EOIR E-mails re Skype

Matthew Hoppock filed this request with the Department of Justice, Executive Office for Immigration Review of the United States of America .
Tracking #

2019-11290

Status
Completed

Communications

From: Matthew Hoppock


To Whom It May Concern:

Pursuant to the Freedom of Information Act, I hereby request the following records:

The e-mail messages to or from any EOIR employee mentioning the word "Skype" from January 1, 2017 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 20 business days, as the statute requires.

Sincerely,

Matthew Hoppock

From: Department of Justice, Executive Office for Immigration Review

Matthew,

We are not able to perform a "reasonable search" of some 3000 individual .pst folders for the word "Skype".

Can you please provide some context to help us perform a "reasonable search" of those custodians most likely to possess the requested records. Also providing some nexus to public interest will help us with the subsequent exemption balancing decisions.

Wr/
Joseph R. Schaaf
Chief Counsel, Administrative Law
Executive Office for Immigration Review

From: Department of Justice, Executive Office for Immigration Review

An acknowledgement letter, stating the request is being processed.

From: Department of Justice, Executive Office for Immigration Review

Matthew, we had not heard back from you regarding our December 18, 2018 communication below.

If we don't hear from you within 30 days, we will assume you no longer need this information, and close your case administratively.

Wr/
Joseph R. Schaaf
Chief Counsel, Administrative Law
Executive Office for Immigration Review

From: Department of Justice, Executive Office for Immigration Review

Got it. If the intent is to show a link between Skype and FOIA, how about a search for e-mails containing both “Skype” and “FOIA”? That would eliminate a lot of clutter.

From: Department of Justice, Executive Office for Immigration Review

I don’t mind requesting the search, but I think there are going to be a ton of e-mails like “can I join Tuesday’s meeting via Skype” and “what time is the refresher training on Skype?”

I have to manually read, review, and redact each e-mail. If its too many to humanly review, I will have to follow up with a further scope request.

From: Department of Justice, Executive Office for Immigration Review

OK thanks, I think that would help. we will try that search and see how many hits. Wr/JRS

From: Department of Justice, Executive Office for Immigration Review

Matthew, OIT did an electronic search as requested and found 29,559 e-mails covering 64.2 GB of data.

If I reviewed and redacted one e-mail every 3 minutes, it would take me 9 work-months of doing nothing else to get to the end of 29,559 e-mails.

On the other hand, we have your later request for “Skype” in ACIJ and “AllofIJs” e-mails, 2019-18728. That still seems overbroad, but If you are willing to subsume 2019-11290 into 2019-18728, I will try to wade through those e-mails.

If I don’t hear from you within 30 days, I will assume you no longer need this information and close your request administratively.

Wr/
Joseph R. Schaaf
Chief Counsel, Administrative Law
Executive Office for Immigration Review

From: Matthew Hoppock

Joseph,

We had exchanged e-mails February 1, 2019 where we agreed to scope this request by changing the search terms to "instant messenger" or "instant message." Are you saying that search is the one that led to 29,559 e-mails?

If not, will that still work? I do think that will reveal substantially less e-mail messages. My primary goal is to try to determine whether EOIR employees are using the "instant message" function in Skype to get around their communications being subjected to FOIA review.

From: Department of Justice, Executive Office for Immigration Review

Yes, that is the search that resulted in 30k e-mails. I could ask OIT to try “Skype & FOIA” (both terms in same e-mail) which hopefully wouldn’t get many hits, but if it did those would surely be the ones you are interested in.

From: Matthew Hoppock

OK, I agree to your suggestion to subsume 2019-11290 into 2019-18728. Hopefully a much smaller pool of custodians will yield far less messages.

Have a nice evening.

Matthew Hoppock

From: Department of Justice, Executive Office for Immigration Review

Matthew, we have responsive documents, but because we have to open each Outlook folder individually this is going to take some time. Wr/JRS

From: Department of Justice, Executive Office for Immigration Review

Matthew, please see FOIA response attached. 2019-18728 should follow shortly.

Wr/
Joseph R. Schaaf
Chief Counsel, Administrative Law
Executive Office for Immigration Review

From: Department of Justice, Executive Office for Immigration Review

Matthew, we responded on 16 May. Wr/JRS

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