March 13, 2017 Meeting – Seattle Community Technology Advisory Board
Topics covered included: Update from CTO Michael Mattmiller; SPD Ride Along App – Code for America; a report on public WIFI with Jim Loter and Derrick Hall; Digital Equity Plan update with David Keyes; and reports from the Cable and Broadband Committee, E-Government Committee, Privacy Committee, and the Digital Inclusion Committee.
This meeting was held: March 13, 2017; 6:00-8:00 p.m., Seattle Municipal Tower, 700 Fifth Avenue, Suite 2750
Podcasts available at: http://www.seattle.gov/Documents/Departments/CTTAB/podcast/cttab.xml
Board Members: Jose Vasquez, Amy Hirotaka, Heather Lewis, Karia Wong, Eliab Sisay
Public: Dorene Cornwell, Dan Moulton, Lloyd Douglas, Meredith Hitchcock, Christopher Sheats, Christian Severt, Joanne Hovis (CTC), Kate Schneier (YMCA), Jennifer Molina (Latino Community Fund)
Staff: Michael Mattmiller, Jim Loter, Chance Hunt, Virginia Gleason, David Keyes, David Doyle, Derrick Hall, Cass Magnuski
22 In Attendance
Meeting was called to order by Jose Vasquez.
Jose Vasquez: Welcome, everybody, to March’s CTAB meeting. We have a quorum. Thank you, everybody for being here. We’re about to get started. If you haven’t had a chance, please sign in. We have a sign in sheet up here. And if you haven’t gotten a copy of the agenda, it’s being passed around. We’ll start with introductions.
Jose Vasquez: Welcome! Did everybody get a chance to read the minutes and the agenda? If so, do we have a motion to approve the minutes from last meeting? Are there any updates that are needed?
Jose Vasquez: The agenda is being updated. We have some changes. This is the official, final, agenda. Do we have a motion to approve the agenda?
Jose Vasquez: First, we’ll start with Michael Mattmiller, City CTO.
CTO REPORT FROM MICHAEL MATTMILLER
Michael Mattmiller: Good evening, everyone. And as always, thank you for being here and helping to make the City a better place for technology. I am just off the plane this morning coming back from South by Southwest, where I spent the last three days having an opportunity to meet with other government officials who were attending the interactive conference for the government tract. I also had the opportunity to spend yesterday meeting with colleagues from across the U.K., talking about various parts of these initiatives that our cities are working on. Some of the common themes that I think are very helpful to us here in Seattle. Number one, it’s about partnerships: community and academic institutions, to improve our communities through these technologies. Something that I thought was on point–prime for me and perhaps a differentiator–is that when we do think about cities and new technologies, here in Seattle we do strongly care about what our community thinks and wants. And we do that through CTAB, through CTAB Privacy, and the Seattle Privacy Coalition. But it’s not just about cool tech for the sake of tech. We need technology solutions that help our government operate more efficiently and solve community challenges. So that was an eye-opening experience. I’ve also now shared with Chance Hunt and Jim Loter a really fun interaction that I had yesterday when the persons responsible for planning for Arlington County, VA came up to me and said, “Hey! You’re from Seattle. Seattle was the first City in the nation to have a digital equity plan. How is that going?”
And while I corrected her–I don’t think we were quite the first City in the nation, to have that reputation is number one, impressive, but number two, it’s in no small part because of the leadership of CTAB, and your interest in this area. So that was my fun weekend.
Other things going on: I hope folks in CTAB noticed about two weeks ago Verizon put out a press release making Seattle one of their 11 pilot 5G communities. What does that mean? That means that Verizon, like all the wireless carriers, are looking forward to what comes after 4G and LTE. And notionally, there is this vague set of technologies called 5G. That’s both a collection of in some cases LTE advanced, how we get more through put, based on some tweaks to the LTE standard and some new technologies that will roll out on our next generation of cell phone. But also how we begin leveraging things like millimeter wave technology and higher bands of spectrum to provide fixed point home broadband access that can support gigabit speeds. It’s very exciting. It means that Verizon is already thinking about how they can challenge our incumbent providers and markets become in some cases, the third; in some cases the fourth competitive broadband option that you will have in your homes. We’re still meeting with Verizon on a very regular basis to work out the details of what that pilot means. And what that might look like to you and when it might happen. but we are thrilled that Verizon has considered us for that roll out. So the stakes are there and I’ll work to get you more information.
In the life cycle of Seattle IT, we also have our first big event, our first all hands staff meeting next Thursday, where we will get 650 of our staff together at Town Hall to talk about where the department is going and what we’re doing today. I know you’ve heard from me as we’ve gone through this consolidation effort, and I’m so pleased that we are at a point now where we can bring our staff together to assess how things are going.
We’re also very honored that at that staff meeting, we will also have Marina Martin as our keynote speaker. And of course, CTAB knows Marina very well as a former CTAB member, as the former chief technology officer of the U.S. Department of Veteran Affairs. She is now back in Seattle. So, we’re thrilled for Marina’s thoughtful insights that she will share with us.
I’ve probably come close to my five minutes already, and I do want to leave time for questions. So, back to you, Jose.
Jose Vasquez: I have one question to start this off. As you’re starting to engage in conversation with Verizon, has a conversation come up about their willingness to provide some investments or partnerships with the City to address digital equity?
Michael Mattmiller: It’s a great question, and I forget whether I shared it with this group, but last October I had the opportunity to testify to the FCC about the upcoming 5G revolution and what cities we’re thinking about. And the first thought I had was that today we have this tremendous tool in our Cable Franchise authority under Title VI of the FCC Act to recover some fees or share in the fees earned by cable companies. And today, in the City, we use that for our digital equity programs: Tech Matching Fund and the other things that we are passionate about. We know that Verizon coming into our market for fixed point broadband will offer a tremendous new competitive option, and when we see a competitive option in the market, we all benefit. It lowers prices. It’s puts pressure to improve service. And that will help drive down costs for everyone. But if we do that at the expense of the cable sub-fun here in the City, we will see cuts in the digital equity programs we still need. I spoke with Verizon about this. They’re thinking about it. They are trying to think about what they could do help smooth that burden. And while it may not look the same as we get from companies in terms of straight up dollars, they do see that there is some opportunity to see that they do provide. I don’t have a perfect answer yet, but we are keeping that conversation going.
Jose Vasquez: Thank you. We have time for one more question. Is there a pressing question out there?
Dan Moulton: I have a suggestion on Verizon [unintelligible]….
Michael Mattmiller: I hope to see all of you tomorrow night at the Town Hall for the MIT Enterprise Forum.
Virginia Gleason: Michael is a panelist.
Jose Vasquez: Next up, we have SPD Ridealong App and Code for America.
SPD RIDEALONG APP AND CODE FOR AMERICA
Meredith Hitchcock: Thank you for having me. I’m the Seattle founder of Ridealong. And I want to tell you a little bit more about what we’ve been working on with the City of Seattle, in particular, the Seattle Police Department. Better response options for first responders mean better options for people. I’ll tell you a little bit more about what I mean by that.
We’re a three-woman team. Kathryn and I were working on the issue for a year. Originally it was a Code for America, which I will touch on in a bit in more detail. We consulted with subject matter experts at the White House. And out other team mate, Georgia, worked on enterprise software for our project.
People with mental health issues get caught in the criminal justice system, and the cycle is unsafe, costly, and inhumane. If we look at the synergy part, the first is that 25 percent of the people who are killed during a police interaction have a known mental health issue. Last year, that was 241 people. The second one is that jails and prisons are the nation’s biggest mental health care providers, but they are poorly equipped to work with these individuals. On a nation-wide level, it costs us between $20 billion a year. That includes police time, jail costs, wrongful death and injury losses and ER visits. And we focus on police in particular because they sit at the top of the funnel. Where we have [unintelligible], is being able to prevent people from entering the system, which is where is starts to build up to become multi-billions of dollars.
What we know is that the problem is at the City scale. Nation-wide, they had a study that seven percent of police calls probably involve someone with a mental health issue. So in the City of Seattle, there were about 10,000 crisis calls last year.
What we do is build software to give first responders better information so they can divert people away from the criminal justice system. We started working on this with the City of Seattle last year. We piloted the app with the Seattle Police Department. We originally were Code for America Fellows. For those of you not aware of Code for America, the structure is civic technology nonprofit that partners with local governance. People apply for the fellowship, like me, and cities apply for the fellowship on behalf of the police departments.
They came to us with the general issue that they had tailored information for people with frequent mental health crises but didn’t have a great way to share that information. We came in, did research, and we piloted with a small group of officers last summer. The goal was to launch, patrol-wide, based on the positive outcomes we saw.
In terms of approach, we had researched with ten percent of Seattle’s patrol officers. That included command in February, going on ride-alongs, understanding their context talking to case managers, talking to civil rights groups, talking to the National Alliance on Mental Illness, and trying to understand the entire space.
And then, we built on one or two-week cycles. I was a designer on the team. My days varied according to whether it was a police officer day or a fire fighter day. For me, for example, I thought a single search box is going to be great for them to look up a person and get their information. We tested it in an early design and actually found out what was wanted was really structured forms. Without that testing, we wouldn’t have known that we were going about it incorrectly. So we started small, designed it, figured out what we got right and what we got wrong, and then built it out. So, we we build incrementally towards something that works well for the people who have to use it.
So our estimate is that once Ridealong launches patrol-wide, it will save the City of Seattle and King County about $12 million a year. And that’s in reduced police time, which frees police officers to be able to respond to other calls, reduced jail and hospital visits, ER visits involving a police officer taking someone to the hospital at about $2,000 per interaction. So someone who has 40 ER visits involving police in a year comes to $100,000. We focused on about 100 individuals who met those criteria. Also, we avoid those wrongful death lawsuits and injury lawsuits that come up for people who are injured during those interactions.
How do we do that? To give you a picture of an officer’s flow, they are assigned a Ridealong, they are assigned a crisis call. As part of their regular work flow when they’re on a a call, they’ll look at a name and address. When they do that a link to the person’ profile comes up. They tap on that. It’s on their patrol car computer. And then when they arrive at the scene, they’ve already had information on how to interact with the person. Then they can use that to safely interact and also identify whether the person has a case manager, where to fill out a report, and where is a good place to send them. Maybe having a case manager come is a good way to deescalate the situation. Maybe they need to go to the hospital. Whatever works right for that person.
We collect quantitative information. Seattle Police Department is already collecting this data. At the end of every crisis call, the officers fill out a series of check boxes. It takes about a minute. And it just records what they observed. Any use of force, and then the outcome of the call. Did they call a case manager? Did they arrest the person? That kind of thing.
The collection of quantitative information: The Crisis Response Unit is a group of four officers, including two sergeants and a lieutenant that we’re putting together. Of the 10,000 calls, 300 of them required follow up because the person was in frequent crisis, or having really severe crises. Then they wrote a plan for 40 people where it seemed that patrol should have a physical response. The only thing they shared before they arrived is to blast the .PDFs by email to the entire patrol force. so, if an officer wanted to pull this information up on the way to a call they would only have to search for it in their email while they’re driving a car, which realistically will not happen.
So what we did was we built a responsive web app that combines that quantitative and qualitative data to create a wholistic picture of the person that they can access directly by linking to the 911. So now it’s part of the regular protocol.
Here is information that we’re pulling out of the check boxes. Before, officers didn’t see the relevance of that data. Now, the information is coming back to them and they do understand that, based on what other officers are seeing, here’s something that I can expect. Before having Ridealong they would have a general warning, something like Caution: Mental. That was really limited information for them, I think. Now they know what to expect.
I’ll show you briefly what a simple profile looks like. This is altered, obviously. The officers post the information so the other officers know what to expect. This is helpful because right now someone might post: Caution: Weapon, but that could be someone who just had a knife on them 20 years ago. So, it’s not actually helpful in context. So giving them more information is helpful. Trigger information: For example, some people don’t respond well to female officers or male officers. So, if you’re a female officer who is assigned to a call, you know immediately that they should dispatch someone else. So you don’t inadvertently escalate the situation just by showing up.
Next slide is Desperation Technique. Understanding what will help calm the person down. Veteran status, for example, might be a really good way of building a rapport.
Here, we have a response plan. Now it’s really structured. They understand at a high level what the specific things are that they should try when they’re working with a person. Down here, we have contact information. So if it says, contact case manager, now there’s a case manager’s phone number and email address, so they can actually get in touch with them. It shows the services they are already engaged in. Family members as well. That’s more helpful for a lot of people having a family member show up, it helps them resolve the problem.
Here it says, Notify CRT, which is the Crisis Response Team. A lot of individual officers have knowledge, just based upon frequent interactions they are having with people, most often downtown, but that information is missing. So, now they have a way to share that information with the Crisis Response Team. so they can talk with the case manager about that information and build a better base and offer system-wide knowledge.
Next, we have more details about what happened on the most recent interaction. What was happening on the recent call? There’s better context to understand what’s been happening in the past few days and the past few weeks. Does it seem like they need some intervention?
As I mentioned, the flow is that when an officer is searching for a neighbor’s address, which they do already on the way to a call, a light comes up and alerts them to open what I was just showing you. So it integrates with their work flow. And we know that it works.
We tested with a group of 15 officers for a few weeks last summer. We built up the early prototype, and on every call where the app was relevant, they used it and accessed all the information there, even with people they had already seen before. So they were able to divert people from jail, connect with the case manager, and resolve the calls.
One of the things that we heard directly from the officers on how well it was working at the West Precinct, which covers the downtown area. At a roll call at the end of the presentation one of our field test officers stood up and told the entire squad how the app had been critical in the analog of frequent callers while they were in crisis. The officers who had been working with this feel really strongly about its potential to help them do their jobs better.
We’ve also had national interest, so I have been talking to other cities about this project. There are 10 other major cities and five counties, so far, that are interested in piloting this app. Seattle is seen as kind of a leader in this area in thinking about how technology can support diversion, and it’s recognized as a national issue to the degree that other people want to try to do the same thing.
In the current term, we are using tailored information and also enabled data collection. In the longer term, what we hope is that it will also be something that’s available to other first responders. So, right now one of the issues is that Fire might see someone four times in the morning, then Police see them in the afternoon and arrest them, but they don’t know that Fire saw them. So, how can we enable that communication? It’ doesn’t get to that point. The other thing is to expand and cover other vulnerable populations, including people with substance abuse issues and the homeless population.
Basically, the idea is to have it be in the longer term, a single portal for first responders. After the pilot here in Seattle, having it promote diversion, save the City and county money. and also, most importantly, get people connected to the care that they need, so they stop seeing the police frequently and get connected to what they need, which is help, housing and social services.
So we’re hoping that this makes Seattle and other cities smarter by giving this to first responders, create safer interactions with vulnerable populations, and also offer more information about the work that the City is already doing. And now I assume you have several questions.
Karia Wong: I call 911 almost three times a week. I work in the International District, so there is a lot of activity down there. So, my question is, number one, how do you collect the information? Do you set up a file?
Meredith Hitchcock: Right now, the way that it works, is when we arrived, Seattle Police Department was entering it basically manually. By looking in a spread sheet based on a template, we really started to see a lot in the past year. They had ‘x’ number of calls, like 10 calls, in the past year. Then they do a follow up. So they will visit the person, talk to their case manager, read all of the previous police reports on that person, and then they can assess whether or not they need to have a more detailed plan for how to work with them. And what we do now is we have all that information. What we’re also doing is based on the number of templates that have been filled out about someone, if they have seven or more crisis calls in a year, it creates a profile based on that information that determines the behaviors and the timeline of recent history. And that’s something that the Crisis Response Team can look at to get a better picture of what they need through the extra layer of manual information. It leads to better intervention with the case managers.
Karia Wong: The other thing is that I have these feelings whenever I encounter these situations is I wonder if it’s the best thing to call 911. Is it in the best interest of the person for that person’s safety and the people around them. Is it better to take the person to the hospital where they can get medical attention? Based on what you have said, that means when we call 911, they will assess the situation and they will contact the case manager, and then what is going to happen next?
Meredith Hitchcock: It’s still a good thing to do if someone is having a crisis. What happens in more detail, is the police will take someone to the hospital, and in that case, the hospital will make an assessment on whether or not they think the person is in imminent danger to himself or others. If they are, then they’re held for 72 hours for a more detailed assessment. But if they’re not, then they’re just released back onto the streets. These are the kind of cases that we’re trying to get to a little bit more, where people aren’t an immediate danger to themselves or others, but they’re still having a behavioral crisis, and they need to be connected to services. So, I’d say, yes, you should be erring on the side of having them take them to the hospital to make that assessment. But part of what we’re trying to work on are the emergent levels.
Karia Wong: Who is going to do the assessment of whether the person needs to go to the hospital or to connect them to other services?
Meredith Hitchcock: When the Seattle Police Department receives a crisis intervention training, which is a 4-hour training, they learn how to identify what is a behavior attached to different types of crisis. Part of it is with health care professionals, and that’s part of what we’re trying to address. So being able to give them more information so they know who to connect to. If there is someone who is really clearly having a crisis, then probably they will end up with the hospital. But i it’s something that’s a little bit less serious, and it seems like what they need is to have someone talk to them, and calm them down a little bit, and then understand that there’s nothing emergent is happening here, the solution right now would basically be that if they don’t quality to be taken to the hospital, to just leave them there, honestly. Which is frustrating for officers. So instead of that, being able to connect with a case manager, or to be connected to a homeless shelter and get them a bed for the night. Giving them more information to understand what services they’re already connected to seems appropriate.
Karia Wong: So, we should actually call when ….
Meredith Hitchcock: Yes. It’s like any other training. In how they’re making assessments on who should go to the hospital. So a lot of the conversation would be something along the lines of–and I’m paraphrasing here–“Are you feeling suicidal? Do you have a plan?” And if someone doesn’t have a plan [unintelligible]. So this wouldn’t change that, it would just change in the last critical situation, giving them better options.
Dan Moulton: [unintelligible] Diverting them from going into a jail, the options on diverting are [unintelligible].
Meredith Hitchcock: At this stage, the options are take them to the hospital, call a case manager, call the local crisis team and have them come. take them to one of the shelters. That’s a few options in Seattle aside from jails.
Dan Moulton: Would it be a case manager inside the City of Seattle? Is this a partnership with other agencies?
Meredith Hitchcock: Right now, this is Seattle Police Department. Seattle PD also has embedded mental health care professionals.
Dan Moulton: So, all data is from the Seattle Police Department. So we can talk later about other options. My interest in the next week and a half is the state of health care. In the last two years of the Obama administration [unintelligible]….
Jose Vasquez: There will be an opportunity to follow up, if you don’t mind staying for the networking break?
Meredith Hitchcock: Sure! Absolutely.
Dan Moulton: That’s what I’m trying to say. I could talk to you offline.
Jose Vasquez: Are there any other questions before we move on?
Heather Lewis: Meredith, thank you so much for coming and sharing the work that you’re doing. Is there an opportunity for anybody here today to learn more about what you do? Will there be other opportunities going forward?
Meredith Hitchcock: I pitched the app over the weekend, so you can watch the video of that. But I’m also happy to continue the conversation. My email address is email@example.com . I would be happy to connect with anyone, have a phone call and chat in more detail. We’re also in the process of setting up a newsletter, so if you reach out to me, I would be happy to put you on that list as well. You would find out about other times we’ll be talking about the work that we’re doing, keep updated about anything like that.
Jose Vasquez: Coming up next we have Public WIFI, and I understand it’s two separate presentations. We’ll start with Jim Loter.
PUBLIC WIFI PRESENTATION
Jim Loter: I’m Jim Loter. I’m the Digital Engagement Director for Seattle IT. And with me is….
Joanne Hovis: I’m Joanne Hovis from CTC Technology and Energy, a consultant to Seattle IT.
Jim Loter: Thank you. Back in 2015, Seattle IT was asked by the City Council to explore options for providing public WIFI in key areas of the City as a way to address our digital equity and digital inclusion gap. In 2016, we enlisted Joanne and her firm, CTC, to help us with this project. Just as a reminder, and I think this has been presented to this group before, the City’s broadband strategy, which was developed in 2015, focuses on three approaches. First, the City should reduce regulatory barriers to increase competition in the City for providing a portable internet broadband access. Second, we should explore public/private partnerships, opportunities with commercial providers to improve internet access in the City. Third, we should explore the option of providing municipal broadband as a utility service. It was Joanne’s firm that essentially accomplished this third bullet point for us in 2015 by releasing a report that demonstrated that providing broadband as a utility was not financially viable in Seattle.
Why do this in the context of digital equity or digital engagement? We’re also responsible for the City’s digital equity strategy, which is composed of three parts. Connectivity, which is ensuring sufficient options for affordable and available internet connectivity to all. And skills training: training in digital literacy and technology skills. And devices and support: Ensuring that people have portable, available, and access to devices and technical support that they need.
Where this comes together is on the stool leg of digital equity around connectivity, as well as the public/private partnerships. P3? Is that an acceptable abbreviation? P3 approach that our broadband strategy recommends.
The public WIFI report that CTC prepared for us outlines a strategic approach for deploying WIFI and other wireless technologies in Seattle to address our digital equity and digital inclusion needs, by obviously filling in the broadband gaps that we have in our community, but doing so through a financially sustainable business model. When CTC and the City began working on this project back in May or June of last year, we jointly approached the problem through a number of means. CTC researched lessons learned and best practices worldwide, including state of the art WIFI and wireless technologies. We met with City departments, King County agencies, and our friends up at the University of Washington to identify current programs, future plans, potential areas for collaboration. We did outreach to private sector entities, wireless carriers and internet service providers. Finally, CTC prepared for us a request for information that we then sent out to — I think the final list was about 50 — different companies. It was publicly noticed on the City’s web site, and so we got a lot of attention about that. That was an attempt to gather information and insight about what the private sector has to offer to contribute to the City’s plans. I should stress at this point that this entire endeavor is an information gathering exercise and that the City at this point is not committed to pursuing any of these proposals that came through the RFI. It was a request for information. It was not a request for proposal. So we didn’t receive formal proposals from any firms at this time to actually provide service. We’re going to take the information. We’re going to work with stakeholders within the City. We’re going to conduct some community outreach events to decide what actually makes sense for us to pursue going forward.
For the purposes of this information gathering exercise, we provided the RFI respondents with a number of areas that our digital equity action plan prioritized as areas for study. We also worked with our colleagues in the Seattle Parks and Recreation Department to identify parks that have a significant interest in providing connectivity for their constituents. Our goal was to create an array of possible options in Seattle that represented the diversity of geographic areas in the City. As we all know, geography plays a key part in how wireless technology can be deployed. As well as economic and community diversity. The digital inclusion areas represent commercial districts. They represent residential districts. They represent public housing campuses. And the parks represent small small parks, large parks like Discovery Park, and parks that have a mixture of both private and public use, like Magnuson Park. So there are a lot of organizations that come to Magnuson Park to conduct commercial or other enterprises at the park that need to rely on WIFI connectivity.
Our goal was to provide a hypothetical array of great use cases for the RFI respondents to analyze and respond to.
The WIFI report outlines a conceptual design. So, taking the digital inclusion areas and the parks that we provided, we asked CTC to tell us what it would take for the City or a partner of ours to blanket these areas with WIFI service. And they came back to us with a technical analysis of these areas. To cover the digital inclusion areas that we outlined, we would have to deploy over 330 wireless access points. Parks would require another 121 wireless access points. Some number of those wireless access points would need to be connected to fibre. They would obviously be connected to power, and we as a City would need to analyze the costs, feasibility, the utility work, the permitting work in order to make this a reality. All of that is outlined in the report.
Broadly, CTC laid out a number of recommendations. We could develop partnerships with wireless carriers who seeks to access public property for infrastructure deployment. As you all know, probably, the transition from current 4G wireless technology or cellular technology to 5G is resulting in an increased densification of technology in the right of way. Wireless companies–Verizon, AT&T, Sprint, T-Mobile, etc., are looking to get into the City to attach, in some cases, thousands of devices to utility poles and other assets that the City owns. The City has, therefore, valuable real estate that we can leverage for services that we want. We could look at creating some sort of a sponsorship program, modeled on something like the Adopt a Highway program, where we identify high priority areas in the City, and we seek private company sponsorship to pay for the WIFI services in those areas. We could, as a way of facilitating or leveraging private WIFI networks, create a layer of single sign-on or or shared authentication, so that if you are connected to Google Wireless that is provided at Starbucks, and you go across the street to yet another coffee shop to get a different type of coffee, you could then roam onto a differently owned private network without needing to reconnect and reauthenticate on that network. That’s another possibility.
We could negotiate wireless digital inclusion products, similar to Comcast Internet Essentials, or Century Link Internet Basics for WIFI services. We own a bunch of fibre in the City. We could leverage that. We could pursue various opportunities to expand that fibre and lease that out or leverage that for wireless service providers. We could evaluate City public projects that involve street repair or digging or building public projects to include communications enabling infrastructure. And finally, there are some interesting opportunities that the Community Reinvestment Act makes available if we partner with financial institutions. Historically, the CRA has been focused on financial literacy programs, but there are some interesting interpretations of that act that indicate that it could be made available for digital literacy and broadband infrastructure projects.
The report also outlines technical trends. As I mentioned before, there is a trend toward densification. Instead of having cellular towers pop up in a couple of dozen places in the City, we’re now looking at cellular providers looking to put thousands of pieces of equipment in the City to support the upcoming 5G service. We’re also looking at carriers offloading their cellular traffic on very expensive spectrum to WIFI in order to make room for growth. Millimeter wave technology–this is best exemplified by a company called Web Pass, which was recently acquired by a small internet search provider company called Google that had been coming into markets and offering to build out fibre infrastructure, finding that even for a company like Google, that is a hard and expensive proposition. Their acquisition of Web Pass is an indication that they may be actually backing away from fibre as a business model, and investing instead, in wireless technology that gets them gigabit speeds from point to point.
Finally, the Request for Information that CTC developed for us and that we released, we solicited 23 responses. Again, this is a Request For Information, not for proposals, so we’re still in this information gathering phase. We received these responses. There is not a single response that came back that would solve the problem in Seattle for everybody, but there are a number of responses that I think we should pay attention to. Some of the respondents have existing fibre plant near the City’s priority areas. They’re very anxious to work with us. There is a great deal of interest, obviously, in accessing our real estate and our property for siting access points, as well as expediting the permitting process for people who want to build out infrastructure. And there are a number of proposals that include generating revenue from either advertising or data sharing, which of course, we would need to evaluate in the context of the City’s commitment to protecting the privacy of our citizens.
That is a very quick overview of what Joanne’s firm was able to produce for us, and Joanne was kind enough to join us from Washington, D.C., fighting the imminent winter storm Stella, that almost prohibited her from coming here today. So, we open the floor to any questions that you might have.
Christopher Sheats: I definitely want to avoid what happened in New York. Google and a couple of other well known organizations that make money by selling advertising data [unintelligible]… their infrastructure was city-wide. The WIFI reaches into peoples’ homes and businesses. Therefore, those companies can track the people. Over the past week, the ACLU decided that this was going to be used for surveillance. So, what kind of mandates will you have to progressively affect privacy by either not collecting data or preventing those providers from selling their data?
Christopher Sheats: But those policies don’t affect third party providers.
Jim Loter: Well it does, and I think you’re bringing up a grey area of interpretation around the surveillance ordinance. As we’ve evaluated proposals from vendors that are coming in to propose services, we have treated that as, even if we are inviting you to come in, and you are proposing a new revenue model where the City is not actually paying you, there is still a value to the access to the right of way that the City is providing. So that still makes it a City purchase or a City acquisition, which does subject us to the surveillance ordinance, and subjects the service to the surveillance ordinance. We’ve actually encountered that at least on one other occasion, where the service provider who was coming in was surprised by that interpretation, but it’s definitely an interpretation that we support in the City. Even if you are not paying us, or if we’re not paying you, for bringing the service in, if we are either giving you or transacting some sort of exchange of value with the City’s right of way, it’s still subject to the ordinance.
We can have more questions but I have to run out for a minute. And I’ll be right back. So excuse me for one second.
Karia Wong: I just have two questions. Number one is was any assessment done on how those wireless devices can hurt the people in general. Can the public WIFI somehow be able to serve in emergency resources. In the case of a natural disaster or any emergency, if peoples’ phones do not work, will they be able to tap into any WIFI available so that they will be able to connect to other people?
Joanne Hovis: Those are really good questions. On the first one, it was not part of our scope of work to look at the health impacts. It just wasn’t what we were asked to do. I would direct that question toward Jim Loter, because I don’t know what the City has done in that regard. On the second question, the answer is yes. In the event that commercial cellular networks don’t work, then WIFI is without question a backup. That’s stuff that might come out of this initiative for existing WIFI as well, because it follows different pathways. It uses different infrastructure than the commercial networks. Some may overlap, but other parts won’t. I would not want to depend on our WIFI as an emergency network that would be reliable at the level of — here, we’re talking about free public WIFI–it’s not carrier rate services but it’s always a fall back. What we’re talking about here is WIFI in low income neighborhoods where it would not otherwise be available. There may not be the same density of coffee shops, for example. I know where I live that is the case. so, that fall back infrastructure would not be available. Jim, I was just answering a question about whether WIFI would be available for emergency communications in the event that the cellular networks went down. The first questions, which I was not able to answer, was to define the health effects.
Jim Loter: On the health impacts, that actually just cropped up recently. There was a study that was done at the Washington State level regarding WIFI deployment in public schools that concluded that based on research that they consulted for the purposes of the report that there were no public health issues that demanded action or attention from the state. We are looking into that before and into the studies that consulted for, and I actually have an inquiry out to the individual who was a primary contributor to that report to learn more about that. But we definitely do understand that there are public health questions and concerns about WIFI deployment, about effects of WIFI technology on public health. We just want to make sure that we have a good source of research to refer to that.
Chance Hunt: It was the State Department of Health, and they looked at a broad range of data on scientific research since 2000. This report was drafted in 2014. It was a summary of national and international reporting on the issue. And their conclusion was just as you described.
Jose Vasquez: So that is all the time we have. Thank you for the report.
Jim Loter: There is a lot going on and I can certainly come back in a month. And I’ll share, once the report which just needs to be reviewed by some of our stakeholders. I’ll share it widely, and then next month we can actually take some more specific questions that people have about the report itself and our responses.
Heather Lewis: Can we get a copy of your [unintelligible]?
Jim Loter: Yes, of course.
Dan Moulton: This is specifically what the innovation team during Hurricane Sandy did, and ….
Jose Vasquez: Dan, can we leave that for public comment? Derrick, how much time do you need?
Derrick Hall: I would need about five minutes, but I can wait until after the break.
Jose Vasquez: Let’s go on break real quick, and if you have individual questions, if people want to stick around, you can ask them during the break.
Jose Vasquez: Right off the bat, we’ll get started with public comment. So, if anybody has any public announcement they would like to make to the group?
PUBLIC COMMENT AND ANNOUNCEMENTS
Kate Schneier: I’ve got two big announcements. one is the Get Engaged, the program that Eliab Sisay is part of. It’s a program that puts 18 to 29 year-olds on City boards and commissions. We’re in our recruitment phase again for next year, believe it or not. If you know anybody who is 18 to 29, or you are 18 to 29 and you’re interested in becoming a person on a City board or commission, there are 19 different boards and commissions. The web site where you can check out the availability is getengagedseattle.org . It’s a cooperative program between the YMCA of Greater Seattle and the City of Seattle. All the information will be on the web site.
The second announcement I have is that I’m looking for a few tech professionals for an event that I’m doing with Y-Tech. It’s for middle school and high school aged students. We’re having a tech career day after school program March 28. It’s from 4:00 to 5:30 and we’re going to do a a scheme networking model, so we’ll have some youth there and professionals and they will be able to talk with each other about what it’s like to work in the tech field, and what different job possibilities can be, how you got your job, what is cool about it. And then we’re going to do a job shadowing event during their spring break on April 11. We’re also looking for some companies to host. We have some already but we need more. If you are interested, come and talk to me about it and . I will write my email on the board, too.
Jose Vasquez: Thank you. David Keyes, did you want to mention [unintelligible]….
David Keyes: Yes. I passed around, circulated to the outside. One of the things that happened recently is that the FCC put a halt on the expansion of who can provide Lifeline broadband. They started rolling out the availability of the low income discount of the Lifeline program to enable you to use that $10 a month subsidy for internet as well as phone. There were some new providers under what was passed last year, where people could register and become broadband providers. So, for instance, an organization or company could provide that to schools and do a lower rate for schools. Or somebody could aggregate and come into a public housing project and aggregate the Lifeline costs to be able to provide, get that subsidy and provide that to a low income housing project. And the FCC put a halt on allowing some of those three or four broadband providers that they had already approved. so, there’s a letter from the Leadership Conference on Civil Rights. The FCC opened up a comment period on this, a very , very short commentary period. And so a number of folks are commenting on it. The Leadership Conference on Civil Rights is putting in a letter. The comments are due on Thursday, so they’re asking people as a way to just get a quick set of comments. You can either submit comments directly or you can just sign onto their letter as a Google form. I sent out to CTAB the link and background that we got through the Benton Foundation and National Digital Inclusion Alliance. The letter is in front of you. I’m happy to answer questions about it but it’s the joint letter to the FCC, asking them to move ahead and enable these broadband providers. The impact on Seattle is if these Lifeline broadband providers are not authorized, then it lowers competition and availability for low income residents potentially.
Jose Vasquez: Thank you, David. So in order to officially sign on, there needs to be a public vote. We’re going to read it aloud right now, then open it up for any questions or brief discussions. And if we decide to sign on, because it’s Thursday, right..?
David Keyes: Yes. The Leadership Conference would like to get sign-ons by the end of the day tomorrow so they can submit to the FCC.
Heather Lewis: The title is: Regarding Comment on Request for Reconsideration Concerning Lifeline Broadband Providers.
Dear Chairman Pai,
On behalf of the Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights, a coalition charged by its diverse membership of more than 200 national organizations to promote and protect the rights of all persons in the United States and the undersigned supporters of the Lifeline program, w appreciate the opportunity to submit comments in response to the Request for Reconsideration Concerning Lifeline Broadband Providers. the civil rights and public interest communities are committed to ensuring that all members of society are connected to modern, advanced communications networks and services, and believe the Lifeline program fills an important role in a comprehensive strategy for bridging the digital divide as it lowers a major barrier to access due to cost. The Wireline Competition Bureau Lifeline Broadband Provider (LBP) revocation order delays an array of innovative and high quality Lifeline broadband offerings and has a chilling effect on other potential Lifeline broadband entrants. The new LBP designation process is critical for increasing competition and facilitating competition and innovation in the Lifeline broadband program, and we urge the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) to resume the designation process immediately.
The FCC developed the LBP designation process because commercial broadband providers maintained the current state-by-state process was a barrier for their Lifeline participation. We support widespread commercial participation to create a highly competitive Lifeline broadband marketplace. The LBP designation process is thoughtful, balanced, and limited, and the current state-by-state process is still operational for companies that offer voice and broadband products.
The companies whose LBP designations were revoked proposed innovative business models providing low cost high quality service for low-income people–exactly the outcome anticipated as a part of the Lifeline modernization. For example, included in the nine LBP revocations is a Minority Business Enterprise that offers 300 mbps download and 150 mbps upload, as well as unlimited WIFI data with no out-of-pocket charges, caps or overage charges to the Lifeline-eligible residents of low-income, senior and mixed-housing developed and managed by a non-profit community developer in Chicago. This LBP is coordinating it’s Lifeline broadband with digital literacy training and includes no-charge WIFI enabled devices. Another impacted LBP had partnered with a public housing authority in New York to provide residents with a fixed wireless broadband offering with speeds of 20 mbps down and 20 mbps up and no data caps. A third impacted LBP has designed a Lifeline broadband offering to target the homework gap with 4G LTE hotspots with up to six GB per month. The Commission’s action summarily dismissed these proposals as well as those for mobile wireless providers that offer services to low-income partners looking for work, scheduling interview, or picking up extra shifts.
We urge the Commission to act quickly on this matter as uncertainty regarding the process for broadband providers to participate in the Lifeline program delays access to affordable broadband to low-income households. If you have any questions about these comments, please contact Leadership
Conference Media/Telecommunications Task Force Co-Chairs Cheryl Leanza, United Church of Christ, Office of Communication, Inc., at 202-904-2168 or firstname.lastname@example.org, or Michael Macleod-Ball, American Civil Liberties Union, at 202-675-2309 or email@example.com or Corrine Yu, Leadership Conference Managing Policy Director at 202-466-5670 or firstname.lastname@example.org if you would like to discuss the above issues.
Does anyone have a comment or thoughts you would like to share?
Christopher Sheats: I probably don’t need to remind this group but it’s very critical that we support the broadband community. I’m hoping that we not only support this but that Seattle has a back up plan for when the Trump administration [unintelligible]….
Jose Vasquez: Thank you, Chris.
Lloyd Douglas: I have more of a procedural question. We’re signing on to the letter and not sending one under separate cover?
Jose Vasquez: Right. Originally, we had the intention of having this discussion in the Broadband Committee, and then bring it up to the board. But that kind of conversation takes up a lot of time. the timeliness of this–this came today–so we were deciding whether we want to sign on to this. The question of whether we want to do our own independent statement and ask the Mayor’s Office or city Council to come up with their own statement, which is an option available to discuss….
Karia Wong: There are some providers that are already approved but they cannot proceed. That’s why this letter is urging the FCC to make a decision so that there will be more providers. I think that’s different from what we have experienced with the issues that we have with Century Link.
Eliab Sisay: So this is to allow the nine broadband providers that the FCC had originally approved to provide broadband.
David Keyes: And I think it also sends a message message, and part of the intent, too, is to continue to move forward with the Lifeline broadband program.
Karia Wong: I have questions with the pricing of the broadband plan. Even though the $10 is not helping a lot, when you compare the price for broadband and also a phone line, a phone line is at most $35, but in general, broadband costs from $50 to $100. That $10 is still not really helping, especially with the prices going up a lot. I think there is no cap for how much people will be charged. That’s the issue.
Jose Vasquez: Maybe we can discuss this a little later on whether we at CTAB should create our own official statement. The question now on the table is do we want to sign on to this thing. We have one last comment back there.
Dorene Cornwell: It seems like a good idea to sign onto it. What is interesting here is these are interesting efforts, and we don’t know what the value of broadband is going to be in five or ten years. going forward seems important and I’m having this knee-jerk reaction. Did the fact that they just suspended this because ‘everything to do with Obama is a bad idea,’ or is there some deeply held ideology that they’re trying to uphold?
Dan Moulton: They’re cutting competition.
Dorene Cornwell: Oh! Of course. How could I forget that monopolies are making it easier for those who already have enough.
Dan Moulton: With fewer people involved, there is less power for CTAB to pressure the ones that we already have to supply their services. You only have to Thursday to comment, so writing our own is going to be extraordinarily complex unless you want to do an all-nighter.
David Keyes: Just one other clarification on procedure. The initial comments are due on Thursday, so it’s simpler to sign on to a letter. If there is also an opportunity to reply to comments, which is by March 23, so not a lot of time for that piece either. If there was something subsequent to give more detail, you could do that through submitting the letter and reply to comments.
Jose Vasquez: I guess, based on the timelines, the most feasible thing is to sign on to this letter.
Amy Hirotaka: We did the comments for expanding the Lifeline program to include broadband. That took a long time. And I know that I’m not going to be able to get anything done by deadline. So I would move that we sign this letter, and then discuss whether or not we want to comment further by the 23rd.
Jose Vasquez: So, there’s a motion?
Eliab Sisay: Second.
Jose Vasquez: All in favor? Opposed? It’s official. We are signing on to this letter. How would that work? Do you want me to ….
David Keyes: Yes, I think it makes sense for you as chair, it would probably make sense for you to do it. It’s in the emails, just this basic organizational name and your title. That’s it.
[Final letter submitted to FCC with CTAB sign-on:
Jose Vasquez: Thank you, everybody. Now we’re going to shift some times around, but David, you’re next with the Digital Equity plan update.
DIGITAL EQUITY UPDATE
David Keyes: Here are just a couple of handouts to — I’ll send them in opposite directions so they can collide. I’m just going to give a little update on the Digital Equity Initiative and a little bit of context, since we hadn’t really presented it. Jim Loter covered some of it. The action plan had a few different steps. We started with the step of public input and then developed the strategies. And then a year ago, we did the launch of the initiative. And we have been working on the transitional elements and implementation. This is the vision statement that was developed through the work that’s in the plan, about technology opportunities equitably empowering everyone, especially under-served and under-represented. That’s our guiding framework.
Within the framework for the Digital Equity Plan, it has these priority goals tht Jim Loter talked about in his presentation: connectivity, skills training, devices, and tech support. And then there were also some supporting goals: building community capacity, doing outreach, making it accessible, and fostering inclusive engagement and empowerment as an implement in thinking about digital equity.
In the different strategies, more specifically, connectivity, we had that improving the high speed infrastructure that Jim talked about, and the WIFI and the competitive broadband. We also got working on the fostering of greater choice in apartment buildings, multiple dwelling units. For instance, we provided some advice to Seattle Housing Authority, and worked with Century Link a bit on how to create a pipeline to get in multiple providers into a building. We need to negotiate with Comcast around that, and so on. We have more coming up on that.
Improving low cost internet for individuals: Just a reminder right now: there are three main low income programs, Comcast, Century Link, and Mobile Citizen, which is a Sprint service, which Interconnection is selling. We just talked about federal Lifeline broadband coming, and then the library hotspot lending is also reaching low income folks.
Improving connectivity in public spaces: The public WIFI plan, expanding WIFI to community centers, working a long-term strategy for the community centers’ public access. And one of the things that came up that we’ll be working on is looking at increasing charging stations. That particularly came from homeless communities and others who need charging devices so they can connect.
Under skills, we had three main things. Boost training programs, prepare trainers, and provide additional support. I want to note, under ‘Boost the training programs,’ a couple of those strategies were ‘improving support for families using school resources for parents,’ ‘increasing STEM and coding instruction for youth and adults, doing promotion. thinking about ow we reach vulnerable workers, and promote opportunities for where the skills training is. And then, reaching small businesses, particularly minority and women-owned small busineEscsses. And then, ‘preparing qualified and culturally competent trainers. And then in the additional support piece was marketing the resources and availability of programs. And then also, looking at developing a funding collaborative. It’s something that we talked about in the digital inclusion committee, with E-Gov. We need some ways to do that.
On Device Strategy, the third leg. Improving the high speed infrastructure. I think I repeated something here, so I’m going to skip that. On Device Strategies, part of that is looking at distributing devices and increasing the stream of devices, and where we can, link that to training. So that in a sense it’s a whole system support for people. And as we looked at distributing refurbished computers, ensure their quality, so people aren’t just getting a hand-off computer, and getting stuck with something.
In 2016, we did a lot of work to lay the groundwork. We started integrating the Digital Equity Initiative into our grants and contracts. As you know, we said, ‘here are three goals of the Digital Equity Initiative and folded that into the Technology Matching Fund Grants. We started working with the YMCA on their project. And then we started working on development of communications, plans, and evaluation in metrics. We did the scope of work for that also. Those contracts are in place and we have fairly recently begun that detailed work. I’ll talk more about that in a second.
I just wanted to mention that one of the things that we found this year, too, is as we looked at the different legs of the Digital Equity strategy, that there are projects we do that cross over those different legs. So evaluation metrics were obviously taking a hit around those three different areas. As we do communications, probably marketing, devices and internet together, for instance. The Tech Matching Fund: We had projects come in that increase infrastructure that may help people sign up for the internet and provide skills training. One project may focus more on something more than another. The HUD Connect Home project that’s been working with low income housing residents, similarly has been helping people get connected, providing some training, and we matched that with devices also. It is an exciting project, we have now just launching around getting devices out to homeless residents. Working with the Human Services Department, if you remember, we had Sola Plumacher here talking about the Home Project last year. That led us to identify that this rapid rehousing program, where they had this year 64 young adults that they’re transitioning to housing. So we’re matching them with refurbished laptops and the Mobile Citizen internet service. So we’re helping to subsidize that, working with the Human Services Department and case workers at the agencies that are working directly with participants. I’m really excited about that. We just sent out the first order codes for the first group to start to order that for folks this last week.
there has been a variety of accomplishments that we’ve done. Some of those are in the attached sheet that I’ve given you. What I passed around was the short reference list to what the specific strategies are, and then a list of some of the details of the accomplishments from this last year.
I’m not going to go through all of these, but we connected 75 residents in public housing, working with Seattle Housing Authority, for their first internet. To get new internet accounts. We added 17 new organizations who are getting free cable broadband, and upgraded that. Derrick manages those connections. Internet kiosks: We had 30,000 sessions of people using the internet at our Neighborhood Service Centers, and Parks Community Centers. The library expanded its hotspot lending program.
On Devices, with the grant we got from Google, we were also able to replace 49 computers in the Parks labs. Through the Connect Home project, distributed 142 devices to public housing residents. A couple of those were through workshops, really interesting workshops.
On skills training, looking through all of our grants through the Tech Matching Fund, seniors training through the Mayor’s Office on Senior Citizens, the YMCA project that we support, and the HUD Connect Home, and the Parks and Recreation Community Centers, we trained almost 6,000. 5,800 last year received training through our programs. And then, there are some really neat projects with learning and Best Buy partnerships that came in. They did a couple of workshops at Yesler on wearable tech. Some really interesting things happening with that. Verizon came in and helped support a new STEM project in some of the Parks and Recreation Community Centers. Then, we got the grantees together for a resource exchange. So we started working on that individual and some of the capacity around skills.
Here is what’s coming up for us and interactionally for you right now. We’re starting to work on evaluation and communication plans. That’s a goal to finalize that. I expect particularly that kind of evaluation metrics will come back to you in probably a month or two. We just signed an agreement with the University of Washington Information School. We’re working with them on that. Developing and implementing the Tech Matching Fund and the second year of HUD Connect Home.
May 3 has been set for the Tech Matching Fund deadline. Our target is to distribute at least 250 devices this year. We got the 64 to the rapid rehousing, another 100 to the Connect Home public housing residents, and some others. And then develop a Digital Inclusion network or collaborative. We talked about that being around digital literacy projects as a starting point, developing a funding mechanism so that that could go to a third party, and working on supporting Train the Trainer. That’s one of the big projects we’ve been talking about with the Digital Inclusion Committee. On the connectivity piece, we have Wave franchising coming up. Public WIFI strategy that Jim Loter talked about. And then, we’re kicking off a planning process on the technology access adoption, our quadrennial survey. That will be coming back to you also this year, as we look at what questions to ask. We starting that work this year and completing that in the beginning of next year.
Working with other departments in the City, and a collaboration. In AARP, there is this age-friendly Seattle program to develop a strategy around an age friendly City. We’re talking to them about how to incorporate digital equity strategies into that age friendly plan. And we’re doing the strategic public technology planning with Parks.
So, those of some of the key work items on the table and some of the places where it intersects with CTAB this year, and where we’ve gotten to so far.
Jose Vasquez: Thank you. We’re out of time, but I completely forgot Derrick’s presentation.
Derrick Hall: That’s okay. I understand that you have 25 more minutes worth of stuff.
Jose Vasquez: Do you mind coming back next month? Or do you want to add something real quick. Because I know it’s part of this.
Derrick Hall: I can wait until next month.
Jose Vasquez: Thank you. Sorry about that. It’s completely my fault. We’ll move on to the committee updates. Cable and Broadband Committee?
CABLE AND BROADBAND COMMITTEE UPDATE
Karia Wong: We have the draft recommendations for Wave franchise ready. What we have highlighted this time is and introduction of an affordable cable and broadband program for low income individuals and families. Improved outreach on broadband and customer service creates opportunities for local employment basically through mentorship or internship for entry level jobs. It’s for youth and individuals with limited English. To meet the [unintelligible] of broadband, which is 25 up and 25 down, and to report the income function to the City. Those are the ones that we highlighted, and we know that there are things that need to be added. There will be a newer version coming up. so stay tuned. We really need your feedback and comment. Hopefully, we can speed up the process, so I will send a note out with the updated version so everybody can comment.
Derrick Hall: And when is your upcoming meeting?
Karia Wong: The upcoming meeting will be the last Monday, which is the 27th. 6:30. Location is to be announced, because if we have City staff to join us we will be able to meet downstairs on the 6th floor. If not, we will need to find another space.
Jose Vasquez: Thank you. E-Gov?
E-GOV COMMITTEE UPDATE
Heather Lewis: The next E-Gov Committee meeting, which I will also put on the board, is 6:30 to 7:30 on March 28, and it will be at the Westlake Microsoft location, which I will put on the board.
We have just kick-started three new projects. Joneil has the specifics, and we will be feeding them out to the committee over the next week. So, we will have a more substantial update going forward in our next meeting. but we are focusing on three projects that are all in some ways community engagement, and potentially joining forces with the [unintelligible]….
Jose Vasquez: Thank you. Digital Inclusion Committee?
DIGITAL INCLUSION COMMITTEE UPDATE
Eliab Sisay: We met on the 22nd about the Technology Matching Fund primarily. We reviewed the timeline there with a target launch around March, with a board meeting to approve the selected the awardees. One of the things we talked about was thinking about how we can amplify the process for letting organizations know that that’s available, so we wanted to make an announcement to this group to think about your networks and if there are connections that you have that we can use to help spread the word about the program to organizations that we think will benefit from it, we really want to expand the program out this year beyond the applicants. Next steps are that we will send out an email to the board requesting organizations that we can partner with to send that opportunity out, finalize the timeline We want to finalize the membership make up of the review committee. And then a draft announcing the TMF, plan an award event, and then reach out to Councilmembers to get engagement, and then the possibility of a quarterly TMF grantee gathering and corporate sponsorships for these events. So, a lot of work still to be done, but in early phases we want to bring everyone up to speed. The other thing we talked about also is revisiting our conversation about meeting with the folks from Austin. We’re on their Digital Alert Literacy Coalition so we might connect with David Keyes to set up a call with your contact there, get what they learned and try to use it here.
Jose Vasquez: Thank you. I’ve got some updated dates from Delia Burke.
Eliab Sisay: For the next meeting? It’s scheduled for tomorrow but I don’t think that’s going to happen because we don’t do them in the same week. So it will be next Wednesday and I’ll send out a confirmation email.
Jose Vasquez: Real quick: The application is launching next week so stay tuned for that. We are still looking for volunteers to participate in the review committee. So if anybody is interested, or if you know anybody who is interested in learning about that process or just learning about really amazing community projects, you can email Delia Burke at email@example.com. So far there are already workshops scheduled for grantees. There’s going to be one on Wednesday, March 29, from 6:00 to 7:30, at Solid Ground. And the next one will be April 5, from 10:00 to 11:30, at the 2100 Building. And the application deadline is May 3. So if you know of any organization that wants to apply, May 3 is the deadline for that. And if you do want to participate in the review committee, that will be the second week of May through the end of May/early June. And then we’ll present at the June CTAB meeting. Next up, we have the Privacy Committee.
PRIVACY COMMITTEE UPDATE
Christopher Sheats: I’m Christopher and I chair the Privacy Committee. We convened on March 6. We discussed various topics and our progress on an array of things: Policy Analysis, which is coming along nicely. the Seattle Surveillance Ordinance amendments: We’re going to be meeting this month to hammer out our actual recommendations for CTAB and hopefully for Mayor and City Council. We talked about open data privacy. Michael Mattmiller gave us a book that just came out from a Harvard group on ways that we can examine open data privacy concerns. We introduced two new projects, including girding the City to implement a privacy tool called Secure Drop to support at-risk communities, including City employee and public commentators. We began planning a joint working group with the E-Gov Committee and Seattle IT concerning the internet of things. So, that’s what we’re working on.
Jose Vasquez: Thank you. Next meeting?
Christopher Sheats: It will be April 3 at the Montlake Branch Library at 6:00.
Jose Vasquez: We do have five minutes, Derrick, if you want to present.
DERRICK HALL’S WIFI REPORT
Derrick Hall: I’ll pass these around. Just so you know that we started out in 2015, when we got a grant at the end of the year from Google to upgrade 26 Parks locations that was providing about 80,000 devices for public internet services. The partnership was between Seattle IT (DoIT at the time), Association for Recreation Council, which is called ART, and the City of Seattle Parks Department. Our goal was to upgrade some old equipment to some new MR 32 equipment. We did complete the project last year. We completed it ahead of schedule mid-November of last year, but then we decided that we were going to do some expansion work, since we had done it under budget. We planned for three access points per site, but we ended up using a lot less than that for a lot of the sites. We talked to Parks, and found out that there were a couple of other community centers that would like to have WIFI access. Those Parks locations are Southwest Community Center, West Seattle, Magnolia, Green Lake and Jefferson, and International District community centers. They were already providing some sort of WIFI but we were able to bring them into the fold, bumping our numbers up to 30 sites. This past February, we did surpass over 24,000 users, providing three terabytes worth of data used. And last year, we provided for the entire year of 2016, after the upgrades, we were at 130,000 users.
The only sites that I have information for that dropped in service usability was Dakota Place, and I’m not exactly sure why, but the rest of the sites have experienced significant increases in service.
On the list that you have, you would see Langston Hughes as one of these sites. That is something else. That’s another site that I manage, but it’s not part of the expansion project. Questions?
Christian Severt: My name again is Christian Severt of the Seattle Privacy Coalition. I would just like to enter a comment about the CISCO Meraki systems. The level of location analytics and data tracking capabilities of the Cisco CMX platform is rather substantial and goes wholly against the Seattle Privacy Coalition’s suggestions for citizen privacy. And so, i would like to provide the opt out link for metric gathering for Cisco Meraki. And that is account.meraki.com/optout. Meraki is spelled M-E-R-A-K-I. And you would access that over https.
David Keyes: That was https://account.meraki.com/optout
Christian Severt: Yes. One word, no hyphens.
Jose Vasquez: So individuals on devices would have to order that to opt out?
Christian Severt: Yes. They would have to know how to access their Mac address, enter in the Mac address, create a Captcha and enter that. They would have to do that for each of their laptops, tablets, or I-phones.
Derrick Hall: Whatever device connects.
Christian Severt: …Because this network is very powerful and its intelligence perspectives. It has the ability to count the number of people passing by the network, the people that are connected to the network, repeat visitors capture rate, the name of the person’s device. And so if your phone is called that data is recorded and kept for quite some time. I would highly recommend that you look at the opt out, and in the future, I would highly recommend that we do take the privacy impact assessment very seriously in understanding these sorts of technologies. Thank you.
Derrick Hall: That is a link that we could post to the splash page that users have for opting out. also, just note that the data that we’re collecting and using is just to be able to know how many users used the access point. Everything is from the access point level. So, we don’t see the details.
Christian Severt: Right. But it’s because the controller is cloud-based and it is owned and operated by Cisco, as a corporation. And there are known connections to various federal surveillance programs. It is something of concern. Even though you don’t collect it, the Cisco Meraki system does. The privacy principles should have been applied to a program like that.
Dan Moulton: Clarification. If the customer does opt out on this splash page, will Derrick be able to gather his data in order to report back to CTAB?
Derrick Hall: We should be able to. It’s because they’re connecting to the splash page, and from that point, they’re opting out.
Christian Severt: This conversation could go on longer, but to summarize, it would highly depend upon your data collection point. At what point are you collecting the data? Are you collecting at your splash page?
Derrick Hall: Yes.
Christian Severt: Then the opt out would not impact his ability to provide these metrics.
Jose Vasquez: So, it sounds like you are able to add it to the splash page. I don’t know if it’s possible to automatically grab the Mac address?
Derrick Hall: I’d have to look into that.
Christian Severt: It should be technically possible.
Jose Vasquez: So, we have two minutes for wrap up summary of decisions and next steps.
Virginia Gleason: For the committee members and board members, I’m going to be sending you a month by month calendar, because we’re going to be putting together a list of the things that happen regularly, like what happens through the Tech Matching Fund process, so that as new board members come on, they’ll know that this is kind of the rhythm of the business that the committee has over the year. I’ll be emailing that out to you tomorrow. You can fill it out however you want. You can either use that form and just send it back in an email. And then, next meeting we’ll have those notebooks that have a proposed index. And we’ll have an idea of what comes up during the course of the year.
Jose Vasquez: Thank you. And also thank you for the pie.Thanks, everybody.