Quinton Mason's internet usage 4/25/14 request (DHS)

Jason Smathers filed this request with the Department of Homeland Security of the United States of America.
Tracking # 2014-HQFO-00475, 2014-HQAP-00068
Status
Rejected

Communications

From: Jason Smathers

To Whom It May Concern:

This is a request under the Freedom of Information Act. I hereby request the following records:

All temporary internet files (aka cache files), files representing favorites or bookmarked websites, and files containing internet website browsing history which are contained on any computer or other device with internet access where that computer or device is assigned to Quinton Mason.

Please note that this request was made previously. See DHS/MGMT 11-85/Smathers and Appeal DHS11-029. The request was remanded upon appeal and I was waiting for the records from DHS. However, upon inquiring to the status I learned that my request was denied and I never received the denial letter. I asked if I could still appeal the request even though the time limit had expired since I received the denial letter far after the appeal deadline. However, that request was not responded to. Therefore, I am submitting a new request for the same information so that I can have appeal rights unless the agency wishes to reverse their position, which seems unreasonable.

Thank you.

Regards,
Jason Smathers

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 20 business days, as the statute requires.

Sincerely,

Jason Smathers

From: Lasko, Linda

Good afternoon,
Attached is our acknowledgment of your DHS FOIA request.  If you need to contact this office again concerning your request, please provide the DHS reference number. This will enable us to quickly retrieve the information you are seeking and reduce our response time. This office can be reached at 866-431-0486.
Regards,
DHS Privacy Office Disclosure & FOIA Program
STOP 0655
Department of Homeland Security
245 Murray Drive, SW
Washington, DC 20528-0655
Telephone:  1-866-431-0486 or 202-343-1743
Fax:  202-343-4011
Visit our
FOIA website (http://www.dhs.gov/foia)

  • Department of Homeland Security FOIA 2014-HQFO-00475 Acknowledgment

From: Lasko, Linda

Good afternoon, Attached is our final response to your request.  If you need to contact this office again concerning your request, please provide the DHS reference number. This will enable us to quickly retrieve the information you are seeking and reduce our response time. This office can be reached at 866-431-0486. Regards, DHS Privacy Office Disclosure & FOIA Program
STOP 0655
Department of Homeland Security
245 Murray Drive, SW
Washington, DC 20528-0655
Telephone:  1-866-431-0486 or 202-343-1743
Fax:  202-343-4011
Visit our FOIA website

  • Department of Homeland Security FOIA 2014-HQFO-00475 Final Response

From: Jason Smathers

FOIA Appeal

Dear Appeals Officer,

This is an appeal under the Freedom of Information Act.

On April 25, 2014, I requested the following records:
"All temporary internet files (aka cache files), files representing favorites or bookmarked websites, and files containing internet website browsing history which are contained on any computer or other device with internet access where that computer or device is assigned to Quinton Mason."

My request was assigned tracking number 2014-HQFO-00475.

On May 9, 2014, this request was rejected in a letter implying that the information I sought was not a "record."

I appeal. This is the second time I requested these records. The first time my request was denied and upon appeal my request was remanded back to the DHS FOIA office. Unfortunately, DHS denied my request a second time, but I did not receive the denial letter until after my appeal rights expired and I was not permitted to file a second appeal when DHS denied access a second time.

I am requesting the records that must have been obtained and retained due to the appeal after FOIA request DHS11-029 and the subsequent appeal DHS/MGMT 11-85/Smathers.

This information has already been acknowledged in that previous attempt to be agency record, thus this new attempt to deny access by saying that the data request is not even a record is untenable. It is also reasonably described, as I used the exact same description that allowed DHS to find the information in the past.

After being remanded the first time, I was told that these records were exempt per (b)(6). Although this exemption was not claimed this time, I will address the issue now in case it is tried again.

My request is for data files which will reveal the usage of a government computer by a government employee. There is no right to privacy in the official use of a government computer.

To invoke exemption 6, agencies must first find that the information is “similar” to personnel and medical files. New York Times v. Nat’l Aeronautic and Space Ass’n, 920 F.2d 1002 (D.C. Cir. 1990)(en banc).

After establishing that a file is “similar” to personnel or medical files, an agency must then balance the personal privacy intrusion that would occur from disclosure of the information against the public’s interest in its disclosure. The agency would be unable to establish the files are similar to personnel or medical files because they are not. Also, in any reasonable attempt to balance personal privacy with public interest it would be determined that the use of government computers by government employees for government purposes clearly is not a matter of personal privacy.

For these reasons and all others deemed appropriate by the appeals authority, I hereby appeal.

Regards,
Jason Smathers

From: Lasko, Linda

Mr. Smathers,

Attached, please find an acknowledgment of receipt related to your appeal of the response to FOIA 2014-HQFO-00475.

Sincerely,
U.S. Department of Homeland Security

202-343-1743 (Main FOIA Number)

Visit our FOIA website

This communication, along with any attachments, is covered by federal and state law governing electronic communications and may contain confidential and legally privileged information. If the reader of this message is not the intended recipient, you are hereby notified that any dissemination, distribution, use or copying of this message is strictly prohibited. If you have received this in error, please reply immediately to the sender and delete this message. Thank you.

From: Meus, Lauren M CIV

Mr. Smathers:

Please find attached the FOIA Appeal decision issued by Judge McKenna's office.

Thank you,

Lauren Meus
Hearing Docket Clerk

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