Lincoln Police Department HunchLab Documents

Algorithmic Transparency filed this request with the Lincoln Police Department of Lincoln, NE.


From: Michael Morisy

To Whom It May Concern:

Pursuant to the Nebraska Public Records Statutes (Neb. Rev. Stat. § 84-712), I hereby request the following records:

This request is concerning the the software and algorithm used in the HunchLab Predictive Policing Software. For reference and help retrieving responsive documents, this program was publicly discussed in the following news article and press release:

I am requesting the following records related to the above program:

* Any software and algorithms developed for the implementation of the program. I'm particularly interested in any algorithms that have a public policy outcome, such as providing guidance on a policy or an assessment of an individual. More generally, I would like any software that was developed by or with, given to, used by, purchased or licensed to this agency for implementation of the above referenced program. This would include original source code, any compiled binaries (also known as executables), spreadsheets, program scripts, and other digital materials used to calculate any data in the above program. It would also include the input training data for machine learning algorithms. Collectively, these responsive materials will be referred to as "the software" in the following paragraphs.

* All instructional materials, presentations and presentation materials (including recorded video and audio, PowerPoint files, prepared remarks, and slides formats), and other guidance on the use of "the software." This includes any notes taking during meetings that discussed the use of the software, any explanations (whether internally or externally generated) of how the software works, and any other document that has been used to help explain the use of "the software" to any party, including internal documentation, public relations materials, and executive summaries. This also includes any description of input and output data fields that will aid in understanding the type of information that is submitted to the software, and that is produced by the software.

* A copy of any privacy impact assessments, use policies, standard operating procedures, data retention policies, legal opinions, warranties, non-disclosure agreements, contracts, liability waivers, insurance agreements, Requests for Proposals, Responses to Requests for Proposal, Memorandums of Understanding, Letters of Interest, usage policies, or informal agreements that reference "the software" or otherwise guide it use or the relationship between this agency and the provider or developer of the software.

* A copy of any funding opportunity announcements, grant applications and grantor status/progress reports, reports to legislative bodies, annual reports that mention the use of the Software, as well as audit records, including but not limited to security audits of the software, misuse reports, and reports to oversight bodies.
* A copy of any validation studies conducted with respect to the program or with respect to any software or algorithms used in connection with the program, and a copy of any records pertaining to inquiries for the need of validation studies, or discussion of potential or actual validation studies. By “validation study,” I mean any study designed to assess how accurate the program is in predicting what it is supposed to predict, or to assess whether the program may err in the direction of either under- or overestimating likelihoods or predicted outcomes, or may produce any results that are biased or unexpected in any way.

* For the aspects of the software that require an input, for example, to compute a value, we request a copy of the five most recent sets of data that were used for input, as well as the five most recent outputs of the software, in whatever their native format is. If these inputs or outputs include exempt information, we ask that you exempt only that information which is specifically exempted from law, and provide the other material.

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 4 business days, as the statute requires.


Michael Morisy

From: Tonya L. Peters

Mr. Morisy,

The City of Lincoln Police Department is in receipt of your Public Records Requests. Unfortunately, your request has come during a week when the department has had an audit, vacations, and have received other voluminous public records request. Please accept my apologies, but I have not been able to meet with staff to discuss your request. In addition, I am going to have to learn a little about the subject matter and about some of the specifics before I am going to be comfortable knowing that this requests has been complied with. I will be out of the office tomorrow, but will attempt to meet with staff on Monday and begin some of my own research. I will stay in touch. If there is some immediate information that you are needing, please let me know and I will see what I can do.

Tonya Peters
Police Legal Advisor

From: Tonya L. Peters

Mr. Morisy,
Please accept my apologies for the delayed response. See attached.


From: Michael Morisy

Dear Ms. Peters:
Thank you for this response. I'm working with Michael Morisy on this request and will get back to you with any follow-up.

My best,
Ellen Goodman

From: Michael Morisy

Dear Ms. Peters:

We are working with Michael Morisy on his open records request of November 15, 2016 regarding the Lincoln Police Department's use of HunchLab predictive policing software. Thank you very much for your response. The documents that you provided were all very helpful, particularly the sample training data. We appreciate your attention to our request.

We have a number of follow-up questions that we hope you will be able to answer.

(1) First, you say that "Generally, your records requests is pursuant to Neb. Rev. Stat. §84- 712.05(3) and (8) as it appears to request trade secrets or other proprietary or commercial information, or information that could jeopardize the security of the Lincoln Police Department’s records." We believe that there is a word missing in that sentence, namely, the word "denied," and that the sentence should begin "Generally, your records request is denied pursuant to Neb. Rev. Stat. §84- 712.05(3) and (8) . . ." Is that correct?

(2) To the extent that the records request is denied pursuant to Neb. Rev. Stat. §84- 712.05(3), because it appears to request trade secrets, is it correct that the trade secrets exception is being asserted on behalf of Azavea, Inc., the private developer of HunchLab? We ask this question because we believe that only private businesses can have trade secrets recognized as such by Neb. Rev. Stat. §84- 712.05(3). Thus, we would appeal the decision to deny our request if the trade secret exception were being asserted on behalf of the Lincoln Police Department.

(3) We also note that Neb. Rev. Stat. §84- 712.05(3) does not allow denials of records requests for all trade secrets or confidential information, but only for those trade secrets or confidential information that "which if released would . . . serve no public purpose." We would like to know whether you have specifically determined that the documents you have that contain trade secrets of Azavea, Inc. would serve no public purpose if released. We believe the public is served in knowing the general policing priorities the algorithm establishes and the mechanism by which it does so. We also would like to know in general terms what kinds of documents you have that you believe contain Azavea trade secrets, since this would affect our decision about whether to appeal the denial.

(4) We would like to state in particular that we are not interested in any details about the pricing of Azavea's services, and although we requested any contracts between the Police Department and Azavea, we did not do so for the purpose of obtaining pricing data. You stated that you have no contracts between the Police Department and Azavea that you can produce. If you are not producing contracts because they contain pricing data, or other sensitive data, we would request that the contracts be redacted to remove pricing data, or other sensitive data, and that the redacted versions be produced.

(5) You have also stated that the records request is denied pursuant to Neb. Rev. Stat. §84- 712.05(8), because it appears to request "information that could jeopardize the security of the Lincoln Police Department's records." We would like to know whether you are taking the position that Neb. Rev. Stat. §84- 712.05(8) enables the Lincoln Police Department to refuse to produce any records that it does not want to make public, or whether you are taking the narrower position that specific records, like the real-time outputs from HunchLab, might endanger public property because individuals could learn where the police are not prioritizing.

(6) We would like to further request any correspondence between the Lincoln Police Department and Azavea regarding HunchLab, including email correspondence. If there is a cost to producing such correspondence, please let us know.

Thank you very much for your assistance.

Yours sincerely,
Ellen Goodman and Robert Brauneis

From: Tonya L. Peters

Ms. Goodman and Mr. Brauneis,

Please see my responses below in red.


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