Surveillance Study Committee - Oct 30th, 2018

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Approval of Oct 18th Minutes. The group approved minutes from the Oct 18th meeting, with minor amendments.

Future meetings. We have a meeting schedule for Nov 29th. The group wanted to have one other meeting in November. David Good will create a doodle poll for the meeting date.

Discussion of Draft Policy. The committee devoted most of the meeting to discussion of the draft policy. We picked up with Section 6, and got through the rest of the document.

My attention was focused on making redline edits to a paper copy. Here are some of the more significant discussions I remember.

Annual training. At the last meeting, there was concern that an annual training requirement would create too much burden for the town. The group seemed to agree that an acknowledgment of having read the policy would be sufficient. It would be nice to have records of this, for auditability.

There was discussion about where and how surveillance information (like video) is stored. For example, consider storage on town-owned equipment, with a data retention policy of 30 days. That's a fairly straightforward scenario, and it's not hard to check for compliance. Now consider storage on a third-party service. It's harder to check for compliance here. Now consider storage on town-owned equipment, with a backup on a third-party service. Here, data retention has to cover both the local storage, and backup copies. John Gersh will add an item to section 7 about storage location.

When discussion notice of use (aka "signage"), a committee member asked how ACMI would be treated? If ACMI was covering (say) town day, and a reporter followed someone around with a camera, would that be considered surveillance? Could the ACMI reporter do this in a way that violated the surveillance policy? The committee doesn't intend for the policy to apply to ACMI's news reporting, nor do they intend the policy to apply to public meetings that are routinely recorded (or broadcast). We should word this intention into the policy.

There was a desire to have some kind of annual reporting requirements. For example, the number of times video was requested, or the number of times video was used. Mark Streitfeld will work on drafting a section for reporting requirements.

There was a discussion about public records requests. During an earlier meeting, town counsel stated that camera footage would probably be requestable under Massachusetts public records law. This would have to be handled by the town's public records custodian, as a normal public records request (i.e., subject to the set of exemptions listed in the public records law). A committee member asked "If we had a thirty-day retention period, what's to stop someone from making public records requests for all of our video, every 30 days". I don't believe there's anything in the public records law that would prevent this. However, there is the matter of cost -- cost for duplication, and segregation.

The group discussed a number of specific edits -- Steve Revilak will make these changes to the master copy of the draft. At that point, we'll be ready to start collecting comments on iteration #2.