Surveillance Study Committee - Nov 29th, 2018

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Approval of Prior Minutes. The committee discussed, amended, and approved meeting minutes from Oct 30th and Nov 15th, 2018.

Review of Third Draft Comments. The committee discussed comments made to the third draft of the surveillance policy.

The committee discussed the use of the term "modalities" in Sections 1.1 and 3.2. The term was intended as a future-proofing measure. Section 3.2 explicitly includes "technologies that may have been invented yet", which seemed sufficient to cover the future-proofing aspect. The committee decided to change "modalities" to "technologies" in Section 1.1, and to strike "or modalities" from Section 3.2

The committee discussed the first sentence of section 3.1 (definition of Recording and Surveillance), which contains the text "Visual, audio, and electronic technologies designed and reasonably purposed to continually capture and record personally identifiable information". Committee members asked if the word "continually" could be omitted from the definition. There was also a question about what the words "reasonably purposed" meant. The committee decided to leave the wording as is, but add a comment with a proposed change: "Visual, audio, and electronic technologies designed to capture and/or record personally identifiable information". The original language came from Town Counsel, and there was concern that "reasonably purposed" might be a legal term of art, whose omission could change the meaning of the sentence.

Next, the committee discussed third-party possession of data. David Good described contracts that the town typically makes with third-party vendors. These contracts state that the town retains ownership of its data, that vendors must handle data in a way that's consistent with town policies, and that vendors must "give the data back" at the end of the contract. The committee wished to incorporate some of these elements into the policy Draft. We did this by adding language to the first sentence of section 6.3.1, so that it reads "Recorded Material obtained pursuant to this policy will normally be kept for thirty (30) days, including material stored at third-party locations."

Section 6.5.2 requires the Town Manager to "maintain a registry of authorized surveillance equipment operators". Mark Streitfeld proposed adding "including the dates they were trained and dates that they reviewed the surveillance policy" to this section. This suggestion generated a fair amount of discussion. Mr. Streitfeld wanted to ensure that the policy didn't become stale or forgotten. Other members were reluctant to impose record keeping requirements that were too specific.

The committee asked David Good and Julie Flaherty how they maintained training records within their departments. Mr. Good stated that he'd typically copy training certificates, and place them in the employee's personnel file. For acknowledgment of a policy, the employee would usually sign and date a statement (i.e., "I have read and agree to the policy"), and that would go into the employee's personnel file. Ms. Flaherty said that the police department has similar practices, but all of the record keeping is done electronically. In other words, the desired information is already being captured.

The committee decided to leave both the language and Mr. Streitfeld's comment. Steve Revilak will add another comment, to summarize the debate we just had. This is an area where Town Manager feedback would be helpful.

Jon Gersh proposed an addition to Section 6.6, Reporting. This would be a new section (6.6.1.4), reading "Time, extent, description, and purpose of all releases of data." Mr. Gersh's goals were transparency and disclosure, and he wanted some accounting of how Surveillance Information was disseminated. The committee adopted the new section, but changed the wording to "Time, extent, and description of all data releases". It's possible that much of this information would appear in the town's public records request log, and public records requesters are not required to state the purpose for their request.

Other Business. At this point, the draft surveillance policy has gone through three rounds of revisions. Steve Revilak informed the group that he would speak with the Town Manager tomorrow, for the purpose of discussing next steps. Mr. Revilak said he'd like to give the town manager a copy of the policy draft, after making changes we discussed tonight. The committee members were okay with this.

Meeting adjourned.