Subpoenas for SmartGrid and Energy Company data

FOIA Request filed this request with the Federal Bureau of Investigation of the United States of America.
Status
Rejected

Communications

From: sarah cortes

VIA EMAIL — foiparequest@ic.fbi.gov

David M. Hardy
Section Chief, Record/Information Dissemination Section
Federal Bureau of Investigation
Record/Information Dissemination Section
170 Marcel Drive
Winchester, VA 22602-4483

RE: Freedom of Information Act Request

Dear Mr. Hardy:

This letter constitutes a request under the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA), 5 U.S.C.§ 552, and is submitted to the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) on behalf of Sarah Cortes and MuckRock.com.

I hereby request all agency records created from August 1, 2009, to the date of processing for this request, discussing, concerning, or reflecting subpoenas or other government requests, or orders for information preservation, for:

• Smart grid information;

• Smart meter information;

• Energy usage information;

• A smart grid is an electrical grid that uses information and communications technology to gather and act on information, such as information about the behaviors of suppliers and consumers, in an automated fashion to improve the efficiency, reliability, economics, and sustainability of the production and distribution of electricity. SmartGrid policy in the United States is described in 42 U.S.C. ch.152 subch.IX § 17381. http://www.law.cornell.edu/uscode/text/42/chapter-152/subchapter-IX

• A smart meter is usually an electrical meter that records consumption of electric energy in intervals of an hour or less and communicates that information at least daily back to the utility for monitoring and billing purposes. Smart meters enable two-way communication between the meter and the central system. Unlike home energy monitors, smart meters can gather data for remote reporting.

This request is limited to agency records about the above subjects that were sent
to utilities or government agencies operating in the states of
• California
• Colorado
• Massachusetts

This request expressly includes any reports, manuals, guides or other written guidance on the issuance of such subpoenas, government requests for information, or orders for information preservation pertaining to smart grid, smart meter or energy usage information, and any records in the FBI’s possession relating to such subpoenas or other government requests, or orders for information preservation sent by the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA).

This request includes, but is not limited to, electronic records.

I/we also request that search and duplication fees be waived, as 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.

Disclosure of the requested information is in the public interest within the meaning of 5 U.S.C. § 552(a)(4)(a)(iii) and 28 C.F.R. § 16.11(k)(1). To determine whether a request meets this standard, regulations require the FBI to assess whether “[d]isclosure of the requested information . . . is likely to contribute significantly to public understanding of the operations or activities of the government,” and whether such disclosure “is not primarily in the commercial interest of the requester.” 28 C.F.R. §§ 16.11(k)(1)(i), (ii). This request clearly satisfies these criteria.

First, because the FBI is a component of the federal government, information concerning the FBI’s interest in and collection of smart grid, smart meter, and energy usage data clearly and directly relates to the “operations or activities of the federal government.” 28 C.F.R. § 16.11(k)(2)(i).

Second, disclosure of the requested information will “contribute to an understanding of government operations or activities.” 28 C.F.R. § 16.11(k)(2)(ii) (internal quotation marks omitted). The requested information will shed light on the quantity and types of information sought by the government. Smart grid, smart meter, and energy usage data are about activities that use energy, whether in homes or businesses. Collection of such data may provide the government with a window into otherwise private activities. The requested information is not in the public domain and, therefore, will necessarily contribute to a more robust public understanding of the subject.

Third, the requested material will contribute to “public understanding” of federal energy usage data collection and analysis. 28 C.F.R. § 16.11(k)(2)(iii) (internal quotation marks omitted). This information will contribute to the understanding of a reasonably broad audience of persons interested in the subject. 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.

Fourth, the disclosure will “contribute significantly” to the public’s knowledge and
understanding of federal energy usage data collection programs. 28 C.F.R. § 16.11(k)(2) (iv) (internal quotation marks omitted). We are unaware of any public information about the FBI’s collection of energy usage data. In recent years the government has promoted the smart grid and smart meters in the interests of energy efficiency. While this is a laudable goal, the detailed information about energy-using activities available through the smart grid and smart meters has also raised significant privacy issues. The information sought through this FOIA request will contribute significantly to the public’s knowledge and understanding of the issues involved in expanding the deployment of the smart grid and smart meters and will enable the public to make informed decisions on privacythreats. As such, the response to this FOIA request will undoubtedly enhance the public’s understanding of the subject.

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. If you have any questions or concerns, do not hesitate to contact me at sarah_cortes@post.harvard.edu or 617-784-6113.

Sincerely,

Sarah Cortes
MuckRock.com

From: Sobonya, David P.

Dear Ms. Cortes,

The FBI has received your Freedom of Information Act/Privacy (FOIPA) request and it will be forwarded to the Work Process Unit (WPU) or a Single Station Team (SST) for review. Your request will be processed under the provisions of FOIPA and a response will be mailed to you at a later date.

Requests for fee waivers and expedited processing will be addressed once your request has been assigned an FOIPA request number. You will receive written notification of the FBI’s decision.

Information regarding the Freedom of Information Act/Privacy is available at http://www.fbi.gov/ or http://www.fbi.gov/foia/. If you require additional assistance please contact the Public Information Officer.

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 Aug. 7, 2012. Please let me know when I can expect to receive a response, or if further clarification is needed.

Thank you for your help.

From: Sobonya, David P.

Dear Ms. Cortes,

Due to the voluminous requests that the FBI receives on a daily, weekly, monthly and annual basis requests are processed in order that they are received. The request is waiting to be opened. When opened, it will be assigned a FOIPA request number and correspondence will be mailed to you at that time.

Please contact me if you require further assistance.

Thank you,

From: Federal Bureau of Investigation

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 Aug. 7, 2012. Please let me know when I can expect to receive a response, or if further clarification is needed.

Thank you for your help.

From: Sobonya, David P.

Dear Ms. Cortes,

Due to the voluminous requests that the FBI receives on a daily, weekly, monthly and annual basis requests are processed in order that they are received. The request is waiting to be opened. When opened, it will be assigned a FOIPA request number and correspondence will be mailed to you at that time.

Please contact me if you require further assistance.

From: Federal Bureau of Investigation

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 Aug. 7, 2012. Please let me know when I can expect to receive a response, or if further clarification is needed.

Thank you for your help.

From: Sobonya, David P.

Dear Ms. Cortes,

The above request was closed and correspondence was mailed to you on 11-26-12.

Please contact me if you require further assistance.

From: sarah cortes

Hi David,

We called and left a message today and previously. We believe that this request is specific and searchable, asking for specific documents and not the compilation of new data.

Could it be reviewed and responded to, and if there's specific sections we can modify, please let us know what they are?

Thanks for your help.

From: Sobonya, David P.

Dear Ms. Cortes,

The assigned analyst advised that you can either submit a new request with additional information or file an appeal with the Office of Information Policy (OIP). If you submit additional correspondence, please reference the FOIA request number.

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 Aug. 7, 2012. Please let me know when I can expect to receive a response, or if further clarification is needed.

Thank you for your help.

From: Sobonya, David P.

Dear Ms. Cortes,

The above FOIPA request was closed on 11-26-12 and correspondence mailed to you on that date. Please reference FOIA Request Number #1199273-000 in future correspondence.

From: FOIA Request

Hello, I would like to submit this appeal, narrowing the request to only the State of California. Thank you.

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 Aug. 7, 2012. Please let me know when I can expect to receive a response, or if further clarification is needed.

Thank you for your help.

From: Federal Bureau of Investigation

An acknowledgement letter, stating the request is being processed.

From: Federal Bureau of Investigation

The request has been rejected as being too vague, burdensome or otherwise unprocessable.

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