Public development of police facial recognition software policy (City Council)

Phil Mocek filed this request with the Seattle City Council of Seattle, WA.
Tracking # 2014-034
Status
Completed

Communications

From: Phil Mocek

To Whom It May Concern:

Pursuant to RCW Ch. 42.56 (Public Records Act), I hereby request the following records:

All records, along with metadata, of the public process by which various parties developed the policy that Seattle Police Department proposed to Seattle City Council for use of the facial recognition software SPD hope to purchase with U.S. Department of Homeland Security funding and use to automatically search photos of people who were booked into jail. This should include but not be limited to: meeting notices, agenda, presentations, minutes, memoranda, e-mail messages including discussion of the policy and surrounding process, and drafts and revisions of the policy. I am particularly interested in input received from the public, including representatives of ACLU of Washington, along with that from the Seattle Human Rights Commission and Seattle Police Department.

This public process was acknowledged in an e-mail message from Vinh Tang, Legislative Assistant to Seattle City Councilmember Bruce Harrell, sent from his seattle.gov e-mail address on February 10, 2013 at 2:36 p.m., in response to a related public inquiry. I became aware of it after it was forwarded to the Seattle Privacy mailing list. In that message, Mr. Tang wrote, "By way of this email, I wanted to confirm the Public Safety, Civil Rights, and Technology committee will vote on [Council Bill] 117996 at the Wednesday 2/19/14, 2pm meeting. The legislation was discussed at last week's committee on 2/05/14. The ACLU, Seattle Human Rights Commission, and other community members have been part of the public process in developing the policy document for the Booking Photo Comparison Software (project #9 on the approved projects from the grant). Bottom line: the Booking Photo Comparison Software system will only be used for suspects; the software system will not be used on victims and witnesses."

I also request that, if appropriate, fees be waived as I believe this request is in the public interest. The requested documents will be made available to the general public free of charge as part of the public information service at MuckRock.com, processed by a representative of the news media/press and is made in the process of news gathering and not for commercial usage.

In the event that fees cannot be waived, 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,

Phil Mocek

From: Winkler, Jennifer

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Legislative Department
Seattle City Council

February 25, 2014

Mr. Phil Mocek
Via Muckrock News (case 10518-08129736)
DEPT MR 7025
P.O. Box 55819
Boston, MA 02205-5819

Via E-Mail Message

RE: Public Records Request No. 2014-034

Dear Mr. Mocek:

In accordance with RCW 42.56.520, this e-mail acknowledges receipt of your Public Records Request dated February 17, 2014 and received by the Legislative Department on February 18th, 2014, whereby you request the following:

* All records, along with metadata, of the public process by which various parties developed the policy that Seattle Police Department proposed to Seattle City Council for use of the facial recognition software (Booking Photo Comparison Software) including input received from:

o the public,

o representatives of ACLU of Washington,

o the Seattle Human Rights Commission, and

o Seattle Police Department

* Including: meeting notices, agenda, presentations, minutes, memoranda, e-mail messages including discussion of the policy and surrounding process, and drafts and revisions of the policy.

The Legislative Department, which includes the Seattle City Council, Office of the City Clerk and Central Staff, has begun the process of determining whether or not it holds responsive records. Our office will contact you on or before April 1, 2014 with an installment of responsive records or a status update on your request. Of course if we complete our search sooner, any responsive records will be made available at that time. Any questions regarding your request may be directed to Sharon Johnson at the information provided below.

Sincerely,

Jennifer Winkler

On behalf of Sharon Johnson, CPRO, MPS
Certified Public Records Officer
Legislative Department - Office of the City Clerk
600 Fourth Avenue, Floor 3
PO Box 94728
Seattle, WA 98124-4728
(206) 733-9597
Sharon.johnson@seattle.gov<mailto:Sharon.johnson@seattle.gov>

From: Phil Mocek

RE: my public records request of February 17, 2014 (your identifier: 2014-034)

Ms. Winkler:

More than three weeks have passed since I requested these records. Councilmember Bruce Harrell has repeatedly, publicly, stated that a thorough public process led to the policy Seattle Police Department have proposed for their self-regulation of their use of this potentially-invasive technology. He repeatedly uses this supposed public process as justification for his support of the SPD policy. Council Bill 118143, to accept U.S. Department of Homeland Security funding for this program, thereby avoiding any City of Seattle budgetary oversight, passed 7-1 yesterday, after Mr. Harrell stood before fellow council members and the public and again stated that this thorough public process occurred. Yet City Council not provided any record of such.

I believe this delay is unwarranted. I believe delaying production of responsive records---assuming any such records exist---is a stalling tactic that effectively facilitated passage of this bill.

Approximately much time is spent on a weekly basis processing my request?

Cordially,
Phil Mocek

From: MuckRock.com

To Whom It May Concern:

I wanted to follow up on the following Freedom of Information request, copied below, and originally submitted on Feb. 17, 2014. Please let me know when I can expect to receive a response, or if further clarification is needed. You had assigned it reference number #2014-034.

Thank you for your help.

From: Phil Mocek

RE: my public records request of February 17, 2014 (your identifier: 2014-034)

Ms. Winkler:

Three weeks have passed since I contacted you via e-mail on March 11 requesting notification of approximately how much time is spent on a weekly basis processing my request. Since then, I have not received contact from you or anyone else regarding this matter. Could you please tell me who is working on this and what is taking so long? Mr. Harrell and his staff were very clear, in public meetings, on the radio, and in the newspapers, that the development of the police department's policy for use of facial recognition software to identify people using jail records a very public process. Surely they have these records close at hand (e.g., slide presentations, descriptions by vendors of the facial recognition software police department staff intend to purchase, announcements of and attendance records from public meetings, solicitation of public input, surveys and responses, summaries and analysis of public input received, discussion of potential revisions to policy based on that public input, etc.) I would expect someone from Mr. Harrell's office to simply hand over to you a file folder with related records you would then drop in a scanner and e-mail to me within a couple hours of your request for them.

I don't understand the delay, and you have provided no explanation of it.

Cordially,
Phil Mocek

From: Winkler, Jennifer

[cid:image001.jpg@01CF4E8C.7DD9AFC0]

Legislative Department
Seattle City Council

April 2, 2014

Mr. Phil Mocek
Via Muckrock News (case 10518-08129736)
DEPT MR 7025
P.O. Box 55819
Boston, MA 02205-5819

Via E-Mail Message

RE: Public Records Request No. 2014-034

Dear Mr. Mocek:

This e-mail is to provide you with a first installment of records responsive to your Public Records Request dated February 17, 2014 and received by the Legislative Department on February 18th, 2014, whereby you request the following:

* All records, along with metadata, of the public process by which various parties developed the policy that Seattle Police Department proposed to Seattle City Council for use of the facial recognition software (Booking Photo Comparison Software) including input received from:

o the public,

o representatives of ACLU of Washington,

o the Seattle Human Rights Commission, and

o Seattle Police Department

* Including: meeting notices, agenda, presentations, minutes, memoranda, e-mail messages including discussion of the policy and surrounding process, and drafts and revisions of the policy.

The Legislative Department, which is comprised of the Seattle City Council, Office of the City Clerk and Central Staff, continues its thorough search and review of responsive records, which involves a search of electronic (email, office share drives, individual drives and Mimosa Archives) and hard copy records and databases.

The attached sets of documents represent records from the offices of Councilmembers Harrell, Clark and Licata. Specifically these records address the following statement from your request:

I am particularly interested in input received from the public, including representatives of ACLU of Washington, along with that from the Seattle Human Rights Commission and Seattle Police Department

We continue to review additional sets for responsive documents and will have an additional installment or update to you on or before April 23, 2014.

Please feel free to contact Sharon Johnson directly with any questions or concerns.

Sincerely,

Jennifer Winkler

On behalf of Sharon Johnson, CPRO, MPS
Certified Public Records Officer
Legislative Department - Office of the City Clerk
600 Fourth Avenue, Floor 3
PO Box 94728
Seattle, WA 98124-4728
(206) 733-9597
Sharon.johnson@seattle.gov<mailto:Sharon.johnson@seattle.gov>

From: Johnson, Sharon

[cid:image001.jpg@01CF5EFD.4DFA4D60]

Legislative Department
Seattle City Council

April 23, 2014

Phil Mocek
MuckRock News
DEPT MR 10628
PO Box 55819
Boston, MA 02205-5819
requests@muckrock.com<mailto:requests@muckrock.com>

Via E-Mail Message

RE: Public Records Request No. 2014-034

Dear Mr. Mocek:

This email is to provide you with a second set of documents responsive to your Public Records Request concerning the Seattle Police Facial Recognition Software Policy.

Attached are assorted communications pertaining to the facial recognition software, including discussion questions from the ACLU and Human Rights Commission.

We are continuing our review of additional sets of records for responsive documents and will have an additional installment or update to you on or before May 16, 2014.

If you have any questions or concerns, please contact me directly at sharon.johnson@seattle.gov<mailto:sharon.johnson@seattle.gov>.

Sincerely,

Sharon Johnson

Sharon Johnson, CPRO, MPS
Certified Public Records Officer
Legislative Department - Office of the City Clerk
600 Fourth Avenue, Floor 3
PO Box 94728
Seattle, WA 98124-4728
(206) 733-9597
Sharon.johnson@seattle.gov<mailto:Sharon.johnson@seattle.gov>

From: Johnson, Sharon

[cid:image001.jpg@01CF711A.6A594F40]

Legislative Department
Seattle City Council

May 16, 2014

Phil Mocek
MuckRock News
DEPT MR 10754
PO Box 55819
Boston, MA 02205-5819
requests@muckrock.com<mailto:requests@muckrock.com>

Via E-Mail Message

RE: Public Records Request No. 2014-034 (Closure Letter)

Dear Mr. Mocek:

The purpose of this email is to inform you that the Legislative Department has completed its review of records collected in response to your request concerning development of the policy that the Seattle Police Department proposed to the Seattle City Council for use of facial recognition software. No additional records have been identified as responsive to your request.

A diligent search of hardcopy and electronic records was performed, which included a search of individual email accounts (in-box, sent, deleted, outbox, archives) office shared drives, network drives and office files and folders of council members Sally Bagshaw, Tim Burgess, Sally Clark, Jean Godden, Bruce Harrell, Nick Licata, Mike O'Brien, Tom Rasmussen, Kshama Sawant, each of their office staff, Council's Central Staff, and Clerk Office databases. The following search terms were used: "117996," "facial recognition software," "booking photo comparison software," and "project #9." No records have been redacted or withheld.

This email concludes the Legislative Department's response to your public records request. Please do not hesitate to contact me if I can be of assistance with future requests.

Sincerely,

Sharon Johnson

Sharon Johnson, CPRO, MPS
Certified Public Records Officer
Legislative Department - Office of the City Clerk
600 Fourth Avenue, Floor 3
PO Box 94728
Seattle, WA 98124-4728
(206) 733-9597
Sharon.johnson@seattle.gov<mailto:Sharon.johnson@seattle.gov>

From: Phil Mocek

Ms. Johnson:

On April 23, 2014, you wrote, "We are continuing our review of additional sets of records for responsive documents and will have an additional installment or update to you on or before May 16, 2014."

I do not believe that additional installment ever arrived. Muckrock, the partially-automated system I am using to track this and other requests, does not show any further contact from you regarding this matter.

Please advise.

Cordially,
Phil Mocek

From: Johnson, Sharon

Dear Mr. Mocek,

The Legislative Department notified you on May 16, 2014 that it had completed its search for records responsive to your request regarding the Seattle Police Department’s use of facial recognition software and that no additional records had been identified. (Please see attached email)

Sincerely,

Sharon Johnson

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