March 14th, 2016 IRC Meeting
Review & Decisions
Discussion of Senate FOIA bill
- MA Senate's public records bill: https://malegislature.gov/Bills/189/Senate/S2120
- Marked up copy of the original bill 2015 S.2120 An Act to improve public records
- Marked up copy of the amended bill 2015 S.2127 An Act to improve public records
- Bay State Examiner's take on public records law
Results of the survey.
Looking at streaming options.
Regional Convention & Contacting Members
- Joe Thornton offered to call Boston
- Lulu is calling Worcester & South
- jokeefe calling volunteers
- Noe, Steve and jokeefe are calling potential candidates
- 3/19-20, LibrePlanet 2016 conference, MIT Stata Center, Cambridge, Edward Snowden is the keynote speaker. Our crypto-corner is the last half of lunch, into the first session after lunch (around two hours), both Saturday and Sunday.
- 3/26, 1pm, Cryptoparty, South Coast Innovator Labs, Building A, 1380 Bay Street, Taunton
- 3/30, 6-9pm, Somerville Cryptoparty, 577 Somerville Ave., Somerville
Every Wed., Digital Fourth meeting, 11:20am-1:30pm, Voltage Cafe, Third Street, Cambridge
- jokeefe (James O’Keefe, Somerville)
- srevilak (Steve Revilak, Arlington, MA)
- noe (Noelani Kamelamela, Somerville)
- Kendra (Kendra Moyer in Detroit, MI)
- igel (william fleurant, arlington ma)
We discuss revisions to MA public records law. It's not perfect, but it's a step forward. Ideally, any bit of data without PII should be made available to the public; the bill doesn't go that far. Motion to support passes, 5-0.
Reviewed piratecon survey results. Looks like June 25th (Saturday), in Boston area, with Childcare.
21:02 < jokeefe> Agenda: https://masspirates.org/wiki/March_14th,_2016_IRC_Meeting 21:02 < jokeefe> ids - James O’Keefe, Somerville 21:02 < srevilak> Steve Revilak, Arlington, MA 21:03 < noe> Noelani Kamelamela, Somerville 21:05 < jokeefe> Review & Decisions - Discussion of Senate FOIA bill 21:05 < srevilak> Thanks for marking up old/new text. Makes it much easier to see the effect of the legislation 21:06 < srevilak> I like it 21:06 < jokeefe> Yeah, diffs are fine if you know the context. But if you don’t … 21:06 < jokeefe> According to Maya of BSE their take on the Senate bill from 2/1/16 is still relevant to the amended law 21:07 < jokeefe> http://www.baystateexaminer.com/articles/foia-bles-critical-mass-records-reform-bill-takes-two-steps-forward-and-one-step-back 21:08 < srevilak> I didn't notice Section 17 before. That's actually an important addition 21:08 < jokeefe> ahoy Kendra 21:08 < srevilak> Means an agency can't avoid responding by contracting storage out to a 3rd party 21:08 < Kendra> Hi Pirates, Kendra Moyer in Detroit, MI 21:10 <@igel> lo' 21:10 < noe> ahoy! 21:10 <@igel> william fleurant, arlington ma 21:10 <@jokeefe> Mandatory legal fees were removed though. Slightly easier to sue, but gov. gets more time to respond. 21:10 <@noe> i have to admit, reading about the storage requirements (fireproof vaults etc) makes me feel like we're in the stone ages. 21:10 <@jokeefe> nice provision is that they automatically have to waive fees if the agency misses a deadline. 21:11 <@benc> that's an awesome provision, they always miss deadlines 21:11 <@jokeefe> yes 21:12 * srevilak points to agenda at https://masspirates.org/wiki/March_14th,_2016_IRC_Meeting 21:12 <@igel> thanks 21:12 <@srevilak> (for those just arriving) 21:12 <@jokeefe> thanks 21:12 <@jokeefe> Specifically https://masspirates.org/wiki/2015_S.2127_An_Act_to_improve_public_records 21:13 <@jokeefe> They added a cybersecurity exemption when there are already a lot of exemptions 21:14 <@igel> i only recently learned MA FOIA requests are.. frustrating? 21:15 <@jokeefe> yes 21:16 <@benc> some consider us the worst state in the country for this sort of thing 21:17 <@jokeefe> And this one would be two steps forward, one back 21:18 <@srevilak> But some good points - each agency has to have a public records officer, the sec of state has to provide training & compliance materials, there's a per-hour limit, and a fund to help municipalities develop IS to respond to requests 21:18 <@srevilak> yes, could be better, but there's definitely some good stuff in there 21:19 <@benc> it also looks like there's some good privacy protections in Section 10B 21:22 <@jokeefe> other things of note? 21:23 <@igel> database architecture notes.. 21:24 <@benc> section 19 requires digital copies of all sorts of basic records 21:24 <@igel> so.. things are going to be more transparent in the baystate? 21:24 <@jokeefe> maybe. if so only slightly. 21:25 <@jokeefe> better than the house bill with is many steps backward 21:25 <@igel> perhaps, more flexible.. because some municipalities will be putting records online? 21:25 <@noe> its almost progress! better than no progress. 21:26 <@igel> for sure 21:27 <@jokeefe> But is almost progress enough, or will it end up stifling any change for decades? 21:28 <@srevilak> jokeefe: I've never been good @ predicting future, but we couldn't stifle change for many more decades than the last iteration of public records law 21:28 <@srevilak> At least not w/in my lifetime :) 21:29 <@igel> i think its a half step 21:29 <@benc> public records reform does not happen often, whether it is good or not 21:29 <@igel> a full step would be a public api 21:30 <@igel> half step is getting data into SQL.. by means of bid, or contract, whatever.. 21:30 <@benc> you can think of the current process as a really bad, high latency API 21:31 <@benc> it's important to get the different state and local departments used to the idea of actually responding to these requests appropriately 21:31 <@jokeefe> would settle for everything as static web pages that we can index ourselves if it were all there. 21:31 <@igel> where you have to drive to the town/city hall 21:32 <@igel> perhaps its a half step.. 21:32 <@jokeefe> Got that “is that all there is?” feeling 21:33 <@igel> i'll keep the faith its not throwaway $ 21:33 <@igel> well, i get the impression there is no standard/spec for people to use.. 21:34 <@igel> each method of getting some fiscal report data will be different, and even to the extent not compatitble with all web browsers, etc.. 21:34 <@jokeefe> My inclination is not to reject it, but point out what we want (make it all available) and say it falls far short 21:34 <@noe> I think that's a good policy 21:34 * srevilak points out section 19, and the bit about machine readable formats 21:35 <@igel> All written or printed public records shall be entered or recorded on paper made of linen rags and new cotton clippings, well sized with animal sizing and well finished or on one hundred per cent bond paper sized with animal glue or gelatin, and 21:36 <@srevilak> Ideally, every public records request should be satisfiable via HTTP GET. We're just not there yet 21:37 <@igel> yeah 21:37 <@igel> and identical as well 21:38 <@igel> aka, form rate limiting by obfuscating the fields 21:40 <@jokeefe> other observations? 21:41 <@igel> towns/cities should collaborate in the bidding process 21:43 <@igel> i have no idea how this is possible.. but i'd like to think if a half dozen cities used the same system.. thats about half a dozen towns re-inventing the wheel.. 21:43 <@benc> ideally, the state would fun an open source solution that all municipalities could use for free 21:45 <@igel> all towns would be responsible for encoding their documents by dataentry or OCR, then provide those tables upstream 21:45 <@jokeefe> Proposal: Do not reject it, but point out that while it is a step in the right direction we will make require that every bit of data that is not private be made available and this bill falls far short of that objective 21:46 <@srevilak> jokeefe: I think that's a good position 21:46 <@igel> yeah anything restricting, censoring, hindering access to public data. yea 21:46 <@benc> I agree that is a good position to take 21:46 <@jokeefe> all in favor? 21:47 <@benc> aye 21:47 <@noe> aye 21:47 <@Kendra> aye 21:48 <@igel> aye 21:48 <@jokeefe> any opposed? 21:48 <@srevilak> aye (in favor) 21:50 <@jokeefe> motion passes 21:50 <@jokeefe> srevilak, did you happen to collate the piratecon survey results? 21:51 <@srevilak> jokeefe: no, sorry 21:52 <@jokeefe> no worries. 21:52 <@jokeefe> sorry for the delay, just collating the results 21:53 <@igel> do'h i didn't get to that 21:53 <@igel> :/ 21:54 <@srevilak> Looks like one day, Boston area, Saturday, with childcare 21:54 <@benc> can't argue with that 21:55 <@noe> ok 21:57 <@jokeefe> On the 25th 21:57 <@Kendra> I gotta get going, nite all 21:57 <@srevilak> Popular topics: open govt, surveillance, countersurveillance 21:58 <@srevilak> then 3rd party coalitions, public records, net neutrality, pirate strategy, war on drugs (tied for 3rd) 21:58 <@jokeefe> 10 for the 25th, 9 for the 18th 21:58 <@jokeefe> 8 for the 4th 21:59 <@jokeefe> 5 for 5th or 26th 21:59 <@jokeefe> 4 for the 19th 22:01 <@jokeefe> The 25th in Boston area with childcare then? 22:01 <@igel> arright 22:02 <@noe> sounds good 22:02 <@srevilak> works for me 22:03 <@jokeefe> benc? 22:03 <@jokeefe> srevilak, would you see if the Community Church is available? 22:03 <@srevilak> jokeefe: will do 22:04 <@srevilak> will also check Roxbury Community College 22:04 <@benc> is this the 25th of June? 22:04 <@jokeefe> thank you 22:04 <@srevilak> benc: yes, june 22:04 <@jokeefe> yes 22:04 <@benc> that sounds good for me 22:04 <@srevilak> we're at time 22:04 <@jokeefe> yes 22:04 <@srevilak> jokeefe: noe check email, re candidate in somerville 22:05 <@jokeefe> will make a flyer for Libreplanet 22:05 <@jokeefe> did, thank you. 22:05 <@jokeefe> shall we adjourn then? 22:06 <@benc> looks like we should 22:06 <@srevilak> motion to adjourn 22:06 <@jokeefe> 2nd 22:06 <@noe> second 22:06 <@jokeefe> all in favor? 22:06 <@benc> aye 22:06 <@noe> aye 22:06 <@jokeefe> aye 22:06 <@srevilak> aye 22:07 <@jokeefe> motion passes 22:07 <@jokeefe> good night all 22:07 <@noe> night all! 22:07 <@srevilak> will post minutes