services;

2. All records that contain any information about the functioning of software designed to access information from social media services that is used or has been used by the Guilford County Sheriff's Office;

3. All records regarding correspondence about or with a company that offers software designed to access information from social media services, including but not limited to all correspondence about or with the companies Brightplaent, Geofeedia, Intrado Inc, LifeRaft, Magnet Forensics, Media Sonar, Signal Corporation, and ZeroFOX;

4. All records regarding the policies that govern access to or use of software designed to access information from social media services;

5. All training materials and all records used to instruct members of your agency in the proper use of software designed to access information from social media services or of the information such software is capable of accessing;

6. All records regarding the sharing with entities outside the Guilford County Sheriff's Office of information obtained from or obtained by using software designed to access information from social media services;

7. All records referencing social media profiles, comments, posts, messages, or events accessed or retained from social media services through use of software designed to access information from social media services.

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 would request your response within ten (10) business days.

Sincerely,

Nick Szuberla

From: James Secor

Mr. Szuberla:

We have received your public records request (below) and will respond within the next 14 days.

JDS III
Jim Secor, Sheriff's Attorney
N.C. State Bar No. 17594
Guilford County Sheriff's Office
400 W. Washington Street
Greensboro, NC 27401
Voice: 336-641-3161
Mobile: 336-430-8150
Email: jsecor@co.guilford.nc.us

From: James Secor

Mr. Szuberla:

Thank you for your email this morning.

We are working on your request for public records. Recently, we have been inundated with public records requests (“PRR’s”) and subpoenas seeking documents for Court hearings. While responding to such requests is a very important duty and function, there are only two of us here at the Sheriff’s Office Legal Department to prepare the responses.

Court matters and the numerous requests we receive each day for legal advice on Sheriff’s Office operational issues affecting our 500,000 + County citizens, 700 + employees and 800 + Inmates are, necessarily, given priority over responding to PRR’s.

We are working to get you a response to your PRR.

JDS III
Jim Secor, Sheriff’s Attorney
N.C. State Bar No. 17594
Guilford County Sheriff’s Office
400 W. Washington Street
Greensboro, NC 27401
Voice: 336-641-3161
Mobile: 336-430-8150
Email: jsecor@co.guilford.nc.us

From: Nick Szuberla

Hi Jim, Any progress on this? Thanks

From: James Secor

Yes.

I have Child Support Enforcement Court duty today but I will get our response out to you by Friday. Thanks for your continuing patience.

JDS III
Jim Secor, Sheriff’s Attorney
N.C. State Bar No. 17594
Guilford County Sheriff’s Office
400 W. Washington Street
Greensboro, NC 27401
Voice: 336-641-3161
Mobile: 336-430-8150
Email: jsecor@co.guilford.nc.us

From: Nick Szuberla

Thanks for the update!

From: James Secor

Mr. Szuberla:

Please accept this response to your public records request (dated June 22, 2016) concerning the following seven (7) items:

1. All records regarding the purchase of, acquisition of, installation of, subscription to, payment for, or agreements concerning software designed to access information from social media services.

Response: On January 4, 2016, the County of Guilford, State of North Carolina--acting on behalf of the Guilford County Sheriff’s Office (hereinafter “the GCSO”)--entered into a written contract with Media Sonar Technologies, Inc. (hereinafter “Media Sonar”). The contract term is one year (i.e., through January 3, 2017) with the option to renew for two additional one year terms. The sum of $15,000.00 is the maximum amount that Guilford County is obligated to pay to Media Sonar for all goods and services provided under the first year of this contract Pursuant to the contract, the GCSO was permitted to use Media Sonar’s social media monitoring services. For more specific details concerning the terms of the contract, please refer to the attached Exhibit No. 1 (consisting of 11 pages) which includes a complete copy of the purchase contract.

2. All records that contain any information about the functioning of software designed to access information from social media services that is used or has been used by the Guilford County Sheriff's Office;
Response: For general information on this subject, please refer to the Media Sonar website which can be found at this link-- https://www.mediasonar.com/. For more specific information, the GCSO is in possession of a document entitled “Media Sonar – User Guide” (consisting of 46 pages). Each page of this document is, however, stamped by Medial Sonar with the following admonition:

STATEMENT OF CONFIDENTIALITY: The information contained in this document is confidential and legally privileged and only intended for active users of Media Sonar. You may not disseminate or distribute this document to anyone who is not an intended recipient.

In addition, Paragraphs 6 and 8 of the contract attached to this email as Exhibit No. 1, make it clear that Media Sonar claims an intellectual property interest in its User Guide and training materials and that any release of this or similar Media Sonar materials by the County or GCSO would subject the same to suit by Media Sonar and potential civil liability for breach of contract.

Furthermore, North Carolina General Statute § 132-1.2 exempts political subdivisions and governmental agencies, like Guilford County and the GCSO, from any obligation to respond to public records requests, like yours, which seek the release of confidential proprietary and/or trade secret information owned by a third-party (in this instance, Media Sonar). As such, based on this statutory authority and our contractual obligations, we must respectfully deny this request.

3. All records regarding correspondence about or with a company that offers software designed to access information from social media services, including but not limited to all correspondence about or with the companies Brightplanet, Geofeedia, Intrado Inc, LifeRaft, Magnet Forensics, Media Sonar, Signal Corporation, and ZeroFOX;

Response: Media Sonar is the only company with which Guilford County / the GCSO has a contract for social media monitoring services and the contract entered into on January 4, 2016 was the first such contract. The communications you request are attached hereto as Exhibit No. 2 (consisting of 147 pages).

4. All records regarding the policies that govern access to or use of software designed to access information from social media services;

Response: The GCSO’s policy regarding the use of Media Sonar’s software and services is that our employees only utilize these measures in connection with legitimate agency needs for criminal investigative information and criminal intelligence gathering, related to law enforcement functions.

Moreover, although the specific manner in which Media Sonar’s software and services function is proprietary, the GCSO’s understanding is that the information such measures are capable of gathering is also available to anyone else with internet access.

5. All training materials and all records used to instruct members of your agency in the proper use of software designed to access information from social media services or of the information such software is capable of accessing;

Response: See the responses to Request Nos. 3 and 4 above.

6. All records regarding the sharing with entities outside the Guilford County Sheriff's Office of information obtained from or obtained by using software designed to access information from social media services;

Response: North Carolina General Statute § 132-1.4(a) states that “[r]ecords of criminal investigations conducted by public law enforcement agencies, [and] records of criminal intelligence information compiled by public law enforcement agencies . . . are not public records as defined by G.S. 132-1<https://1.next.westlaw.com/Link/Document/FullText?findType=L&pubNum=1000037&cite=NCSTS132-1&originatingDoc=NDB18E7002FE711E39F46B56F9952D1CA&refType=LQ&originationContext=document&transitionType=DocumentItem&contextData=(sc.Document)>.” (underscoring added). Based on this statutory authority, we must respectfully deny this information request.

7. All records referencing social media profiles, comments, posts, messages, or events accessed or retained from social media services through use of software designed to access information from social media services.
Response: North Carolina General Statute § 132-1.4(a) states that “[r]ecords of criminal investigations conducted by public law enforcement agencies, [and] records of criminal intelligence information compiled by public law enforcement agencies . . . are not public records as defined by G.S. 132-1<https://1.next.westlaw.com/Link/Document/FullText?findType=L&pubNum=1000037&cite=NCSTS132-1&originatingDoc=NDB18E7002FE711E39F46B56F9952D1CA&refType=LQ&originationContext=document&transitionType=DocumentItem&contextData=(sc.Document)>.” (underscoring added). Based on this statutory authority, we must respectfully deny this information request.

JDS III
Jim Secor, Sheriff’s Attorney
N.C. State Bar No. 17594
Guilford County Sheriff’s Office
400 W. Washington Street
Greensboro, NC 27401
Voice: 336-641-3161
Mobile: 336-430-8150
Email: jsecor@co.guilford.nc.us

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