Oct 182014
 

Yesterday evening, I answered a buzz at my building’s gate to find that someone from CenturyLink, a telecommunications company formerly known as Qwest, as U.S. West before that, and probably as Bell or AT&T before that, was there to tell me about work they’d been doing in my neighborhood. She said they now offer Internet service here, and that she thought that previous options included only the cable company, Comcast.

Though I didn’t mention it, I have had a CenturyLink DSL connection at this address (with independent ISP Telebyte NW) since before they were known as CenturyLink. I told her that last I checked, their higher-speed service imposed a monthly transfer cap of about 46 hours of transfer at full speed (that’s 250 GB at 12 Mbps or so). She said she was unaware of any such cap.

Today, I went to CenturyLink’s site with hopes of finding better options than I found last I checked, a few months ago. Once again, their site was nearly useless, providing little more than teasers filled with wiggle words. So I started a “live chat” on the Web with a sales representative. I learned that the “up to 1 Gbps” service they offer for $80 per month, bundled with plain-old telephone service, is capped at 250 GB per month. At one gigabit per second, it takes 2,000 seconds, or a bit over a half-hour, to transfer 250 gigabytes of data.

Following is a transcript of our conversation (UPDATE: previous transcripts follow):

 

General Info
Chat start time Oct 18, 2014 3:08:30 PM EST
Chat end time Oct 18, 2014 3:57:10 PM EST
Duration (actual chatting time) 00:48:39
Operator Jodi B.
Chat Transcript
info: Thank you for contacting CenturyLink. A sales and service consultant will be with you in just a moment.

Your account information is confidential and protected by law. Please advise our agent if you prefer that we don’t use it to market products or repair your services. This has no effect on the service or offers we provide you.

info: Thank you for contacting CenturyLink for your internet and television needs. This is Jodi B., how may I help you today?

info: To ensure compliance with Payment Card Industry guidelines, please do not share your credit card information, security code, or CVV/CVC in the body of this chat. If required, your credit card information will be requested through a separate, secure window.

Potential Customer: Hi. I’m trying unsuccessfully to find a page that lists details of Internet service available in Seattle. Whether I click “check for services in my area” or “order now” I’m sent to https://www.centurylink.com/fiber/plans-and-pricing/seattle-washington/#CTAM which has the same information as previous page.

Potential Customer: Can you please give me the URL of a page which provides this information?

Jodi B.: What details are you trying to find/

Potential Customer: Internet services offered and prices at which you offer then.

Potential Customer: Not “up to” N “when you bundle” without any info about the technology used, what must be bundled, what “up to” means, restrictions on use, SLA, etc.

Potential Customer: Just, “we offer <detail about service> for a subscription of $N per <period>”

Potential Customer: Is that on your website?

Jodi B.: I would be happy to discuss all these pieces of information with you if you can provide me with your complete address?

Potential Customer: Is this information on your website?

Potential Customer: I can read it myself if I can just find it.

Potential Customer: But your website is horrible, and so far, I cannot find it.

Potential Customer: I hope you can point me to it.

Jodi B.: All internet speeds fluctuate no matter what provider you go with which is why our speeds state “up to”. No company can guarantee an exact speed all the time.

Potential Customer: via URL

Jodi B.: The specifics that you are requesting are not listed exactly on our site.

Potential Customer: Of all the things you might have on your website, this seems the most valuable.

Potential Customer: You really could cut out everything else and list what services you offer and at what prices, and both you and i would be better off.

Potential Customer: So I’m baffled.

Jodi B.: Our site will tell you what is provided in the bundle that you are looking into, but it will not provide you with the restrictions on use and SLA. Our Internet is DSL so the technology type is going to be ADSL2+ or VDSL2 depending on the speed that you are looking into.

Potential Customer: Oh, great! Please give me the URL to the 1 Gbps bundle offered in Seattle.

Potential Customer: I didn’t think VDSL2 went that high, but I have a modem that will do ADSL2+ and VDSL2, so I’m in good shape.

Jodi B.: I do not have a specific URL that will take you to an exact speed. Our speeds are based on your exact address as we are a DSL provider.

Potential Customer: You wrote, “Our site will tell you what is provided in the bundle that you are looking into.” I’m looking into the “up to 1 Gbps” bundle in Seattle. Can you give me the URL of the page to which you referred?

Jodi B.: I cannot provide you with an exact URL that will take you directly to the 1GB if it is available at your address. You will have to search for the speeds available to you at your home in order to get a list of speeds. If the 1GB is available at your home, then it will be listed.

Potential Customer: It is listed. I do not believe that your site will tell me what is provided for the bundle i”m looking into, but I welcome you proving me wrong.

Potential Customer: Can you tell me where I can find that on your site?

Potential Customer: I’m pretty handy with a browser, but no luck.

Potential Customer: after multiple attempts in multiple browsers over multiple months

Potential Customer: Really, I want to give you money to move my bits. But your website is infuriatingly poor.

Potential Customer: and of course, that does not inspire confidence

Potential Customer: But let’s try again. Where can I read specifics of services you offer?

Potential Customer: For example, I’m starting at https://www.centurylink.com/fiber/plans-and-pricing/seattle-washington

Potential Customer: nothing there but some teasers

Jodi B.: Our Proxy servers prevent us from getting onto our site from our side of things so I cannot provide you with an exact URL for the bundle that you are looking at.

Jodi B.: If it does not state any other services, then  you will only be getting internet.

Potential Customer: Cool. Let’s start with an approximate one.

Potential Customer: It says: Seattle Residential Pricing

Potential Customer: 1) “get speeds up to 40 Mbps (where available) starting at $30 a month for 3 yrs when you bundle

Potential Customer: 2) get speeds up to 100 Mbps starting at $50 a month for 3yrs when you bundle

Jodi B.: Click here

Potential Customer: 3) get speeds up to 1 Gig (I think you mean Gbps, but whatever) (in select areas only) starting at $80/mo for 3yrs when you bundle

Jodi B.: That link will take you to our main home page which is the only URL that I have.

Potential Customer: you gave me http://www.centurylink.com/

Jodi B.: Which is the only URL that I am able to provide.

Potential Customer: That sounds ridiculous, but that’s your business. Can you guide me to where I can read about services you offer and subscription prices?

Jodi B.: All 3 of the previous bundles are with home phone unlimited for 3 years without a contract.

Potential Customer: Let’s break that down. “with home phone” I care not about, so I guess you’ll hook up POTS and I’ll ignore it. “unlimited” I’m very curious about, because last I chatted with a sales rep, I found that you capped data transfer at an amount that I would hit in 46 hours at offered speed. “3 years without a contract” is perplexing. Seems it’s 1 year or 10 years or 6 months unless there’s a contract or prepayment.

Potential Customer: So, 1) what did you mean by unlimited?

Jodi B.: The unlimited is only for the home phone. It is not for internet. The internet does have a 250GB data cap.

Potential Customer: and 2) what is 3yrs without contract?

Jodi B.: The 3 year price lock bundle without a contract would include:

Jodi B.: Home Phone Unlimited local and long distance calling

Jodi B.: Whatever speed of your choice with a 250GB data cap

Potential Customer: 250 GB at 1 Gbps is 33 minutes and 20 seconds

Potential Customer: You’re seriously offering 1 Gbps service with a monthly transfer cap of a half-hour of transfer?

Jodi B.: 250GB is the data usage cap. 1GB is the speed.

Potential Customer: 1 GB (one gigabyte) is a quantity, not a speed. I think you mean 1 Gpbs (one gigabit per second).

Potential Customer: and 250 Gigabytes take 33.33 minutes to transfer at one gigabit per second

Potential Customer: s/Gpbs/Gbps/

Potential Customer: Anyway, you’re telling me that this new high-speed service would be capped at about 30 minutes per month of usage at full (theoretical) speed, right?

Potential Customer: I understand actual speed would be less, but no less than half that under crazy situations. So maybe an hour at full-bore?

Potential Customer: Seriously?

Jodi B.: What do you use your Internet for?

Potential Customer: Transferring data one bit at a time from one computer to another.

Potential Customer: And I want to pay for a service to move those bits.

Potential Customer: And you’re offering to move 250 GB per month at up to 1 Gbps, roughly, depending on line conditions, etc.

Potential Customer: Which, at that rate, would last about a half hour.

Potential Customer: What, specifically, I move over those wires depends on what it costs me.

Potential Customer: The faster the service, the more usage I’ll make of it.

Potential Customer: When I’m on a slow mobile link, that’s probably just e-mail. With fast enough service, I’d run a Tor node and a Debian mirror, maybe stream audio captured from radio.

Jodi B.: If you are transferring 1 Bit at a time with the Internet. With a 250 GB cap you would be able to transfer 250,000,000 bits to reach the cap.

Potential Customer: But I want to be clear: You’re capping data transfer at about 30 minutes worth at the 1 Gbps rate, right?

Potential Customer: I’m well aware of that.

Potential Customer: I run a Tor node on a VPS now and transfer about 80 GB/day up and down.

Potential Customer: I have 7 Mbps service at home now. I could do more with faster service, but not if it’s capped at 33 minutes’ worth.

Jodi B.: Almost all residential internet providers are going to have a data cap of around 250GB or 300GB so you will need to speak with our Business Department in order to look into the cost of getting an internet connection without a cap.

Jodi B.: For assistance with Small Business services, please call us at 1-800-603-6000 Monday thru Friday during normal business hours.

Potential Customer: I don’t understand the relevance of other service providers, but can you transfer me to your business department?

Potential Customer: Ah. Okay.

Potential Customer: So to be clear: I’m calculating this correctly?

Potential Customer: 250 gigabytes divided by one gigabit per second = 2,000 seconds = 33.33 minutes

Potential Customer: Is that your understanding? That the service level you’re offering for $80/mo is capped at a half-hour of full-speed transfer per month?

Potential Customer: (which of course, many people would spread out to, say, one minute per day at full speed for a month)

Potential Customer: or many minutes per day at much less than full speed

Potential Customer: all of this suggesting that the full speed is just a gimmick

Jodi B.: Assuming that you are transferring files that are 250GB then yes.

Potential Customer: Let’s be clear: It doesn’t matter if the two hundred and fifty gigabytes are arranged as files or as streams or as anything else. Your service is capped at 33 minutes per month at the speed offered, regardless of the content of my transfer. Best I can tell, since your company refuses to publish details on your website.

Jodi B.: Downloading a large file with this speed will take fractions of seconds.

Potential Customer: And at the slower, $30/month up-to-40-Mbps service, that’s about 13 hours to hit the cap.

Jodi B.: Our High Speed Internet policies are located at CenturyLink.com under Internet Management Disclosures.

Jodi B.: How many bits per month are you needing to transfer?

Potential Customer: Max speed in bits per second times 30 times 24 times 60 times 60

Potential Customer: As I said before, if I have faster service, I’ll transfer more data.

Jodi B.: I would recommend calling into business for further assistance. Business offers plans with much higher caps.

Jodi B.: Is there anything else that I can help you with today?

Potential Customer: One month X 1 Gbps = 328.5 TB

Potential Customer: so that’s more than 1000 times your cap

Potential Customer: 1 TB = 1024 GB

Potential Customer: Why would I pay more for faster service when it includes the same monthly limit?

Potential Customer: to get my email in fewer fractions of a second?

Jodi B.: There are no residential Internet providers that offer caps over 300GB in a month that I have ever heard of.

Jodi B.: If you call business they will better be able to help you with the cap issue.

Potential Customer: If you don’t mind, I’d like to focus on CenturyLink right now.

Potential Customer: Do you know if your business pricing is listed on the Web?

Jodi B.: Well if you are saying that you are downloading 2400GB per month on a residential account. I believe that you are mistaken on how much you are actually downloading in a month currently.

Jodi B.: I would recommend business again if you are needing a higher cap.

Jodi B.: There is nothing I can do to increase the cap for you from here.

Potential Customer: Okay. Thanks for chatting. Someone from CenturyLink stopped by my home yesterday to announce that there’s faster service offered here. I told her last time I spoke with someone, you had a data cap of much less than a month. She was unaware of any cap, so I thought I’d check yet again to see if this is more than a gimmick. You’ve made it clear that “up to 1 Gbps (in limited areas) when you bundle” is, indeed, a gimmick.

info: Your chat transcript will be sent to [the e-mail address you provided] at the end of your chat.

From November, 2013:

Chat Information Thank you for contacting CenturyLink. My name is Mark S.. How may I help you today?
Mark S.: Thank you for chatting in with Centurylink Phillip! We now bundle with DirecTV! How can I help you?
Phillip Mocek: Hi.  I’m interested in faster DSL service.  Each month, I’m paying about $45 to Centurylink plus $20 to my ISP for 7 mbps.  A coworker who lives a few miles from me pays about $70 for much faster DSL service from Centurylink.
Phillip Mocek: I’m very close to the CO.  What are my options?
Phillip Mocek: And I’m somewhat confident that your staff laid fiber under my road a couple years ago.
Mark S.: I would be happy to help you! may I have your phone number?
Phillip Mocek: I had to enter it in order to start this chat.  What was the purpose of that if you don’t have it?
Mark S.: I have to have it in chat for quality reasons.
Phillip Mocek: Please just tell me what you’re willing to sell me if I pay you more.
Mark S.: I can sell you anything.
Mark S.: That it will allow me to.
Phillip Mocek: Great.  What are my options for faster service?
Mark S.: But that may be not what you want.
Mark S.: Well I would need your phone number?
Mark S.: Get your account pulled up and have you verify then we can go from there
Phillip Mocek: I already provided it.
Mark S.: I need it in the window we are talking in or I cant help you,
Phillip Mocek: Does your computer show you the number I provided when I started this chat or not?
Mark S.: It does not. Its used to get you to the right chat department.
Phillip Mocek: [REDACTED]
Mark S.: Thank you Sir.
Mark S.: May I have the last four of your ssn for verification?
Phillip Mocek: No, you may not.  Can you tell me what service you offer at [REDACTED] in Seattle, 98122?
Mark S.: One moment please.
Phillip Mocek: This isn’t about me; it’s about what service CL offers.
Mark S.: We offer up to 12mbps internet.
Phillip Mocek: How much does that cost?
Mark S.: It all depends on what promotions you have available to you and what is currently on the account.
Phillip Mocek: It would be great if this was just on your website.  I’m pretty handy with a browser.
Mark S.: You can sign in to your myaccount profile and do everything there.
Phillip Mocek: When I clicked on the “change service’ button the site told me I couldn’t alter my Internet service and offered this chat.
Mark S.: Okay.
Phillip Mocek: Where can I look at prices?  Can you give me the URL?
Mark S.: It wouldnt reflect what you would be paying. Since you are a current customer.
Phillip Mocek: Would it show the maximum?
Mark S.: The only option that you have to go over pricing with me is verifying your self.
Mark S.: It would show the lowest
Phillip Mocek: Or a better question: What is the most you charge for that service?
Mark S.: 50.00
Phillip Mocek: Let’s just assume that I’m going to get your worst deal.
Phillip Mocek: !
Phillip Mocek: Okay, so I could switch from 7 mbps to 12 mbps, and it would cost at most $50/mo?
Mark S.: That is correct.
Phillip Mocek: Is that just the fee I pay you, and I’d still need a standalone ISP in addition, or is that total, with CL as the ISP?
Mark S.: CL as the isp
Phillip Mocek: And is 12 mbps the fastest you offer?  I have a strong distaste for Comcast due to their efforts to fight net neutrality, but cable seems to be faster these days.
Mark S.: That is at that location. IN alot of areas in seattle we offer 100mbps internet. Then some areas we offer 1gbps internet.
Phillip Mocek: Nice.  You’re going to need that if Gigabit Squared ever gets off the ground.
Phillip Mocek: Okay, I also like the indy ISP I’m using, Telebyte NW.  Can I still do the split thing like I am now, where I pay you for the pipe and them for the routing and support and whatnot?
Mark S.: It would all be done through us.
Phillip Mocek: What kind of hardware would I need?  I’m still using my trusty Cisco 678, which I understand is maxed out.
Phillip Mocek: Oh, and is that 12 mbps symetrical?
Mark S.: Let me check.
Phillip Mocek: Static IP block?
Phillip Mocek: Restrictions on use, or you guys act as common carrier and just shovel the bits?
Mark S.: no stactic ip block.
Mark S.: Its symmetrical. adsl2 technology type so no fiber
Phillip Mocek: And restrictions on use?  I don’t want to switch then find you’re filtering my traffic, prohibiting running a Tor node, saying unmetered but capping or slowing after some threshold, etc.
Phillip Mocek: I really just want a pipe.
Phillip Mocek: ’cause if you provide N mbps, I’m going to do my best to use N mbps.
Mark S.: I understand. We have a 250gb cap everymonth. only .01% hit it
Mark S.: No throttling no overages.
Mark S.: I have not heard from you for a couple of minutes. Do you still need me to keep this chat conversation open for you?
Phillip Mocek: Sorry.  What did you mean by “no overages”?
Mark S.: If you go over the data cap we wont charge you more.
Phillip Mocek: What will you do, then?  I don’t know what the cap means, otherwise.
Mark S.: Just give you letter in the mail stating you went over and that is it.
Phillip Mocek: Is that 250 GB total, up plus down?
Mark S.: That is a great question. I am going to assume down.
Mark S.: Not up.
Phillip Mocek: The Tor relay I run off on a VPS pushes about 80 GB/day each way.
Phillip Mocek: Nov 15 10:11:33.000 [notice] Heartbeat: Tor’s uptime is 1 day 6:00 hours, with 4337 circuits open. I’ve sent 95.98 GB and received 90.85 GB.Nov 15 16:11:33.000 [notice] Heartbeat: Tor’s uptime is 1 day 12:00 hours, with 3258 circuits open. I’ve sent 120.26 GB and received 113.73 GB.Nov 15 22:11:33.000 [notice] Heartbeat: Tor’s uptime is 1 day 18:00 hours, with 2825 circuits open. I’ve sent 140.30 GB and received 132.84 GB.Nov 16 04:11:33.000 [notice] Heartbeat: Tor’s uptime is 2 days 0:00 hours, with 6988 circuits open. I’ve sent 165.30 GB and received 156.68 GB.
Mark S.: The best thing to do at that point is move up to a business account.
Mark S.: Then at that point You can get 20mbps down and 2mbps up.
Mark S.: instead of 12/896K
Phillip Mocek: Okay, I’m curious about that as well.  For the residential service, though, you’re limiting to about 8.33 GB/day (250/30).  That’s 66,664 megabits.  There are 86,400 seconds in a day (60*60*24).  So in effect, you’re limiting to less than 1 mbps, burstable to to 12.  Right?
Phillip Mocek: like 0.772 mpbs
Mark S.: No 12 down 896 K up and you are guaranteed 85 to 100% of your speed at all times.
Mark S.: with business you will get 20mbps down and 2mbps up
Phillip Mocek: I’m trying to calculate how long it would take to push 250 gigabytes at 12 megabits per second.  Do you have that handy?
Mark S.: I do not have that handy
Phillip Mocek: It’s 46.3 hours. http://www.wolframalpha.com/input/?i=250+gigabytes+at+12+mbps
Mark S.: That is awesome.
Phillip Mocek: So if I use the 12 mbps you offer, I’ll hit my monthly cap in less than two days.
Phillip Mocek: Right?
Mark S.: Assuming you are using everything 24/7
Phillip Mocek: Right.  At the speed you offer, I would hit your imposed monthly transfer cap in less than two days.  If I use it at 50%, I’ll get four days.  If I use it at 25%, I’ll get a bit over a week.
Phillip Mocek: Is that really what you’re offering?
Mark S.: Yes. Now like I stated earlier your best bet is contacting our business department.
Phillip Mocek: My best bet for getting faster service than I have now, you mean?
Phillip Mocek: You can’t offer it in residential service?
Mark S.: no for what you use the internet for.
Mark S.: We can not.
Phillip Mocek: I don’t believe I’m capped at this point.
Phillip Mocek: I use the Internet to move bits down a wire.
Mark S.: Okay. realistically the best thing to do is going to be stay with what you have now or talk to our business department Phillip.
Phillip Mocek: Are your business-class service rates published?
Mark S.: They are on the business side of the website.
Mark S.: Go to centurylink.com
Mark S.: Then click on the business tab
Phillip Mocek: Could you please provide the URL for pricing?  Your site isn’t all that easy to navigate.
Mark S.: One moment please.
Mark S.: http://www.centurylink.com/small-business/
Phillip Mocek: I got that far.  No prices.
Phillip Mocek: Then on to “Internet and data” at http://www.centurylink.com/small-business/products/business-internet-data/ .  No prices.
Phillip Mocek: Where can I read prices?
Mark S.: You need to click on shop. Then type in your address
Phillip Mocek: The word “shop” is not on that page.
Mark S.: Okay. I am sorry you can call them at 1-800-603-6000.
Mark S.:
Phillip Mocek: You’re telling me your business-class service prices are not available on the Web?
Mark S.: I am not sure.
Phillip Mocek: Could you please find out?
Phillip Mocek: I don’t mean to be a pain, but really, your site is dreadful.
Mark S.: I wouldn’t have access to that information. You would need to call them Phillip.
Mark S.: No worries.
Mark S.: Hold on.
Phillip Mocek: cool, thanks
Mark S.: Do you see business class internet.
Mark S.: Then click on get online.
Phillip Mocek: Yes.  That’s http://www.centurylink.com/small-business/products/business-internet-data/#CTAM
Phillip Mocek: No prices.
Phillip Mocek: no “get online” on the page
Mark S.: I am seeing it on the bottom if you scroll down. It gives internet phone, then internet only, Then a few other boxes. Then underneath them they all say get online.
Phillip Mocek: Oh, I see.  It’s a graphic button.  I was seaching ctrl-f
Mark S.: Okay.
Mark S.: Just check all of that out.
Phillip Mocek: but the get online button tkes me to http://www.centurylink.com/small-business/products/business-internet-data/
Phillip Mocek: no prices
Mark S.: Okay. The best thing to do is give our business group a call Phillip.
Phillip Mocek: There’s an office basics page: http://www.centurylink.com/small-business/products/business-internet-data/high-speed-internet/office-basic/
Phillip Mocek: no prices
Mark S.: Okay more than likely you will have to call them.
Phillip Mocek: Really?  You won’t say on your site what your service costs?
Phillip Mocek: This used car dealer business doesn’t lend confidence to my research into who’s going to connect me to the Internet.
Mark S.: I dont know that is the small business side, Not the residential side.
Phillip Mocek: *sigh*
Phillip Mocek: Can you transfer me to someone who can tell me what it will cost to get service that won’t have me getting nastigrams if I *use* the service for two days straight?
Mark S.: I sure can.
Mark S.: One moment please.
Mark S.: Thank you for using CenturyLink.com today. Our goal is to provide you with excellent service and we appreciate your business. Please take a moment to give us your feedback by completing the post chat survey. If you need further assistance, please click here for additional customer service options on CenturyLink.com.
Phillip Mocek: Thanks!
Chat Information Please wait while I transfer you to an operator at DSL Technical Support.
Chat Information All our representatives are working to assist other customers. There are now 1 customers waiting ahead of you. Your estimated wait time is 0 minutes and 12 seconds. Thank you for your patience.
Chat Information All our representatives are working to assist other customers. There are now 1 customers waiting ahead of you. Your estimated wait time is 0 minutes and 13 seconds. Thank you for your patience.
Chat Information All our representatives are working to assist other customers. There are now 1 customers waiting ahead of you. Your estimated wait time is 0 minutes and 9 seconds. Thank you for your patience.
Chat Information Hello, my name is Chris with CenturyLink Internet support. Will you please verify the billing name and address on this account?
Phillip Mocek: Phillip Mocek, [REDACTED], Seattle, WA
Phillip Mocek: But I’m not seeking info specific to my account.
Chris: oh ok, how can I help you out?
Phillip Mocek: I’d like to know what options are for Internet service faster than 7Mbps/768Kbps.
Phillip Mocek: I found out that with “12 Mbps” residential service, your monthly cap is about 46 hours at that rate.
Chris: We have many options, depending on your area and cableing. We can offer up to 100Mb in certain areas
Phillip Mocek: so it’s really more like 0.77 Mbps, burstable to 12 Mbps
Chris: What do you mean 46 hours? we do not have a time limit
Phillip Mocek: last rep told me there’s a monthly transfer cap of 250 GB
Phillip Mocek: http://www.wolframalpha.com/input/?i=250+gigabytes+at+12+mbps
Phillip Mocek: at 12 Mbps, it takes 46.3 hours to push 250 GB
Phillip Mocek: For the residential service, you’re limiting to about 8.33 GB/day (250/30). That’s 66,664 megabits. There are 86,400 seconds in a day (60*60*24). So in effect, you’re limiting to less than 1 mbps, burstable to to 12.
Chris: If you MAXED it out everyday
Phillip Mocek: Sure. If I used the service you offer.
Phillip Mocek: If I used it at 50%, it would last four days
Phillip Mocek: If I only use 25%, it would last about a week.
Chris: if you plan on 12MB every second I would not suggest DSL
Phillip Mocek: I plan to use as much as I’m paying for.
Phillip Mocek: and that’s 12 megabits, not 12 megabytes
Phillip Mocek: I run a Tor relay on a VPS and push 80 GB up, 80 GB down, every day.
Chris: Either way… I would not suggest using that much traffic on DSL
Phillip Mocek: How much would you suggest?
Chris: Then I would not suggest DSL
Phillip Mocek: What would you suggest?
Chris: you are asking about consumer grade DSL and using it for a buisness purpose.
Chris: We only cap Residential DSL
Phillip Mocek: There’s nothing business-y about my use.
Phillip Mocek: No sales, no profit, no employees.
Chris: A TOR relay is also against our User policy.
Phillip Mocek: URL, please?
Phillip Mocek: I asked the last rep, and he mentioned nothing of the sort.
Phillip Mocek: Phillip Mocek: And restrictions on use? I don’t want to switch then find you’re filtering my traffic, prohibiting running a Tor node, saying unmetered but capping or slowing after some threshold, etc. Phillip Mocek: I really just want a pipe. Phillip Mocek: ’cause if you provide N mbps, I’m going to do my best to use N mbps. Mark S.: I understand. We have a 250gb cap everymonth. only .01% hit it Mark S.: No throttling no overages.
Phillip Mocek: Right now, I’m using CL for the pipe, and Telebyte NW as the ISP. I’m unaware of any such restriction, and I want to be sure not to accidentally saddle myself with such.
Phillip Mocek: I just want a pipe. I want you guys to act like the common carrier quasi-monopoly you are, and move my bits.
Chris: CenturyLink™ High-Speed Internet Subscriber Agreement
Chris: Qwest’s Acceptable Use Policy
Chris: Excessive Use Policy (EUP)
Phillip Mocek: In which of those should I be searching for the string “Tor”?
Chris: Look for relay, and I can also get you in touch with our legal dept for clear definitions.
Chris: However I would sugest an optical service for 80GB a day
Phillip Mocek: The word “relay” is not on any of those three pages.
Chris: 80GB a day is a TON of traffic and you will hit usage guidlines.
Chris: You are not allowed to reroute others through your DSL line
Phillip Mocek: I don’t expect 80 GB/day at my home. But if you say 12 Mbps, I’m going to expect 12 megabits x 60 x 60 x 24.
Chris: Not on a residential account
Chris: capped at 250GB a month
Chris: or you can choose the buisness service and not deal with a cap at all
Phillip Mocek: Who are “others”? I would expect to be able to VPN from my phone to my home to the Internet if I like.
Phillip Mocek: and offer the same to my friends
Phillip Mocek: or anyone
Phillip Mocek: Unless you’re not really just providing a pipe and shoveling bits.
Phillip Mocek: Which is what I want.
Phillip Mocek: Not a nanny.
Phillip Mocek: Not a Comcast-style filter.
Phillip Mocek: Just an honest assessment of how many bits you’re willing to move per second.
Phillip Mocek: You know, ISP service.
Phillip Mocek: Last rep suggested business-class, but neither of us could find prices for such on your website.
Chris: We dont care what bits are moved.
Phillip Mocek: You just said you do care.
Chris: however, should you find yourself in violation, you are responsible
Phillip Mocek: > Chris: You are not allowed to reroute others through your DSL line
Chris: Is this legal info you seek?
Chris: I am not going to have my words used in a legal manner
Phillip Mocek: I wanted to find out if you offered more robust service than I’m paying for now. I pay CL about $45 and Telebyte about $20 for 7Mbps down, 768 Kbps up.
Phillip Mocek: So I was super-psyched when last rep said $50/mo would by 12/12.
Chris: I said we do, up to 100Mb in certain areas.
Phillip Mocek: er, 12 Mbps symetric
Phillip Mocek: He said here I can only get 12.
Chris: then it is 12/1mb
Phillip Mocek: Phillip Mocek: Okay, so I could switch from 7 mbps to 12 mbps, and it would cost at most $50/mo? Mark S.: That is correct. Phillip Mocek: Is that just the fee I pay you, and I’d still need a standalone ISP in addition, or is that total, with CL as the ISP? Mark S.: CL as the isp Phillip Mocek: And is 12 mbps the fastest you offer? I have a strong distaste for Comcast due to their efforts to fight net neutrality, but cable seems to be faster these days. Mark S.: That is at that location. IN alot of areas in seattle we offer 100mbps internet. Then some areas we offer 1gbps internet.
Phillip Mocek: So, 12/1, capped at about two days at that rate, and maybe a prohibition on running a Tor relay?
Chris: I won’t answer on TOR, your line your responsibility. Like I said our legal department can answer specifics. But I would say with over head your not at 12Mb, you are at 10ish
Phillip Mocek: Actually, you did say on Tor.
Phillip Mocek: > Chris: A TOR relay is also against our User policy.
Phillip Mocek: So what are my options for a higher level of service than that which Mark S. and I discussed?
Chris: Like I stated are you using this for legal. I gave you heads up. Sorry.
Phillip Mocek: I don’t know what it means to “use this for legal.” I just want a connection to the Internet, maybe faster than the one your’e selling me already.
Chris: Buisness class service. It is the same speeds jsut no Bandwidth cap.
Phillip Mocek: Where can I find prices?
Phillip Mocek: CL’s website is not particularly user-friendly.
Chris: That is if you want 12Mb. Obviously with optic or dedicated we can go Gigs
Phillip Mocek: yeah, I’m pretty sure I saw your vans laying fiber down my road a few years ago
Phillip Mocek: can’t find anything about it on your website
Phillip Mocek: really curious
Phillip Mocek: Gigabit Squared is still vapor-service, but they’e planning to offer gigabit service for $85/mo here.
Phillip Mocek: I’d buy that from you in a heartbeat.
Chris: I will say, just off the hand… usually you are about 10-20 more for business class.
Phillip Mocek: I’d sign up today.
Chris: I know we are deploying 1GB service in certain areas. I can check build out dates for you
Phillip Mocek: Oh, cool. Please do.
Chris: one sec – your current number is [REDACTED]?
Phillip Mocek: just a sec, I’ll check
Phillip Mocek: (no phone here, so I don’t remmber it)
Chris: Looks like that account matches the address above
Phillip Mocek: [REDACTED]
Phillip Mocek: $60-70/mo for 12 Mbps with static IP address(es) would be very enticing.
Chris: we can actually do 20 on a bonded service. so it would be 20/2
Phillip Mocek: Residential, or business-class?
Chris: And I belive that is buisness class and no caps/ restrictions etc… I mean unless it is illegal in your state or the other 50… (bittorrent) for example
Phillip Mocek: Also, Mark said:
Phillip Mocek: > Mark S.: Its symmetrical. adsl2 technology type so no fiber
Chris: Price wise it is pretty much the same, don’t quote me on that… but I know it is within that range of 70ish
Phillip Mocek: By “symmetrical” did he mean “asymmetrical”?
Phillip Mocek: understood, rough estimate is helpful
Chris: I think so. I would love 20/20
Phillip Mocek: darn
Chris: I wish they gave us pricing… So much easier to assist customers.
Phillip Mocek: So, if upstream is only 1 or 2 Mbps, then I’m less concerned about the 250 GB cap.
Chris: Im still looking online for a price chart for you also
Phillip Mocek: yeah, not showing pricing is nuts
Phillip Mocek: unless the goal is to be misleading
Phillip Mocek: which doesn’t inpire confidence
Chris: We dont cap upstream, just download
Phillip Mocek: in a company I’ll trust with my connection to the world
Chris: agreed
Phillip Mocek: Hmm… at 2 Mbps, 250 GB still takes only about 11 days. http://www.wolframalpha.com/input/?i=250+gigabytes+at+2+mbps
Phillip Mocek: The $50/mo residential Mark and I discussed: Is that the bonded service you mentioned?
Chris: right but we don’t cap upstream or restrict on upstream traffic
Chris: from what he said and I am looking at it is just the 12mb service.
Phillip Mocek: Well, my major use case (helping human rights workers and regular people living in oppressive regimes get access to the ‘net withough govt interference, via contribution to the Tor network) is inherently symetrical.
Chris: I see… Well I would say this given what you do. I would not go residential. Just personal though process on that
Phillip Mocek: So what’s the best way to find out what CL offers beyond residential-class svc?
Phillip Mocek: Do I really have to call, talk, listen, take notes?
Phillip Mocek: Can you transfer me to someone who has biz-class pricing?
Chris: I can I am looking also in my documents of what maybe pricing wise
Phillip Mocek: ’cause again, 250 gigabytes per /month is about 0.77 megabits per seconds. Blech.
Phillip Mocek: That’s worse than I have now. I don’t know of any monthly tranfer cap on my 7/768 svc.
Chris: I would just as a recommendation, go business class… If only to not have the 250 GB monthly cap over you. I mean you could go res for a while and see if you hit it, and if you do move later
Phillip Mocek: If I bother to upgrade to so-called 12 Mbps, I will ensure I hit it. :)
Phillip Mocek: Oh, interesting: 768 Kbps (my upstream limit with current svc and my old Cisco 678) is about 250 GB/mo. http://www.wolframalpha.com/input/?i=768+kilobits+per+second+in+gigabytes+per+month
Phillip Mocek: So that’s really what you’re capping people at with your high-speed service: 768 Kbps burstable to 12 Mbps.
Phillip Mocek: In, you know, networking terms.
Phillip Mocek: or roughly so
Chris: Kind of. I mean really you could technically y throughput 12MBPS for almost 2 days strait…
Phillip Mocek: Right. That’s the “burst” part.
Phillip Mocek: but sustained: only 768 Kbps
Chris: but if you loook at it as breaking down seconds/speed rates… Then yea you could say it is busting
Chris: no, you can pull 12mbps steady 48 hours. Bursting would mean as demand increases. WE give you 12MBPS regardless of what you are physically using
Phillip Mocek: Ah, got it.
Phillip Mocek: So anyway, This is great if what someone wants is a replacement for cable TV and and a POTS line. But that’s rather backward thinking. Companies like Gigabit Squared will eat your lunch.
Chris: I mean within the 31 day period allows.
Phillip Mocek: But then CL will probably start competing instead of acting like a monopoly.
Phillip Mocek: Any word on the search for a price sheet?
Chris: I know that is why we are moving to fiber rings and moving to get GB services roled out… but we are not there yet….
Chris: I am but it is a little outdated it appears
Phillip Mocek: Oh, and: Chris: I know we are deploying 1GB service in certain areas. I can check build out dates for you
Phillip Mocek: very curious about that
Chris: Not yet. We are more than 6 months in your location. That is as far as I can look.
Chris: Even if I go to our business site and try signing it up it gives me pricing with POTS, and that is like 120 a month. but you dont need POTS so I don’t know how that changes it.
Chris: POTS and other products you might not need, hosting etc… You just need the pipe and maybe a static IP.
Phillip Mocek: Huh. Okay, I was all ready to start giving CL like twice what I pay now, but looks like there’s not really much upside for me. For regular ‘ole Web surfing and e-mail, 7 Mbps down is fine, and the people at Telebyte NW don’t even begin to say what bits I’m allowed to move around, or impose any limites on unmetered service.
Phillip Mocek: Yeah, I pay $5/mo extra for a static block of IP addresses now.
Phillip Mocek: “CenturyLink: At least we’re not Comcast.”
Phillip Mocek: *sigh*
Chris: I would probably say when it is all said and done you might be about same rate just 12MB…
Phillip Mocek: Right, and I’d have to buy new hardware and stop sharing with the indy ISP.
Chris: Just being honest with you, it may be vary little gain moving over…
Phillip Mocek: that’s pretty clear
Phillip Mocek: darn
Chris: Not too say in the future once we start pushing more speed, but as it stands right now with what you said you do and what not… might be best, to stay. I hate saying that because well… You signing up helps the bottom line. but it is allot of work moving over to a new ISP.
Phillip Mocek: I will say this: Your former CEO went to jail instead of rolling over for adversary #1. That doesn’t go unnoticed.
Phillip Mocek: Okay, gotta move on. Thanks for chatting.
Chris: You’re welcome. Is there anything else I can do for you?
Phillip Mocek: Nope, that’s all. Thanks for the helpful info.
Chris: no problem. On Monday if you want chat into our business team for sales. They can give you a solid figure on the 20/2 Pair Bond.

From February, 2014:

Chat Information Hello, my name is Zachary M. (20717), your CenturyLink TV and entertainment specialist. How may I assist you today?
Zachary M. (20717): Hello Phillip! Thank you for contacting CenturyLink! How can I assist you today?
Phillip Mocek: Argh. I was just in another chat with a sales rep, and I accidentally hit ctrl-w and closed the window instead of ctrl-v to paste something.
Phillip Mocek: We were exploring what Internet service is available from CenturyLink at my home address.
Zachary M. (20717): Ok I would be happy to help you out with that today
Phillip Mocek: The soft answer is 12 Mbps downstream, unspecified upstream. The real answer is that you won’t offer faster if it’s called residential service, but will offer at least 20 Mbps if it’s called small business.
Phillip Mocek: And possibly bonded circuits bringing it to 40 Mbps.
Phillip Mocek: I’m a customer now. I pay about $45/mo to CenturyLink and about $20/mo to my ISP, Telebyte Northwest.
Phillip Mocek: My CL “phone number” (I don’t have POTS service) is [REDACTED].
Phillip Mocek: l4d of SSN [REDACTED]
Zachary M. (20717): OK I will look that up for you
Zachary M. (20717): Thank you
Phillip Mocek: The last rep told me the 12 Mbps service is about $52/mo, or about $30/mo with a one-year term. A block of five usable IP addresses costs an extra $15/mo, and a single IP address costs $6/mo.
Phillip Mocek: Early termination fee is remaining monthly charges, capped at $200.
Phillip Mocek: for the 1-year term
Zachary M. (20717): Yes that is correct
Phillip Mocek: I spoke with a rep at your small-business sales line yesterday, she explained that the service we discussed (20Mbps down, unclear but mabye 2Mbps up), would cost about $125 per month. When I asked what the next level down would be, she explained that they could provide the *same* Internet service, with a POTS line, maybe long distance, and some small biz stuff I don’t need, for about $85/mo. I asked her if she could throw in any additional services that would further lower the monthly rate. She thought not.
Phillip Mocek: Are there additional services you can offer that would lower the monthly rate for residential service? I know it sounds ridiculous, but we’re laughing at CL, not at me.
Zachary M. (20717): OK what I am going to do is get you back over to Sean J. And he is going to go through and get you set up today ok?
Phillip Mocek: Cool, thanks.
Zachary M. (20717): Not a problem
Chat Information Please wait while I transfer the chat to ‘Sean J. (20858)’.
Chat Information Hello, my name is Sean J. (20858), your CenturyLink TV and entertainment specialist. How may I assist you today?
Sean J. (20858): Good evening Phillip! Good to hear back from you.
Phillip Mocek: Right after I said I’m good with a Web browser, I flubbed a paste action and hit ctrl-w instead. Sorry ’bout that.
Sean J. (20858): Oh no worries at all. I figured something like that happened!
Phillip Mocek: I was just about to ask you: When I spoke with a rep at your small-business sales line yesterday, she explained that the service we discussed (20Mbps down, unclear but mabye 2Mbps up), would cost about $125 per month. When I asked what the next level down would be, she explained that they could provide the *same* Internet service, with a POTS line, maybe long distance, and some small biz stuff I don’t need, for about $85/mo. I asked her if she could throw in any additional services that would further lower the monthly rate. She thought not.
Phillip Mocek: Are there additional services you can offer that would lower the monthly rate for residential service?
Sean J. (20858): In the end, internet only gets you the best pricing. If you are in NEED of phone or DirecTV, you can get this 12m for $19.95/mo, so it all depends on if you need home phone or TV.
Phillip Mocek: I don’t need any of them but am willing to ignore them.
Sean J. (20858): Okay so internet only is your best option for sure.
Phillip Mocek: I was like, “sure, if you want to add on a phone line and the other crap, and charge me *68%* of what you previously quoted, knock yourself out”
Phillip Mocek: Does your residential service include CPE, or is that up to me? With small biz serivce, it’s about $7/mo to lease or $100 to purchase.
Sean J. (20858): That’s really up to you. It’s the same exact pricing! $99.99 to purchase or $6.99/mo to lease.
Phillip Mocek: Ah. I would likely purchase it myself elsewhere. How can I find out just what is needed? My trusty ‘ole Cisco 678s aren’t going to cut it.
Phillip Mocek: I haven’t been following closely, but a bit of research yesterday suggests that ADSL2+ is what I need, and any of them would work.
Sean J. (20858): You won’t need anything else that I can think of. You just plug the modem into the phone jack.
Sean J. (20858): Yep you’re ADSL2+ here, meaning no fiber, but more modems work here.
Sean J. (20858): Actiontec C1000A
Actiontec GT701 (Up to 7M)
Actiontec GT701WG (Up to 7M)
Actiontec M1000
Actiontec PK5000
Actiontec Q1000
Actiontec Q2000
Actiontec V2000H
Motorola 3347
Zyxel PK5000Z
Zyxel PK5001Z
2Wire 2700HG (Up to 12M)
2Wire 2701HG (Up to 12M)
Sean J. (20858): Any of those work.
Phillip Mocek: Great. I’m eyeing this used Linksys X2000 for $40. https://seattle.craigslist.org/see/ele/4335465733.html
Phillip Mocek: or an Actiontec M1000 for $27 https://seattle.craigslist.org/see/for/4301448923.html
Sean J. (20858): That Actiontec would be a safe bet.
Phillip Mocek: Yeah, since it’s on your list.
Sean J. (20858): The M1000 is one of my most recommended on that list too.
Phillip Mocek: I’m kind of partial to Cisco/Linksys, but since we have standards to work with, it’s up to me.
Phillip Mocek: Oh, really? What else do you recommend, and why?
Phillip Mocek: I haven’t shopped for these in like 10 years.
Sean J. (20858): Based on customer testimony, the M1000 has seen relatively the least problems for me, and then the PK5000Z is also very consistent.
Sean J. (20858): They’re all pretty equal, but those 2 have stood out for me.
Phillip Mocek: I care not about the Wi-Fi capability. I’ll probably put my own access point behind whatever I end up with for the modem.
Phillip Mocek: cool
Sean J. (20858): If you don’t care about the wifi, I’d go C1000a all the way if you can. That’s definitely the best one when you take wifi out of the picture I have found.
Phillip Mocek: Actiontec C1000A: got it.
Sean J. (20858): Also the C1000a is VDSL2+ so that’d be useful in the future.
Phillip Mocek: I don’t know what that means, but it sounds like something I should look into.
Sean J. (20858): VDSL2+ is basically just the term for the technology we use with fiber.
Phillip Mocek: great
Phillip Mocek: Okay, I think I’d like to get the ball rolling on this, but I do need to check with my existing ISP to see if they can work with me on the faster pipe from CenturyLink. They’re really clear that they’re just shoveling bits, and as long as I don’t do anything that puts them in jeopardy, it’s my business. I’m concerned about the mountains of fine print with CL as the ISP instead. If you could tell me it’s my service to do with what I please as long as I’m not causing you to violate the law in the process, I’d sign up for a year now.
Sean J. (20858): You can do whatever you want with the service. I’ve heard of customers being notified about illegal downloads but that’s about it. The datacap is generally irrelevant. In the end, no consequences can come from hitting the datacap. You’re really free to use the connection however you want! And you know that 30 day guarantee I mentioned? I think that will be quite useful for you. If you come across anything that upsets you during the first 30 days or anything that doesn’t work for you, you can cancel and get a full refund and the contract is voided.
Phillip Mocek: What’s the upstream rate, again?
Phillip Mocek: with the “12 Mbps” service
Sean J. (20858): 896k on this 12m.
Phillip Mocek: oh, lordy
Phillip Mocek: That’s what I have now.
Sean J. (20858): Hopefully it does the trick!
Phillip Mocek: Well, no. If it did, I wouldn’t be seeking an upgrade. I want to run a Tor node (non-exit, relay only), and possibly stream police scanner audio.
Phillip Mocek: *sigh*
Phillip Mocek: So, what do I have to do to get faster upstream service out of CenturyLink?
Phillip Mocek: than I have with my decade-old service now
Sean J. (20858): Well, you know I think you’re going to like this connection a lot more now that it’s going through us. As far as getting a higher upload speed goes, we only have the option in VDSL2+ areas so you will need to wait until you get renovated to those lines to get those higher upload speeds. That, or you can get a higher upload if you end up switching to a business account. I strongly believe you’re going to like this connection a lot more now that you won’t be going through a third party, though.
Sean J. (20858): So you want me to get an account started up for you?
Sean J. (20858): It will take at least 3 business days before we can activate the connection, giving you some time to look at your prospects of course.
Phillip Mocek: Yeah, given that I refuse to do business with Comcast since they have net neutrality in their sights, and given that the Gigabit Squared deal fell through, let’s do it.
Phillip Mocek: I’d like the single static IP address
Phillip Mocek: Oh, nobody ever answered my question about IPv6 addresses. IPv4 addresses are very scarce, so I understnad the need to ration them.
Sean J. (20858): We must have tech support apply the static IP after the account has been established. I can transfer you over to them once we’re done.
Phillip Mocek: Okay, let’s proceed with the $30/mo 1-year term, then. I’ll provide my own modem.
Phillip Mocek: Do you offer any discount for prepament?
Sean J. (20858): I am not sure on that IP question but tech support will no! Very sorry about my lack of knowledge on the subject. You’re the first customer to ever inquire past “I want a static IP”. I will definitely do some research after our chat because this is definitely an area I am weak in.
Sean J. (20858): Could you elaborate on prepament?
Phillip Mocek: With one of my last ISPs, I got a discount for paying for a whole year of service at once instead of paying monthly.
Sean J. (20858): Oh yes unfortunately we don’t have a discount for that. You should still feel free to pay off the first year, though! Haha.
Phillip Mocek: got it
Phillip Mocek: What else do you need from me to get the ball rolling?
Sean J. (20858): I am going to talk to my supervisor about having a discount for that in the future too. If a customer is willing to do that, we need to give them a reason to. Yes could I have a good contact number for you and the address where you want this set up?
Phillip Mocek: [REDACTED] is my mobile number
Phillip Mocek: PHILLIP MOCEK [REDACTED] 98122
Phillip Mocek: no line breaks allowed in here, I see
Sean J. (20858): Nope, it makes you send another message. However, I can bypass that.
FEAR MY POWER
Phillip Mocek: heh
Phillip Mocek: 1
Phillip Mocek: 2
Phillip Mocek: huh, no ctrl-enter, either
Sean J. (20858): It’d be great if you found a way to bypass it as a customer.
Phillip Mocek: While you’re passing ideas up the totem pole: CenturyLink’s website is horrible. The lack of clear information about services you offer is a problem, and some of the stuff seems not to even work in Chromium or Firefox. I repeatedly ended up at a URL like http://www.centurylink.com/small-business/products/business-internet/#CTAM that’s the same as the one on which I clicked some button.
Phillip Mocek: I tried multiple ways to find out what service–residential–is available at my address, but I’d get a drop-down of apt nbrs at my building, choose one, and find that the submit button does *nothing*.
Phillip Mocek: Man.
Sean J. (20858): You know, I think the site is that way so that you will chat in with a rep and therefore be more likely to buy something.
Phillip Mocek: probably so
Phillip Mocek: *sigh*
Phillip Mocek: You want to see a great service provider site? Ting. They’re a mobile carrier. They use Sprint’s towers, with roaming to Verizon. They’re owned by Tucows (remember them?). Complete no-BS pricing (just tiered, no contract, no “plans”) and super-simple site. https://ting.com/
Phillip Mocek: You pay $6/mo per phone, then pay for the minutes, SMS messages, and data bytes you use.
Phillip Mocek: It’s awesome. You can bring a phone from Sprint.
Sean J. (20858): Oh wow that’s a good deal.
Phillip Mocek: They”re way techie-friendly.
Phillip Mocek: Anyway, great example of a highly functional webiste.
Sean J. (20858): I’ve never had a customer pitch to me, but you’re doing it right. Haha.
Phillip Mocek: I’m just a satisfied customer.
Phillip Mocek: But really, an extra $6/mo for to add mom’s mobile phone, which gets used twice a year when she picks you up at the airport? can’t beat it
Phillip Mocek: I can switch a number to a different phone *in their web UI*.
Sean J. (20858): You sound like me when I pitch DirecTV to customers, no kidding. Maybe you should work here instead of doing your own thing.
Phillip Mocek: Heh. When I quit writing software to manage the pipeline from developers to customers, I’ll go to law school and go find a job with EFF.
Sean J. (20858): That sounds like a plan ;] so I do have to tell you, the contract is 12 months and the early termination fee is the service rate multiplied by the months left in the service at the time of termination. This pricing is $29.95/mo but will go to $52/mo in a year. The $29.95/mo pricing requires that you INTEND to set up autopay whenever you get the chance.
Sean J. (20858): There’s just a one time fee of $19.95 to activate the connection and that goes on the first bill okay? This and everything else is covered in the 30 day guarantee.
Phillip Mocek: Got it.
Sean J. (20858): Sorry for the delay! Just getting everything configured.
Sean J. (20858): Our system needs to run an external credit history check just to make sure you don’t have any final bills with us. Could I have your SSN and Date of Birth for this please?
Phillip Mocek: no problem; multitasking away
Phillip Mocek: I owe $40 right now, but couldn’t get your website to take my online payment.
Phillip Mocek: [REDACTED] [REDACTED]
Sean J. (20858): That won’t show up since the account is still open.
Sean J. (20858): So we should be all fine!
Phillip Mocek: Actually, what’s the credit check for, given that I’ve been a customer for several years?
Phillip Mocek: my credit with the ratings bureaus is crapola; with CenturyLink it’s flawless
Sean J. (20858): We have to do it for all new accounts, it just checks to see that you aren’t delinquent with us.
Sean J. (20858): Well then that should be all that matters!
Phillip Mocek: Cool.
Sean J. (20858): Everything looks good.
Sean J. (20858): Is there anyone you want to authorize on this account?
Phillip Mocek: no, thanks
Sean J. (20858): What’s a good email to send the confirmation to whenever you get the chance?
Phillip Mocek: pmocek-centurylink@mocek.org
Sean J. (20858): Thanks. We’re just about done. The soonest we can get this activated is going to be the 4th. Does that day sound okay to you? It’ll be activated by 5pm and you don’t need to be home for that.
Phillip Mocek: That would be fine.
Phillip Mocek: Will there be down time between the old service ending and the new service beginning? It’s the same two wires.
Sean J. (20858): You will need to call the ISP you’re going through and arrange a disconnect on the 4th. There should be about 5 hours of downtime like it does in these cases most of the time.
Phillip Mocek: Okay. Remember, this is a CenturyLink connection I’m using now.
Phillip Mocek: Just with a different company as the ISP.
Sean J. (20858): You would think that we coordinate the activation of our connection and the disconnection of theirs to save some time/money/trouble since they’re using our lines. It’s done separately though, but that’s another thing to talk with my boss about.
Phillip Mocek: Okay, got it.
Sean J. (20858): Following is a recap of today’s order:
Service Address: [REDACTED] 98122
Service(s) ordered: 12m High Speed Internet 12 month term
Order Due Date: 03/04/2014
Billing Telephone Number: [REDACTED]
E-Mail Address: pmocek-centurylink@mocek.org
Contact Telephone Number: [REDACTED]
Monthly charges: $29.95
Estimated First Bill: $62.78 and this has our highest estimated taxes, fees, and surcharges and 2 days of proration. Basically, tax is overestimated at $10 or so and then there’s about $2 in proration for the extra 2 days, and with the service rate and the activation fee, you get this total. I’d expect about $55 or so since the taxes, fees, and surcharges are overestimated.
Order Number: N 65050300
Disclosures: You can view CenturyLink’s high speed internet policies at CenturyLink.com under internet management disclosures.
Sean J. (20858): Any questions or concerns?
Phillip Mocek: I don’t know where that billing number of [REDACTED] came from.
Sean J. (20858): Ah, yes this is just a randomly generated number that we’ve assigned to the account.
Sean J. (20858): So it’s not a real phone number, just your account number.
Phillip Mocek: Heh. Phone company sees every account as a phone number.
Sean J. (20858): Yep exactly!
Phillip Mocek: Okay, only other business was arranging for the static IP address.
Phillip Mocek: And I want to know when to expect to receive information about configuring my modem for the new service.
Sean J. (20858): You should get a confirmation email with a link to information on that, but I’d ask tech support about that too.
Phillip Mocek: Okay. I guess that’s all I need from you, then. Thanks for your informative assistance.
Sean J. (20858): Well sure thing Phillip! You have to be one of my favorite customers in my time here for sure.
Sean J. (20858): Want me to transfer you to tech support now?
Phillip Mocek: Awesome.
Phillip Mocek: Please do.
Sean J. (20858): Have a good one Phillip!
Phillip Mocek: You, too.

That order was cancelled by CenturyLink without notice to me until I called later to ask for a status update. I forgot the exact reasoning, but it was related to the sales representative doing something he was not supposed to do.

Sep 222014
 

Public records I received last week reveal that the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) are requiring police departments to engage in nondisclosure agreements with the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) in order to receive permission to use IMSI catchers, the mobile phone surveillance devices that allow operators to slurp up information about every mobile phone in the area, from serial numbers to voice and SMS content.

Last spring, I read about police in Florida using these devices and hiding it from the public, from prosecutors, and from judges. Details are scant, in part because the U.S Marshals confiscated public records about them before the Sarasota police were able to provide copies as requested under the state’s public records law.

Various ACLU affiliates around the nation were researching law enforcement agencies’ use of the devices, but it wasn’t happening in Washington, so I filed a series of similar requests with about 20 law enforcement agencies. All except one eventually responded with notification that they had no records responsive to my request.

Results came back positive for Tacoma, a city of 200,000 about 30 miles south of Seattle. They have had a device from Harris Corporation’s Stingray line since 2008. They, like Sarasota, have been dishonest about the situation, convincing Tacoma City Council to pay for an upgrade under the guise of bomb detection equipment, and receiving search warrants from judges for pen register or trap and trace devices, then using the IMSI catcher instead.

Kate Martin, a reporter at Tacoma News-Tribune, came across my request on MuckRock and ran a 2800-word piece on the topic last month. She followed up with an article including Tacoma Police Department claims that they don’t keep data they collect with the Stingray, and another with a report that some Tacoma City Council members were briefed on the device.

The latest news is a nondisclosure agreement concerning use of the their IMSI catcher. Three months since I requested it (a delay that likely constitutes a violation of the Washington Public Records Act), Tacoma Police finally handed over a copy last week. A letter, dated December 19, 2013, from Laura M. Laughlin of FBI to Tacoma Police Chief Donald Ramsdell, begins with the following:

We have been advised by Harris Corporation of the Tacoma Police Department’s request for acquisition of certain wireless collection equipment/technology manufactured by Harris Corporation. Consistent with the conditions on the equipment authorization granted to Harris Corporation by the Federal Communications Commission (FCC), state and local law enforcement agencies must coordinate with the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) to complete this non-disclosure agreement prior to the acquisition and use of the equipment/technology authorized by the FCC authorization.

The next four pages of the letter were redacted in their entirety, citing “specific intelligence information the non-disclosure of which is essential for effective law enforcement.”

Today, reporter Shawn Musgrave kicks off MuckRock News’ crowdfunded “The Spy in Your Pocket” series with a detailed look at the apparently-unprecidented arrangement with the FCC.

Mar 172014
 

Last October, suspecting that multiple City of Seattle departments were flouting a law passed in 2013 that restricts their acquisition and use of surveillance equipment, I requested public records that would exist had those departments complied. Processing of my request was unsatisfactory (possibly unlawful), so I requested and received the administrative tracking file for that request. E-mail messages in that file reveal that rather than simply searching for and providing responsive records, staff at Seattle Legislative Department deferred to Seattle Police Department (SPD) staff on whether to withhold from the public some records which were communicated to City Council by SPD. These messages also show that processing of my and other people’s requests was coordinated by staff at the City Attorney’s Office “[i]n order to ensure that the Mayor’s Office, SPD, and the Law Department provide consistent responses to the requests.”

In March of 2013, after learning that SPD had misled them and avoided oversight by using federal “port security” grant money to purchase equipment the department used to erect a surveillance network that stretched well beyond view of the Port of Seattle and waterways leading to it, Seattle City Council passed a bill that required all city departments to request and receive permission from City Council prior to any acquisition of a variety of surveillance equipment, as well as to receive approval of proposed protocol for use of that equipment. Departments that had previously acquired such equipment were required to submit the same protocol information within 30 days of passage of the bill.

More than five months after these protocols were due by law to have been provided to City Council, I had heard nothing indicating that any such protocols had, in fact, been provided. So, in early October, I filed with City Council a request for any such records:

Pursuant to RCW Ch. 42.56 (Public Records Act), I hereby request the following records:

Surveillance equipment operational protocols and surveillance equipment data management protocols provided to City Council since enactment of Seattle ordinance number 124142, including all draft and final versions received.

Processing of my request dragged on for months. A records clerk for the Legislative Department provided a final response on February 26, 2014, more than 20 weeks after I requested the records. In the end, multiple responsive records were identified, but I was granted access to only one of them. The others were withheld in full, with the exemption log citing RCW 42.56.280 as the reason for withholding two computer files, “Word Document titled: 20130508 Wireless Mesh Camera Policy DRAFT 9″ from Greg Doss at SPD, and “Word Document: titled 20130613 Wireless Mesh Camera Policy (to CM Harrell)” from SPD Chief Jim Pugel.

This exemption to the Washington Public Records Act applies to certain deliberative records, as described by Reporters Committee for Freedom of the Press:

i. Deliberative Process. This exemption allows nondisclosure of intra-agency deliberative materials. RCW 42.56.280. Inter-agency materials are not exempt. Columbian Publishing Co. v. City of Vancouver, 36 Wn. App. 25, 671 P.2d 280 (1983). The exemption applies to opinions, such as faculty tenure evaluations, Hafermehl v. University of Wash., 29 Wn. App. 366, 628 P.2d 846 (1981), but does not include purely factual matters, Hearst Corp. v. Hoppe, 90 Wn.2d 123, 580 P.2d 246 (1978), or the raw data on which a decision is based. PAWS, 125 Wn.2d at 256. Deliberative materials are exempt only until the policies or recommendations contained in such records are implemented. Dawson v. Daly, 120 Wn.2d 782, 793, 845 P.2d 995 (1993).

The records withheld from me were apparently inter-agency materials provided by Seattle Police Department to Seattle City Council.

Dissatisfied with the processing of my request, baffled by the months of delay, and having received no response to multiple requests for information about that processing, on the following day, February 27, 2014, I requested the administrative tracking file for my October request:

Pursuant to RCW Ch. 42.56 (Public Records Act), I hereby request the following records:

Administrative tracking file for public records request number 2013-180 (your identifier for a request filed October 8, 2013, by me, Phil Mocek, for surveillance equipment operational and data management protocols), and all e-mail, memoranda, and records of phone calls created in the processing of that request, and related metadata.

I received records that purportedly comprise that entire tracking file in two installments: one on March 6 and another on March 13. They consisted of about 30 e-mail messages and one image of a hand-written note. The e-mail messages were helpfully provided as RFC 2822 files (as opposed to scans of printed messages, screen shot images, etc.), devoid of redaction.

For ease of processing those messages (e.g., sorting, reviewing, decoding non-ASCII portions, extracting only certain header fields, saving attachments, etc.), I imported each into Thunderbird using the ImportExportTools extension. I saved them to a plain text file, separated each message, pulled out TOFU-quoted messages that were not, themselves, provided to me, then re-sorted the whole thing.

Following are those messages, interleaved with my comments, beginning with my request of October 8, 2013. I obscured the e-mail addresses slightly and truncated some message bodies (largely to remove lengthy quotes of previously-sent messages), but left them otherwise intact. They provide a view of the length to which the Legislative Department, Police Department, and City Attorney’s Office, went in order to prevent public access to public records, particularly the two inter-agency communications from Greg Doss and from Jim Pugel that were withheld in full.

Date: Tue, 8 Oct 2013 09:17:49 -0700
From: 7025-96997557(AT)requests.muckrock.com
To: "Winkler, Jennifer" <Jennifer.Winkler(AT)seattle.gov>
CC: LEG_CouncilMembers <council(AT)seattle.gov>
Subject: Freedom of Information Request: Surveillance equipment operational
    and data management protocols

Pursuant to RCW Ch. 42.56 (Public Records Act), I hereby request the following
records:

Surveillance equipment operational protocols and surveillance equipment data
management protocols provided to City Council since enactment of Seattle
ordinance number 124142, including all draft and final versions received.

As you know, council bill 117730, passed unanimously by City Council on March
18, 2013, signed by Mayor Mike McGinn on March 26, 2013, and enacted as
ordinance number 124142, required:

    1. That each City department operating surveillance equipment prior to the
    effective date of the ordinance, for which City Council had not previously
    approved protocols by ordinance, to propose written propose written
    operational protocols consistent with SMC 14.18.20 no later than thirty
    days following the effective date of the ordinance for Council review and
    approval by ordinance

    2. That each department operating surveillance equipment prior to the
    effective date of the ordinance to adopt written data management protocols
    consistent with SMC 14.18.30 no later than thirty days following the
    effective date of this ordinance and submit these protocols to the City
    Council for review and possible approval by ordinance.

More than five months have passed since the date by which City departments were
required by law to provide City Council with the records I request.

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 5 business days, as
the statute requires.

Sincerely,
Phil Mocek

I botched some of the background information included in my request (points #1 and #2, the summary of requirements of Ordinance 124142), but that did not affect my description of the records I requested.

This was a simple request. City Council made a law requiring other departments to provide to them certain records, and I requested those records from City Council five months after they were due. One would expect the records clerk to contact the sponsor of the bill to find out who was charged with managing collection of the records for which it called, then for a legislative aide at that office to pull a file folder, scan its content, and e-mail it back to the records clerk for forwarding to me. This would involve maybe 30 minutes of work, and with delays in communication, might take a week to complete.

I received a response within five business days, as the law requires. Jennifer Winkler of Seattle Legislative Department responded on behalf of City Council, reporting that various staff had “begun the process of determining whether or not [their offices held] responsive records.” She provided a date six weeks in the future by which I would receive either an installment of records I requested or a status update. She provided no explanation of how she arrived at the six-week figure.

Date: Tue, 15 Oct 2013 15:49:30 -0700
From: "Winkler, Jennifer" <Jennifer.Winkler(AT)seattle.gov>
To: 7025-96997557(AT)requests.muckrock.com
CC: "Johnson, Sharon" <Sharon.Johnson(AT)seattle.gov>
Subject: PRR2013-180 - Surveillance equipment protocols

RE:  Public Records Request No. 2013-180

Dear Mr. Mocek:

The Legislative Department, which includes the Seattle City Council, Office of
the City Clerk and Central Staff, has begun the process of determining whether
or not it holds responsive records.  Our office will contact you on or before
November 22, 2013 with an installment of responsive records or a status update
on your request.  Of course if we complete our search sooner, any responsive
records will be made available at that time.

Please feel free to contact me directly with any questions or concerns.

Sincerely,
Jennifer Winkler
On behalf of Sharon Johnson, CPRO, MPS

Nine days later, Ms. Winkler e-mailed 20 people at City of Seattle, several of whom I recognize as legislative aides to City Council members, about my request. She requested that they perform searches for records responsive to my request. Along with her request, she provided some suggestions for search strategy, directions for how to respond, and a deadline for response of November 6, a bit less than two weeks later.

Date: Thu, 24 Oct 2013 15:39:03 -0700
From: "Winkler, Jennifer" <Jennifer.Winkler(AT)seattle.gov>
To: "Nyland, Kathy" <Kathy.Nyland(AT)seattle.gov>,
    "Pulliam, Tobias" <Tobias.Pulliam(AT)seattle.gov>,
    "Brown, LaTonya" <LaTonya.Brown(AT)seattle.gov>,
    "Ko, Elaine" <Elaine.Ko(AT)seattle.gov>,
    "Bauhs, Bailey" <Bailey.Bauhs(AT)seattle.gov>,
    "Tang, Vinh" <Vinh.Tang(AT)seattle.gov>,
    "Aldrich, Newell" <Newell.Aldrich(AT)seattle.gov>,
    "Morris, Rashad" <Rashad.Morris(AT)seattle.gov>,
    "Smith, Rose" <Rose.Smith(AT)seattle.gov>,
    "Serna, Susana" <Susana.Serna(AT)seattle.gov>
CC: "Rehrmann, Lily" <Lily.Rehrmann(AT)seattle.gov>,
    "Van Duzer, Nate" <Nate.VanDuzer(AT)seattle.gov>,
    "Yeaworth, David" <David.Yeaworth(AT)seattle.gov>,
    "Shulman, Phyllis" <Phyllis.Shulman(AT)seattle.gov>,
    "Caldirola-Davis, Carlo" <Carlo.Davis(AT)seattle.gov>,
    "Samuels, Jennifer" <Jennifer.Samuels(AT)seattle.gov>,
    "Herbold, Lisa" <Lisa.Herbold(AT)seattle.gov>,
    "Fogt, Josh" <Josh.Fogt(AT)seattle.gov>,
    "Hawksford, Brian" <Brian.Hawksford(AT)seattle.gov>,
    "Noble, Ben" <Ben.Noble(AT)seattle.gov>
Subject: PRR 2013-180 - Surveillance Camera protocols

DUE DATE:  Noon November 6, 2013.
Date Range:  March 26, 2103  to October 8, 2013

Please ensure you conduct a diligent search of ALL records.  Thus, please
document the name of each file folder and or location you search, including
meeting notes and handwritten notes.  A list of search terms is included to
assist you.  Each of the listed terms must be searched.  Please note the list
is not exhaustive and you should add additional terms to follow obvious leads
as they are uncovered that is likely to turn up additional sources for the
records requested.

SEARCH TERMS: surveillance cameras, protocols, 124142

REQUEST:
    Surveillance equipment operational protocols and surveillance equipment
    data management protocols provided to City Council since enactment of
    Seattle ordinance number 124142, including all draft and final versions
    received.

Upon completion of your search and production of records, complete the attached
search form and return to me electronically.  Please appropriately mark the
locations searched and the search terms used in the fields noted, including
recording the amount of time you spent on filling this request in the field
marked "Hours Worked."

Kind regards,
Jennifer
On behalf of Sharon Johnson, CPRO, MPS

    [ATTACHED: Surveillance Camera protocols.xlsx]

This message suggests that Ms. Winkler’s report to me nine days earlier, on October 15, that a process had been initiated to determine whether or not various offices held responsive records was false. I have seen no indication, in the administrative tracking file or elsewhere, that any work toward location of responsive records was performed between filing of my request on October 8 and her e-mail to other staff on October 24.

It’s interesting that Ms. Winkler directed those who were to search for records to limit the date range of the search so that it ended on the date of my request. I would expect to receive any responsive records that existed at the time someone searched for them, even if those records were not available at the time of my request but became available between the time I filed the request and the time at which someone finally got around to searching. This seems particularly significant in a situation like this one, when the search did not start until weeks after the request was filed.

I did not receive any of the completed search forms Ms. Winkler directed other staff to return to her. Nor did I receive any index of these forms or compilation of reports of the time each respondent spent working on his or her search. I do not know if it is typical for such records to be included in an administrative file, but it seems logical that they would be.

On October 30, MuckRock sent an automatically-generated request for status update:

Date: Wed, 30 Oct 2013 02:00:57 -0700
From: 7025-96997557(AT)requests.muckrock.com
To: "Winkler, Jennifer" <Jennifer.Winkler(AT)seattle.gov>
CC: "Johnson, Sharon" <Sharon.Johnson(AT)seattle.gov>
Subject: Follow up to Freedom of Information Request #2013-180

I wanted to follow up on the following Freedom of Information request, copied
below, and originally submitted on Oct. 8, 2013. Please let me know when I can
expect to receive a response, or if further clarification is needed.  You had
assigned it reference number #2013-180.

On November 5, Ms. Winkler e-mailed an update, reporting that a search was underway and reiterating her earlier estimate of November 22 for a first installment or further update on status:

Date: Tue, 5 Nov 2013 10:14:04 -0800
From: "Winkler, Jennifer" <Jennifer.Winkler(AT)seattle.gov>
To: 7025-96997557(AT)requests.muckrock.com
CC: "Johnson, Sharon" <Sharon.Johnson(AT)seattle.gov>
Subject: RE: Follow up to Freedom of Information Request #2013-180

Mr. Mocek,

We have received and acknowledged your request, please see the attached email
for your acknowledgement letter.   We are currently searching the records of
the Legislative Department for potentially responsive documents and will
provide you with an installment of records or status update on November 22,
2013 as the attached indicates.

Jennifer

    [ATTACHED: ForwardedMessage.eml]

On November 20, an auto-generated request for status update was sent:

Date: Wed, 20 Nov 2013 02:00:13 -0800
From: 7025-96997557(AT)requests.muckrock.com
To: "Winkler, Jennifer" <Jennifer.Winkler(AT)seattle.gov>
CC: "Johnson, Sharon" <Sharon.Johnson(AT)seattle.gov>
Subject: Follow up to Freedom of Information Request #2013-180

I wanted to follow up on the following Freedom of Information request, copied
below, and originally submitted on Oct. 8, 2013. Please let me know when I can
expect to receive a response, or if further clarification is needed.  You had
assigned it reference number #2013-180.

On November 22, Ms. Winkler reported that the search for responsive records had concluded, that a review of unspecified documents had begun, and that no responsive records had yet been found. She provided a new due-date of December 6, by which I was to be contacted with either an installment of responsive records or a status update:

Date: Fri, 22 Nov 2013 13:57:44 -0800
From: "Winkler, Jennifer" <Jennifer.Winkler(AT)seattle.gov>
To: 7025-96997557(AT)requests.muckrock.com
CC: "Johnson, Sharon" <Sharon.Johnson(AT)seattle.gov>
Subject: PRR 2013-180 - Surveillance Cameras - status update

RE:  Public Records Request No. 2013-180

Dear Mr. Mocek:

In accordance with RCW 42.56.520, this e-mail is to provide you with a status
update  of your Public Records Request dated October 8, 2013 and received by
the Legislative Department same date,  whereby you request the following:

    Surveillance equipment operational protocols and surveillance equipment
    data management protocols provided to the City Council since enactment of
    Seattle ordinance number 124142, including all drafts and final versions.

The Legislative Department has concluded its search for responsive records and
has begun reviewing documents.   At this time there are no documents responsive
to your request in the document sets we have reviewed.    We continue to review
the remaining document sets for responsive documents. Our office will contact
you on or before December 6th, 2013 with an installment of responsive records
or a status update on your request.  Of course if we complete our search
sooner, any responsive records will be made available at that time.

Please feel free to contact me directly with any questions or concerns.

Jennifer Winkler
On Behalf of Sharon Johnson

I do not know how searching differs from reviewing in this context. In my mind, the search for responsive records consists almost entirely of reviewing known records.

On December 7, an auto-generated request for status update was sent:

Date: Sat, 7 Dec 2013 02:00:09 -0800
From: Phil Mocek <7025-96997557(AT)requests.muckrock.com>
To: "Winkler, Jennifer" <Jennifer.Winkler(AT)seattle.gov>
CC: "Johnson, Sharon" <Sharon.Johnson(AT)seattle.gov>
Subject: RE: Freedom of Information Request #2013-180

I wanted to follow up on the following Freedom of Information request, copied
below, and originally submitted on Oct. 8, 2013. Please let me know when I can
expect to receive a response, or if further clarification is needed.  You had
assigned it reference number #2013-180.

On December 10, more than two months since receipt of my request, Ms. Winkler reported precisely the same things she had reported on November 22 and provided a new date by which I would receive either an installment of responsive records or another status update: December 20. There was no explanation of what changed, causing the revised estimate that nearly doubled the time dedicated to this phase of processing my request.

Date: Tue, 10 Dec 2013 15:37:47 -0800
From: "Winkler, Jennifer" <Jennifer.Winkler(AT)seattle.gov>
To: 7025-96997557(AT)requests.muckrock.com
Subject: RE: PRR 2013-180 - Surveillance Cameras - status update #2

RE:  Public Records Request No. 2013-180

Dear Mr. Mocek:

In accordance with RCW 42.56.520, this e-mail is to provide you with a status
update  of your Public Records Request dated October 8, 2013 and received by
the Legislative Department same date,  whereby you request the following:

    Surveillance equipment operational protocols and surveillance equipment
    data management protocols provided to the City Council since enactment of
    Seattle ordinance number 124142, including all drafts and final versions.

The Legislative Department has concluded its search for responsive records and
has begun reviewing documents.   At this time there are no documents responsive
to your request in the document sets we have reviewed.    We continue to review
the remaining document sets for responsive documents. Our office will contact
you on or before December 20, 2013 with an installment of responsive records or
a status update on your request.  Of course if we complete our search sooner,
any responsive records will be made available at that time.

Please feel free to contact me directly with any questions or concerns.

Jennifer Winkler
On Behalf of Sharon Johnson

On December 19, 72 days since I filed my request and one day prior to the next self-imposed due date for city staff, Ms. Winkler e-mailed two Seattle Police Department records clerks, Sheila Friend-Gray and Bonnie Voegele.

Sent: Thursday, December 19, 2013 2:17 PM
From: Winkler, Jennifer
To: Friend-Gray, Sheila
Cc: Voegele, Bonnie
Subject: PDR for surveillance camera protocols

Hi Sheila,

Phil Mocek sent us a PDR for any policies or procedures provided to the Council
for compliance with Ordinance 124142 (which states that all surveillance camera
networks in the City must be reviewed by Council prior to implementation).   We
have found that SPD submitted information to the members of the Public Safety ,
Civil Rights, and Technology Committee a few months ago, which fits into the
timeframe for the request.  However, it does not appear that they have been
formerly presented to the Council as of yet.

Do you know if you received the same request?  I've attached the original
request as an FYI.  If you did get this request, what if anything did you
provide.   We've reviewed most of our document sets, but the only item we've
found is that mesh network draft and subsequent versions.

Thanks
Jennifer

Jennifer Winkler
City Records Manager
Legislative Department - Office of the City Clerk

In that e-mail, Ms. Winkler:

  • Stated that most of the Legislative Department’s “document sets” had been reviewed
  • Stated that the only items responsive to my request that had been found were “that mesh network draft and subsequent revisions”
  • Stated that she found two records responsive to my request that had been submitted by SPD to City Council members months earlier
  • Stated that the responsive records found had had not “been formerly presented to the Council,” (presumably, based on a later e-mail meaning to write “formally” where she wrote “formerly”)

Contrary to what Ms. Winkler wrote to Ms. Friend-Gray, my request was not for surveillance equipment protocols formally presented to City Council, but for draft and final versions of all such protocols communicated to City Council since ordinance 124142 took effect in late March of 2013.

So, according to Ms. Winkler, at a date no later than December 19, she and/or colleagues at the Legislative Department had located multiple records responsive to my request.

About an hour and a half later, Ms. Winkler e-mailed Bonnie Voegele at SPD to report that she had received an out-of-office auto-reply from Ms. Friend-Gray at SPD and to ask whom at SPD she should contact instead:

Sent: Thursday, December 19, 2013 3:53 PM
From: Winkler, Jennifer
To: Voegele, Bonnie
Subject: FW: PDR for surveillance camera protocols

Hi Bonnie,

I got the out of office message for Sheila.  Is there someone else I can talk
to about this?

Jenny

The following morning, Ms. Voegele at SPD e-mailed Ms. Winkler back, reporting that 1) SPD had not received the same request from me as City Council had received and 2) that SPD had received two other requests from me (P2013-3570 and P2013-3571) that were related to SPD’s wireless mesh surveillance network:

Sent: Friday, December 20, 2013 7:47 AM
From: Voegele, Bonnie
To: Winkler, Jennifer
Subject: RE: PDR for surveillance camera protocols

We have not received that request.  But we have received two other ones from
him in regards to the Wireless Mesh (see below).

    1. All summaries and analysis of feedback regarding Seattle Police
    Department's wireless mesh surveillance network, including but not limited
    to all notes taken by Monty E. Moss #5598, Verner B. O'Quinn, Jr. #4920,
    Paul A. Mcdonagh #4708, or Sean P. Whitcomb #6080, regarding the
    approximately four public presentations delivered by SPD staff about the
    network. (P2013-3571)

    2. Draft wireless mesh surveillance network policy, all previous drafts of
    that policy, along with associated metadata.  On Friday, October 8, 2013,
    at approximately 8:00 a.m., in response to [my claim][1] that Seattle
    Police Department have been in perpetual violation of SMC 14.18.40 for the
    past six months, Sean Whitcomb of SPD [wrote to me via Twitter][1] that SPD
    staff "hope to make the draft policy available soon." and that the draft
    policy was at that time "currently under review by the City Attorney's
    Office."  Responsive records should include but not be limited to the draft
    policy to which Mr. Whitcomb referred.  (P2013-3570)

Bonnie Voegele, Records Manager

That afternoon, Ms. Winkler e-mailed Ms. Voegele at SPD back, attaching a document that would eventually be withheld in full, referred to it as a memo rather than as a policy or protocol. Ms. Winkler asked Ms Voegele if SPD had sent that document to me in response either to my two mesh-network-related requests to SPD. She stated that if SPD had released it to me, then the Legislative Department would likely need to consider releasing it to me in response to my October 8 request that was the impetus for her search. She again stated that she had multiple versions of the policy, and thus that she had located multiple records responsive to my request:

Date: Fri, 20 Dec 2013 13:07:42 -0800
From: "Winkler, Jennifer" <Jennifer.Winkler(AT)seattle.gov>
To: "Voegele, Bonnie" <Bonnie.Voegele(AT)seattle.gov>
Subject: RE: PDR for surveillance camera protocols

Thanks, can you tell me if the attached memo was released for either of these?
If so then we will probably have to consider it for this one.  I have lots of
copies of the memo and versions of the policy but nothing that indicates it has
been formally introduced to Council.

Jenny

    [ATTACHED: 20130613 Wireless Mesh Camera Policy (to CM Harrell).docx]

Less than 30 minutes later, Ms. Winkler e-mailed me to repeat that the Legislative Department had concluded its search for responsive records, to inform me that that they continued to review documents, and that I should expect another response, with either an installment of records or with a final update on my request, by January 10, 2014:

Date: Fri, 20 Dec 2013 13:32:27 -0800
From: "Winkler, Jennifer" <Jennifer.Winkler(AT)seattle.gov>
To: 7025-96997557(AT)requests.muckrock.com
Subject: FW: PRR 2013-180 - Surveillance Cameras - status update #3

RE:  Public Records Request No. 2013-180

Dear Mr. Mocek:

In accordance with RCW 42.56.520, this e-mail is to provide you with a status
update  of your Public Records Request dated October 8, 2013 and received by
the Legislative Department same date,  whereby you request the following:

    Surveillance equipment operational protocols and surveillance equipment
    data management protocols provided to the City Council since enactment of
    Seattle ordinance number 124142, including all drafts and final versions.

The Legislative Department has concluded its search for responsive records and
continues to review documents.  The remaining document sets will require
additional review.   Our office will contact you on or before January 10, 2013
with an installment of responsive records or a final update on your request.
Of course if we complete our search sooner, any responsive records will be made
available at that time.

Please feel free to contact me directly with any questions or concerns.

Jennifer Winkler

On Behalf of Sharon Johnson
Public Records Officer
Legislative Department, City of Seattle

A few days later, Monday morning, Ms. Voegele at SPD replied to Ms. Winkler, reporting 1) that SPD had not released to me the 2013-06-13 document about which Ms. Winkler inquired, and 2) that SPD staff planned to meet one week later (December 30) to decide what records to release to me in response to the requests I filed with SPD.

Sent: Monday, December 23, 2013 8:27 AM
From: Voegele, Bonnie
To: Winkler, Jennifer
Subject: RE: PDR for surveillance camera protocols

It has not yet been released.  We are meeting next Monday to decide what will
be released.

Bonnie Voegele, Records Manager

20 minutes later, Ms. Winkler e-mailed back to request notification of the decision SPD would make the following week and to report that Legislative Department had extended their response due date for my request:

Date: Mon, 23 Dec 2013 08:47:12 -0800
From: "Winkler, Jennifer" <Jennifer.Winkler(AT)seattle.gov>
To: "Voegele, Bonnie" <Bonnie.Voegele(AT)seattle.gov>
Subject: RE: PDR for surveillance camera protocols

Thanks, if you could let me know what is decided, I'd appreciate it.   We have
extended our response time to 1/10 for that one

Jennifer

On January 4, an auto-generated request for status update was sent:

Date: Sat, 4 Jan 2014 02:00:13 -0800
From: Phil Mocek <7025-96997557(AT)requests.muckrock.com>
To: "Winkler, Jennifer" <Jennifer.Winkler(AT)seattle.gov>
Subject: RE: Freedom of Information Request #2013-180

I wanted to follow up on the following Freedom of Information request, copied
below, and originally submitted on Oct. 8, 2013. Please let me know when I can
expect to receive a response, or if further clarification is needed.  You had
assigned it reference number #2013-180.

On Monday, January 6, 2014, a week after SPD’s planned meeting to discuss my two mesh-network-related requests and 90 days after I filed my request, Assistant City Attorney Mary Perry e-mailed 15 city employees to report that SPD had received records requests from Seattle newspaper The Stranger and from me, and also to notify recipients of a plan to coordinate further responses.

In that e-mail, Ms. Perry revealed that an installment of records about the mesh network had already been provided to The Stranger. She requested that recipients send to her copies of requests received from The Stranger and from me, related communications between them and us, responsive records provided to us already, and responsive records not yet provided to us.

Sent: Monday, January 06, 2014 4:47 PM
From: Perry, Mary
To: Socci, Angela; Voegele, Bonnie; Hillyard, Naomi
Cc: Podlodowski, Tina; Kimerer, Clark; Anderson, Valarie; McDonagh, Paul;
    Barden, Eric; O'Quin, Verner; Moss, Monty; Seu, Carlton; Smith, Gary;
    Jaeger, Matthew C; Craver, Nancy; DuComb, Darby
Subject: PDRs for Wireless Mesh Network Records

Angela, Bonnie, and Naomi:

The Mayor's Office, Law Department, and SPD have received requests from The
Stranger for records regarding the wireless mesh network.  SPD has also
received a narrower request from Phil Mocek for records related to drafts of
the wireless mesh network policy.

In order to ensure that the Mayor's Office, SPD, and the Law Department provide
consistent responses to the requests, please send Matt Jaeger the following by
January 8:

    1. Copies of The Stranger and/or Mocek requests;

    2. Communications with the requesters;

    3. Responses and records provided thus far (Naomi need not send a copy of
       installment 1 of The Stranger request already given to Law Dept.) ;

    4. Responsive records that have not yet been provided.

We will follow up to coordinate further response to requests. Please call me if
you have any questions.

Thanks,
Mary F. Perry
Assistant City Attorney

I don’t know why coordination of responses would be necessary. If everyone followed the law and provided records as requested except for those which are specifically exempted from the Public Records Act, responses would naturally match. It’s as if there was concern that records might be withheld from some requesters but not from others.

At the end of that week, on January 10, Matt Jaeger at the City Attorney’s office (who was very helpful when I contacted him last year about some research I was doing in hopes of identifying records his office might hold) e-mailed Angela Socci at SPD to ask about records she might have that were related to Ms. Perry’s e-mail concerning The Stranger and me:

Sent: Friday, January 10, 2014 3:03 PM
From: Jaeger, Matthew C
To: Socci, Angela
Subject: FW: PDRs for Wireless Mesh Network Records

Hello Angela,

I wanted to see about the documents you may have related to the below issues.

Thank you!
Matt

-----Original Message-----
Sent: Monday, January 06, 2014 4:47 PM
From: Perry, Mary
To: Socci, Angela; Voegele, Bonnie; Hillyard, Naomi
Cc: Podlodowski, Tina; Kimerer, Clark; Anderson, Valarie; McDonagh, Paul;
    Barden, Eric; O'Quin, Verner; Moss, Monty; Seu, Carlton; Smith, Gary;
    Jaeger, Matthew C; Craver, Nancy; DuComb, Darby
Subject: PDRs for Wireless Mesh Network Records

Angela, Bonnie, and Naomi:

The Mayor's Office, Law Department, and SPD have received requests from The
Stranger  for records regarding the wireless mesh network.  SPD has also
received a narrower request from Phil Mocek for records related to drafts of
the wireless mesh network policy.
  [TRUNCATED]
--------------------------

Later that afternoon, Ms. Winkler reported to me that the Legislative Department was still reviewing documents and that they had identified four records responsive to my request. This was at least 19 days after she had located responsive records and reported such to other city staff. In her e-mail to me, she claimed that those records she had identified would require review by legal counsel prior to disclosure and that this would occur by February 4, at which time I would be provided with either the records or an exemption log for them:

Date: Fri, 10 Jan 2014 16:50:38 -0800
From: "Winkler, Jennifer" <Jennifer.Winkler(AT)seattle.gov>
To: 7025-96997557(AT)requests.muckrock.com
CC: "Johnson, Sharon" <Sharon.Johnson(AT)seattle.gov>
Subject: RE: PRR 2013-180 - Surveillance Cameras - status update #4

RE:  Public Records Request No. 2013-180  - status update #4

Dear Mr. Mocek:

In accordance with RCW 42.56.520, this e-mail is to provide you with a status
update  of your Public Records Request dated October 8, 2013 and received by
the Legislative Department same date,  whereby you request the following:

    Surveillance equipment operational protocols and surveillance equipment
    data management protocols provided to the City Council since enactment of
    Seattle ordinance number 124142, including all drafts and final versions.

The Legislative Department has concluded its search for responsive records and
continues to review documents.  We have identified 4 documents responsive to
your request.  The contents of the documents will require review by our legal
counsel as to their disclosure status.  We anticipate they will have rendered
their decision by February 4th, 2013 at which time we will either release the
documents or provide you with an exemption log for them.

Please feel free to contact me directly with any questions or concerns.

Jennifer Winkler
On Behalf of Sharon Johnson

Around the same time as Ms. Winkler sent me that update, near the end of day on a Friday, Angela Socci at SPD responded to the request from Matthew Jaeger at the City Attorney’s office, providing 1) a 2013-07-11 draft of the mesh network policy, described as the latest version of that policy and as one that had not been “presented to Council,” and 2) draft of a related bill that had been sent “sent to the ACLU for comment.”

Sent: Friday, January 10, 2014 4:56 PM
From: Socci, Angela
To: Jaeger, Matthew C
Cc: Perry, Mary; Smith, Gary; Doss, Greg
Subject: RE: PDRs for Wireless Mesh Network Records

All,

Attached please find a copy of the draft wireless mesh system policy and draft
ordinance sent to the ACLU for comment. The latter is the most recent version
of the department policy. It has not been presented to Council.

Sorry for the delay. Our email system was down. Let me or Greg Doss know if you
have any questions.

Thanks,
Angela

  [ATTACHED: 20130711 Wireless Mesh Camera Policy - draft.docx]
  [ATTACHED: SPD Wireless Mesh Protocols ORD transmitted to MO on Nov 19.docx]

Monday morning, Matthew Jaeger at the City Attorney’s office forwarded Ms. Socci’s (SPD’s) e-mail, along with the two attachments, without additional comment, to Ms. Winkler:

Date: Mon, 13 Jan 2014 09:57:56 -0800
From: "Jaeger, Matthew C" <Matthew.Jaeger(AT)seattle.gov>
To: "Winkler, Jennifer" <Jennifer.Winkler(AT)seattle.gov>
Subject: FW: PDRs for Wireless Mesh Network Records

-----Original Message-----
Sent: Friday, January 10, 2014 4:56 PM
From: Socci, Angela
To: Jaeger, Matthew C
Cc: Perry, Mary; Smith, Gary; Doss, Greg
Subject: RE: PDRs for Wireless Mesh Network Records

All,

Attached please find a copy of the draft wireless mesh system policy and draft
ordinance sent to the ACLU for comment. The latter is the most recent version
of the department policy. It has not been presented to Council.
  [TRUNCATED]
--------------------------

  [ATTACHED: 20130711 Wireless Mesh Camera Policy - draft.docx]
  [ATTACHED: SPD Wireless Mesh Protocols ORD transmitted to MO on Nov 19.docx]

On January 31, an auto-generated request for status update was sent:

Date: Fri, 31 Jan 2014 02:04:35 -0800
From: Phil Mocek <7025-96997557(AT)requests.muckrock.com>
To: "Winkler, Jennifer" <Jennifer.Winkler(AT)seattle.gov>
CC: "Johnson, Sharon" <Sharon.Johnson(AT)seattle.gov>
Subject: RE: Freedom of Information Request #2013-180

I wanted to follow up on the following Freedom of Information request, copied
below, and originally submitted on Oct. 8, 2013. Please let me know when I can
expect to receive a response, or if further clarification is needed.  You had
assigned it reference number #2013-180.

On February 4, 2014, 119 days after I filed my request, Bonnie Voegele at SPD e-mailed Ms. Winkler to report that she had recently released a 2013-07-11 draft of the policy to me in response to a request I filed with SPD. A copy of that draft was attached.

Date: Tue, 4 Feb 2014 13:03:04 -0800
From: "Voegele, Bonnie" <Bonnie.Voegele(AT)seattle.gov>
To: "Winkler, Jennifer" <Jennifer.Winkler(AT)seattle.gov>
Subject: Mocek Public Disclosure Request P2013-3570 (SPD)

Jennifer,

Here is the draft policy which I was told was previously released.  I just
released it to Mocek re:  P2014-3570

Bonnie Voegele, Records Manager

    [ATTACHED: 20130711 Wireless Mesh Camera Policy - draft.docx]

Ms. Winkler replied to Ms. Voegele at SPD, stating that she had the 2013-07-11 draft and would release it that day. She sent 2013-05-08 and 2013-06-13 drafts to Ms. Voegele.

Date: Tue, 4 Feb 2014 13:26:33 -0800
From: "Winkler, Jennifer" <Jennifer.Winkler(AT)seattle.gov>
To: "Voegele, Bonnie" <Bonnie.Voegele(AT)seattle.gov>
Subject: RE: Mocek Public Disclosure Request P2013-3570 (SPD)

Thanks Bonnie,

We have that one and will release it today as well.   Here are the other two
drafts we have that we are still questioning their release.

    [ATTACHED: 20130613 Wireless Mesh Camera Policy (to CM Harrell).pdf]
    [ATTACHED: 20130508 Wireless Mesh Camera Policy DRAFT 9.docx]

Later that afternoon, on February 4, 2014, nearly four months after I placed my request and more than six weeks`after Ms. Winkler located responsive records and discussed them via e-mail with Bonnie Voegele at SPD, she sent me an initial installment of responsive records, consisting of a single draft of the protocol. It was provided as a PDF, not named the same as any of the files that had been passed around between various agencies in the aforementioned inter-agency discussions, that did not include any internal date or revision numbers. She repeated her January 10 claim that other responsive records required review by legal council prior to disclosure, and provided a new estimate of February 21 for completion of that review and either release of records to me or production of an exemption log.

Date: Tue, 4 Feb 2014 15:35:54 -0800
From: "Winkler, Jennifer" <Jennifer.Winkler(AT)seattle.gov>
To: 7025-96997557(AT)requests.muckrock.com
Subject: PRR 2013-180 - Surveillance Cameras - install #1

RE:  Public Records Request No. 2013-180  - installment #1

Dear Mr. Mocek:

In accordance with RCW 42.56.520, this e-mail is to provide you with an
installment of records responsive to your Public Records Request dated October
8, 2013 and received by the Legislative Department same date,  whereby you
request the following:

    Surveillance equipment operational protocols and surveillance equipment
    data management protocols provided to the City Council since enactment of
    Seattle ordinance number 124142, including all drafts and final versions.

The Legislative Department has concluded its search for responsive records and
continues to  review documents. We have identified 3 documents responsive to
your request. Attached is one responsive document, the contents of the 2
remaining documents will require review by our legal counsel as to their
disclosure status.  We anticipate they will have rendered their decision by
February 21st, 2013 at which time we will either release the documents or
provide you with an exemption log for them.

Please feel free to contact me directly with any questions or concerns.

Jennifer Winkler

On Behalf of Sharon Johnson

    [ATTACHED: 2013-180 install 1.pdf]

A few hours after receiving that first installment, I wrote back to confirm receipt and express concern with the time it took for her office to locate documents due by law to City Council almost a year earlier. I asked for an approximation of how much time was spent weekly on processing my request. I asked what led her to believe that the unreleased responsive records were of such a sensitive nature that legal review of them was required prior to allowing the public to see them.

Date: Tue, 4 Feb 2014 17:54:54 -0800
From: Phil Mocek <7025-96997557(AT)requests.muckrock.com>
To: "Winkler, Jennifer" <Jennifer.Winkler(AT)seattle.gov>
Subject: RE: Freedom of Information Request #2013-180

RE: My public records request of October 8, 2014 (your identifier: 2013-180)

Dear Ms. Winkler:

I received your e-mail of February 4, 2014, this afternoon. In it, you provided
a single file, 588 KB, MD5 checksum 4a438609322d2306dcd69718fe5bc7d7.  This
record contains an unversioned, undated, draft policy for "Wireless Mesh
Network Cameras."  Presumably these are those cameras that Seattle Police
Department sneaked onto Alki Beach last year under the guise of "Port Security"
using funding from the United States Department of Homeland Security after City
Council performed their annual rubber-stamping of the DHS Urban Areas Security
Initiative grant.

I am concerned that almost a year after passage of an ordinance that required
multiple city departments to provide City Council protocols like this for
approval, it took three months for your office to locate any such records and
provide just one of them to me.

Approximately how much time per week has been spent processing my request?

I'm baffled by your claim that draft versions of public policy must undergo
legal review before disclosure to the public.  Could you please explain just
what makes you believe these are of such a sensitive nature?

Cordially,
Phil Mocek

Neither Ms. Winkler nor anyone else ever answered those questions.

The following day, Ms. Winkler forwarded my e-mail to her supervisor, Sharon Johnson.

Date: Wed, 5 Feb 2014 08:18:42 -0800
From: "Winkler, Jennifer" <Jennifer.Winkler(AT)seattle.gov>
To: "Johnson, Sharon" <Sharon.Johnson(AT)seattle.gov>
Subject: FW: Freedom of Information Request #2013-180

Forwarding for your response, etc.

-----Original Message-----
Sent: Tuesday, February 04, 2014 5:55 PM
From: 7025-96997557(AT)requests.muckrock.com
To: Winkler, Jennifer
Subject: RE: Freedom of Information Request #2013-180

RE: My public records request of October 8, 2014 (your identifier: 2013-180)

Dear Ms. Winkler:

I received your e-mail of February 4, 2014, this afternoon. In it, you provided
a single file, 588 KB, MD5 checksum 4a438609322d2306dcd69718fe5bc7d7.  This
record contains an unversioned, undated, draft policy for "Wireless Mesh
  [TRUNCATED]
--------------------------

A few hours later, Ms. Winkler forwarded my email to multiple staff at the City Attorney’s office. In that message, she briefly summarized related activity already performed in response to my records request and requested guidance on responding to me.

Date: Wed, 5 Feb 2014 10:13:26 -0800
From: "Winkler, Jennifer" <Jennifer.Winkler(AT)seattle.gov>
To: "Perry, Mary" <Mary.Perry(AT)seattle.gov>,
    "Smith, Gary" <Gary.Smith(AT)seattle.gov>
CC: "Johnson, Sharon" <Sharon.Johnson(AT)seattle.gov>,
    "Jaeger, Matthew C" <Matthew.Jaeger(AT)seattle.gov>
Subject: FW: Freedom of Information Request #2013-180 - ATTORNEY CLIENT PRIVILEGE

Hello,

Please see the below from Mr. Mocek regarding the PDR he has filed with the
Legislative department.

We did a search, the mesh network cameras were the only ones that showed up,
apparently no other departments have filed procedures as of the date of his
request.

We sent updates to Mr. Mocek on a regular basis, met every deadline that we set
up, provided him the records once we had the approval of SPD.  We would
appreciate your guidance on how best to respond to Mr. Mocek.  I have attached
the final two drafts that we have (he asked for final and drafts) that we have
yet to provide as well as the one document we provided.  Please note, this is
the format that it came to us in, we did not draft it, this is how it came to
us, no date, draft number, etc.

Thanks
Jennifer

-----Original Message-----
Sent: Tuesday, February 04, 2014 5:55 PM
From: 7025-96997557(AT)requests.muckrock.com
To: Winkler, Jennifer
Subject: RE: Freedom of Information Request #2013-180

RE: My public records request of October 8, 2014 (your identifier: 2013-180)

Dear Ms. Winkler:

I received your e-mail of February 4, 2014, this afternoon. In it, you provided
a single file, 588 KB, MD5 checksum 4a438609322d2306dcd69718fe5bc7d7.  This
record contains an unversioned, undated, draft policy for "Wireless Mesh
  [TRUNCATED]
--------------------------

    [ATTACHED: 20130613 Wireless Mesh Camera Policy (to CM Harrell).pdf]
    [ATTACHED: 20130508 Wireless Mesh Camera Policy DRAFT 9.docx]
    [ATTACHED: 2013-180 install 1.pdf]

In that message, Ms. Winkler revealed that she had provided the first installment of responsive records (a single record) only after receiving approval from SPD to do so. No explanation for the police department’s veto power on the Legislative Department’s potential compliance with the Public Records Act was provided.

This e-mail, provided to me as part of the administrative tracking file, seems to have attached to it the two documents that multiple agencies worked so diligently to keep out of public view.

Despite Ms. Winkler’s request for guidance on how best to respond to my e-mail, I never received a response to that e-mail.

The following week, on February 13, I sent another followup, repeating my request for an estimate of how much time was spent weekly on the processing of my request. I explained in detail why I expected the request, now months past due, to have taken only about a week to complete. I explained that these records are of great interest to the public. I explained that disclosure of the records was urgently needed, as City Council had the previous week discussed a bill that would authorize the acceptance of more federal funding for police equipment, and that City Light were moving steadily forward with plans to acquire and deploy equipment that should require them to submit protocols for use to City Council.

Date: Thu, 13 Feb 2014 09:11:51 -0800
From: Phil Mocek <7025-96997557(AT)requests.muckrock.com>
To: "Winkler, Jennifer" <Jennifer.Winkler(AT)seattle.gov>
Subject: RE: Freedom of Information Request #2013-180

Dear Ms. Winkler:

I have received no contact regarding this matter since I e-mailed to you nine
days ago several questions about its processing.

Again:  Approximately how much time per week has been spent processing my
request?

It took your office three months from the time I requested these records until
you provided to me what you called a first installment of responsive records.
This delay is unreasonable, and seems to be a violation of the Public Records
Act.  Nobody has communicated any explanation of the delay.  I expected that my
request would be routed to the office of Councilmember Bruce Harrell, chair of
the Public Safety, Civil Rights, and Technology Committee, then delegated to a
staff member charged with collecting these records that Mr. Harrell's committee
requested by way of passing Council Bill 117730 in March of 2013, who would
pull a file folder, scan its content, and e-mail it to me.  I cannot imagine
why this would have taken more than a week or so to complete.

The surveillance equipment acquisitions that prompted the aforementioned bill,
now an ordinance which required city departments to submit to your office more
than nine months ago the records I have requested of you, was a widely-reported
matter of great public interest.  Seattle Police Department repeatedly sidestep
municipal oversight by using funding from the United States government to
purchase surveillance equipment for use in performing suspicionless
surveillance of City Council's constituency.

This is also an issue of great urgency.  City Council's Public Safety, Civil
Rights, and Technology Committee discussed last week an ordinance allowing
Seattle Police Department to accept *more* money from the United States
Department of Homeland Security, similar to that which funded surveillance
equipment that fueled public outrage a year ago.  Seattle City Light are
barreling ahead with plans to install so-called "smart meters" on ratepayers'
homes to collect and report real-time data about our energy usage, yet as Josh
Walter of City Light reported to me via e-mail on February 7, they have no
criteria for selecting devices that properly safeguard this sensitive
information about our homes.

The records I requested, if they exist, are undoubtedly well-known to people
within City Council.  If they do not exist, then it is indication that city
departments are flouting the law City Council passed almost 11 months ago, and
thus their lack of existence should be well-known to people within City
Council.  I can imagine no reason, and you have offered no reason, why four
months after I requested these records, you have yet to either provide them to
me or notify me that they do not exist.

You claimed in your e-mail to me on January 10 that the "contents of the
documents will require review by our legal counsel as to their disclosure
status."  The people of this state, in delegating authority to the agencies
that serve them, do not give their public servants the right to decide what is
good for the people to know and what is not good for them to know.  I repeat my
request from nine days ago for you to explain what makes you believe that
surveillance equipment operational protocols and data management protocols
submitted to City Council for approval are of such a sensitive nature that you
may have legal authority to hide them from the public.

Cordially,
Phil Mocek

Nobody ever responded to that e-mail.

Almost two weeks later, on February 25, Ms. Winkler e-mailed staff at the City Attorney’s office and at the Police Department to request “a definitive answer on whether” the responsive records to which she continued to deny me access were “releasable.”

Sent: Tuesday, February 25, 2014 9:01 AM
From: Winkler, Jennifer
To: Perry, Mary; Jaeger, Matthew C; Voegele, Bonnie
Subject: FW: Mocek Public Disclosure Request P2013-3570 (SPD)

Hello,

I need a definitive answer on whether these are releasable.  Our final install
is due tomorrow and we need to know what the status is on others releasing
these two drafts.

Thanks
Jennifer

About 20 minutes later, Bonnie Voegele at SPD replied with two statements: 1) SPD had released (to whom, she did not indicate) only the draft that was sent to ACLU. 2) SPD intended to withhold public access to two other drafts, citing a “deliberative process” exemption to the Public Records Act–one that the RCFP analysis I cited above indicates is clearly not applicable, since these documents constituted inter-agency, not intra-agency, communications.

Sent: Tuesday, February 25, 2014 9:24 AM
From: Voegele, Bonnie
To: Winkler, Jennifer
Cc: Perry, Mary; Jaeger, Matthew C
Subject: RE: Mocek Public Disclosure Request P2013-3570 (SPD)

SPD has only released the version that went to ACLU.  SPD will not be releasing
these documents at this time.  We will be completing an exemption log using the
deliberative process exemption.

Deliberative Process: The record contains preliminary drafts, notes,
recommendations, and intra-agency memorandums in which opinions are expressed
or policies formulated or recommended. RCW 42.56.280, See also, ACLU v. City of
Seattle, 121 Wn.App.544, 549-50, 89 P.3d 295 (2004), Hearst Corp. v. Hoppe, 90
Wn.2d 123, 133,580 P.2d 246 (1978).  Explanation: Disclosure of the information
before an agency has reached a decision would discourage agency employees from
providing frank and thorough input regarding the matter and would impair an
agency's ability to make well-informed decisions.

Bonnie Voegele, Records Manager

Later that day, Ms. Winkler replied, stating that she would close my request, citing the same exemption that Ms. Voegele reported SPD’s intent to claim, unless Mary Perry or Matthew Jaeger at the City Attorney’s Office advised her to do otherwise by noon the following day.

Date: Tue, 25 Feb 2014 16:53:18 -0800
From: "Winkler, Jennifer" <Jennifer.Winkler(AT)seattle.gov>
To: "Voegele, Bonnie" <Bonnie.Voegele(AT)seattle.gov>
CC: "Perry, Mary" <Mary.Perry(AT)seattle.gov>,
    "Jaeger, Matthew C" <Matthew.Jaeger(AT)seattle.gov>
Subject: RE: Mocek Public Disclosure Request P2013-3570 (SPD)

Thanks Bonnie,

Unless I hear otherwise from Mary or Matt by noon on Wednesday, the Legislative
department will follow this as well and then close this particular request.

Jennifer

The following morning, Ms. Winkler e-mailed her supervisor, Sharon Johnson, to notify Ms. Johnson of the noon deadline for a response from the City Attorney’s office and of her suspicion that they would not respond.

Date: Wed, 26 Feb 2014 08:22:05 -0800
From: "Winkler, Jennifer" <Jennifer.Winkler(AT)seattle.gov>
To: "Johnson, Sharon" <Sharon.Johnson(AT)seattle.gov>
Subject: FW: Mocek Public Disclosure Request P2013-3570 (SPD)

Here is what I sent yesterday afternoon to Mary and Matt. Gave them a deadline
but I doubt they will get back to me.

Sent with Good (www.good.com)

-----Original Message-----
Sent: Tuesday, February 25, 2014 04:53 PM Pacific Standard Time
From: Winkler, Jennifer
To: Voegele, Bonnie
Cc: Perry, Mary; Jaeger, Matthew C
Subject: RE: Mocek Public Disclosure Request P2013-3570 (SPD)

Thanks Bonnie,

Unless I hear otherwise from Mary or Matt by noon on Wednesday, the Legislative
department will follow this as well and then close this particular request.

Jennifer

I had still received no contact on this matter since receiving the initial installment of responsive records three weeks earlier, on February 4. Nobody responded to my direct requests on February 4 and February 13 for simple information about the processing of my request.

On February 26, three hours prior to the deadline Ms. Winkler had provided City Attorney’s office staff for response to her proposal to follow SPD’s lead and deny me access to the remaining responsive records (something of which I was unaware until receiving the administrative tracking file weeks later), I wrote again, politely but firmly expressing my growing frustration with the situation and explaining that the unlawful delay in providing access to these records drastically reduced the possibility of informed public input of impending City Council votes. I requested that she comply with the law and provide the records I requested 20 weeks earlier.

Date: Wed, 26 Feb 2014 09:01:05 -0800
From: Phil Mocek <7025-96997557(AT)requests.muckrock.com>
To: "Winkler, Jennifer" <Jennifer.Winkler(AT)seattle.gov>
Subject: RE: Freedom of Information Request #2013-180

This is a follow up to request number 2013-180:

Dear Ms. Winkler:

I have received no contact regarding this matter since I e-mailed to you three
weeks ago with questions about its processing.  On February 13, I repeated my
request for you to tell me how much time per week has been spent processing my
request since I placed it more than 20 weeks ago.  I believe this delay in
providing access to public records is unreasonable, but I have given you
repeated opportunity to explain the delay.  Yet you have not done so.

The records I requested were due *by law* to City Council in April of last
year.  I requested them in October.  You acknowledged their existence in your
e-mail to me of November 22.  Since then, four months have passed, and you have
provided only a subset of records you located---one record, e-mailed to me on
February 4---and continue to withhold access to the other records you located.
On *that* date, you estimated that by February 21, you would provide me with
either the records I requested in October or an exemption log for them.  It is
February 26, and you have provided neither.

This is a matter of great concern to the public.  Your delays are a hindrance
to our understanding of the policies by which we are governed, they drastically
reduce the possibility of informed public input on related matters such as the
impending Council vote on more U.S. Department of Homeland Security funding for
surveillance equipment for police, and they are a violation of the Public
Records Act.

Please comply with the law and provide the records I requested 20 weeks ago.

Cordially,
Phil Mocek

That afternoon, Ms. Winkler closed my request as planned, withholding in their entirety the remaining responsive records of which she was reportedly aware.

Date: Wed, 26 Feb 2014 16:00:12 -0800
From: "Winkler, Jennifer" <Jennifer.Winkler(AT)seattle.gov>
To: 7025-96997557(AT)requests.muckrock.com
CC: "Johnson, Sharon" <Sharon.Johnson(AT)seattle.gov>
Subject: PRR 2013-180 - Surveillance Cameras - closure

Via E-Mail Message

RE:  Public Records Request No. 2013-180

Dear Mr. Mocek:

As a follow-up to my email of February 4th, this is to inform you that
review of remaining documents has been completed.  It has been determined
that those documents are exempt under RCW 42.56.280 and are therefore being
withheld in their entirety.  An exemption log is attached.

If you wish to appeal the exemption of the listed documents, please submit your
appeal in writing within five business days of receipt of this message to:

    Monica Simmons
    City Clerk
    P.O. Box 94728
    Seattle, WA 98124-4728
    Monica.simmons(AT)seattle.gov
    (206) 684-8361

This concludes the Legislative Departments response to your request.

Sincerely,
Jennifer Winkler
On behalf of Sharon Johnson

    [ATTACHED: ExemptionLog2013-180.pdf]

Unsatisfied with this outcome, curious what had taken so long, and having found my polite requests for Ms. Winkler to inform me of the reason for the delay seemingly ignored, I filed a request the following day for the administrative tracking file. That request was completed by Sharon Johnson of the Legislative Department on Thursday, March 13, 2014.

My review of that file leads me to conclude that throughout processing of my request to City Council, 2013-180, filed October 8, 2013, staff at the Legislative Department were less concerned with what the Public Records Act requires of them than with what staff at the Seattle Police Department desired for the public to know about their work. It seems that the Legislative Department have allowed staff at the Police Department to say what is good for the people to know and what is not good for us to know, violating both the spirit and letter of the law.

Feb 222014
 

Yesterday, fellow Seattleite Joe Szilagyi issued this thoughtful suggestion for police reform: I’m convinced we can’t reform the Seattle Police unless there is a voter-driven ballot measure that specifically bars the City from entering into any contract agreement with SPOG that does not includes provisions for reform, like total civilian oversight. Successive Mayors and City [...]

Feb 222014
 

I transcribed the press conference Seattle Mayor Ed Murray held to field questions about Interim Police Chief Harry Bailey’s recent decision to overturn several findings of officer misconduct (see “Police Chief Misled Mayor and Council on Misconduct Decision” by Dominic Holden for background information): Ed Murray: Good evening. I wanted to provide some context to the [...]

Mar 202013
 

Ahead of fulfilment of the public records request I placed for all such letters received by Seattle City Council, I received yesterday a copy of the March 15, 2013, letter from Seattle Police Department Chief John Diaz to Mike O’Brien of Seattle City Council concerning C.B. 117730, the bill that passed Monday which regulates the [...]

Mar 192013
 

I believe I may have been a bit hasty in my assessment yesterday of the situation surrounding Seattle Police Department meddling in the crafting of legislation intended in part to restrict police acquisition and use of surveillance equipment (C.B. 117730).  I still feel that changes to the bill made between versions 10 and 12 weakened [...]

Mar 192013
 

On Monday, March 18, 2013, Seattle City Council passed C.B. 117730, which restricts City all departments’ acquisition and use of surveillance equipment. This is generally a good thing, but there are games being played, and the public are losing. Seattle Police Department’s representative, Clark Kimerer, was all smiles when the bill was discussed publicly during [...]

Mar 152013
 

I previously wrote about Seattle City Council Bill 117730, which would require city departments to receive Council approval before acquiring most surveillance equipment. In the few days between the time when I received a copy of the bill and the introduction of the bill at the March 6, 2013, meeting of the Council’s Public Safety, [...]

Mar 062013
 

On February 21, 2013, I conducted a brief, impromptu, interview with Monty E. Moss #5598 of the Seattle Police Department about security technology, policies, and procedures for the set of surveillance cameras the department recently began installing on Alki Beach in Seattle. Of particular interest are Moss’ belief that it is important to keep secret [...]