October 10, 2017 Meeting – Seattle Community Technology Advisory Board
Topics covered included: Seattle CTO Michael Mattmiller report; introduction of Kate Garman, new City of Seattle Smart Cities coordinator; a report on autonomous vehicles by Yes Segura; potential CTAB comment on US Department of Homeland Security social media screening rules; Cable and Broadband Committee update; Digital Inclusion Committee update
This meeting was held: October 10, 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
Attending: 18 In Attendance
Board Members: Jose Vasquez, Karia Wong, Chris Alejano, John Krull by phone, Mark DeLoura, Steven Maheshwary, Joneil Sampana
Public: Harte Daniels, Charlotte Lunday by phone, Adam Owen (Century Link), Yes Segura, Jennifer Molina, Rebecca Rocha (Oculus), Christian Hoogerheyde,
Staff: Michael Mattmiller, Chance Hunt, Kate Garman, Cass Magnuski
Jose Vasquez: We’re going to have some last-minute changes to the agenda. Bear with us. I wanted to add Yes Segura, who wants to do a presentation on autonomous vehicles and equity. Is 15 minutes okay?
Yes Segura: Yes.
Jose Vasquez: We were thinking of doing it right after Kate’s presentation. How does everybody feel about that? And then, instead of the Surveillance Ordinance advisory group (Torgie is not able to be here today, and they haven’t met, so there’s no real update. ) Instead, Charlotte Lunday is going to call in at around 6:30 to talk about the DHS social media screening policies, and what we can do at CTAB and see what we can do to advocate. And then the E-Gov Committee is not having an update. so, we’re going to save a few minutes there. Is everybody okay with those changes? Do we have a motion to approve the updated agenda?
Chris Alejano: I so move.
Joneil Sampana: Second.
Jose Vasquez: All in favor? Motion passes. Mark DeLoura is going to help by being our timekeeper today. Great. Did everybody have a chance to review the September minutes? Any thoughts, comments, edits?
Stephen Maheshwary: A few names were a little bit misspelled. Jose’s last name was misspelled in one area. [Note: this has been corrected]
Cass Magnuski: That’s pretty bad! Would you send me the corrections? I will fix them.
Jose Vasquez: Would you like to motion to approve them with the changes?
Stephen Maheshwary: I move to approve them with the updated edits.
Cass Magnuski: But I have to see the edits so I can fix them. If you would send me an email, I’ll give you my card.
Jose Vasquez: Can we have a second?
Chris Alejano: Second.
Jose Vasquez: All in favor? Abstain? One abstention? Thank you. Motion passes. Michael Mattmiller?
CHIEF TECHNOLOGY OFFICER REPORT
Michael Mattmiller: Thank you, Mr. Chair. Good evening. I was just realizing that it’s been a little while since I’ve been able to join you in person, so my apologies for my absence over the past couple of months. Part of my absences have been for some things that I think are really interesting that I would like to share with the group in the form of updates. In particular, I believe it was the September meeting when I was unable to join you because I had an opportunity to travel to Washington, D.C. with several other CIOs from cities including New York, D.C., San Francisco, Austin–I’m forgetting some. And we participated in a number of meetings on the hill regarding net neutrality. The day, as you may recall, was heavily hyped because there was supposed to be a House Commerce Committee meeting with tech company CEOs to talk about the importance of net neutrality. Unfortunately, those CEOs all declined to appear, so the meeting was cancelled.
But that actually worked out well for us because the members all had time to speak with me and the CIOs. So, over the course of the day, we had the opportunity to meet with the Senate Commerce Committee, with Senator Thune’s staff, Senator Cantwell’s staff, Nelson, Pelosi, and Senator Schumer, himself, to talk about why net neutrality is not just something that sounds nice, but it is actually a pocketbook issue in our communities. I know that several of you had an opportunity to attend the Net Neutrality town Hall in July with Senator Cantwell and FCC Commissioner Mignon L. Clyburn, right here in Seattle, where we heard first hand from individuals who recognize that, yes, our consumers need access to media. But if the FCC changes its mind and decides to prioritize fast lanes, as they might be called, we actually lose access to diversity and we disadvantage small businesses. First, let’s say that we had members of our Seattle community that in particular want to stream community based media, because that helps them connect with individuals outside the region or other types of resources. If an individual doesn’t subscribe to the right internet service, they may not be able to stream video and see that community based media product. Or they might be incented to just go to generic–CNN or other types of mass media properties. And so we lose that type of access. Similarly, with a small business member who spoke at the hearing–there was this really fascinating story of a woman who maintains a web developing shop, and she will host some of the sites that she develops. As she pointed out, Google include in their search algorithm the speed of the web site, how fast it loads and where it ranks in search results. So, if you can’t pay for the really great server, you’re going to get placed lower, and you have less access to your customers. So imagine that on steroids. So we shared those perspectives with the members and their staffs. We also had an opportunity to speak with three FCC commissioners directly. We met with Rosenwarcel, Carr and Clyburn, and we had a chance to meet with Chairman Pai’s staff. It was great to hear a lot of different perspective about where the members and FCC commissioners stood on this issue. I’ll be honest and say we still will have a tough decision for all of us in November, when the FCC is scheduled to meet on this subject. But what we took away from the day was that the members strongly believe that if not FCC mandated, Title II classification of broadband service in this country, that there does need to be some type of regulatory construct. So, euphemistically, members we spoke with called tht Title X of the communications act. I do look forward to making sure we engage CTAB in the conversations that are likely to take place in November on the issue.
We also got some great shout outs on our broadband privacy rule. There are now several cities looking to implement what we have developed and implemented here in Seattle. We also go a great shout out from Speaker Pelosi’s office on the Seattle Channel. Who knew that Speaker Pelosi likes the Seattle Channel and recognizes the great work that happens there?
So, that was net neutrality. A couple of other things I’m excited about happening in the department, and I also appreciate CTAB’s continued championship and participation, is the Technology Matching Fund’s 20th anniversary party just a couple of weeks ago was just fantastic. To think that over the course of the past 20 years, I believe it’s $13 million in grants that have been given to the community. [See video created for the anniversary]
Chance Hunt: Combining our City dollars and the matching dollars, over $13 million.
Michael Mattmiller: Yes. That’s just so unique and speaks to David Keyes’ work and that of former Councilmember Podlodowski and Rona Zevin, and now Chance Hunt’s work on the program, not to mention the incredible amount of time that I know you spend in framing up the conversation and moving that forward. As the year progresses, we’re going to be back into TMF season before we know it. And one of the things I heard very clearly at the table this year is that Councilmember Gonzalez and Juarez are very interested in how it is that we structure the TMF program to make sure that we are increasing equity and ensuring access to the grant opportunities. So, I really look forward to the recommendations of this group and want to make sure that we are responsive to Councilmembers and that we can be engaging them no later than, say, the January timeframe. Chance?
Chance Hunt: That will be perfect, actually.
Michael Mattmiller: So, we should keep that top of mind in the short term.
Just wo other things that have been really great: National Association of Telecommunications Officers and Advisors (NATOA), for those who hadn’t already heard, last month at NATOA, I believe the Seattle Channel took away a record nine statues?
Chance Hunt: I don’t remember the number.
Michael Mattmiller: You lose track at some point with all of the excellence that goes down.
Joneil Sampana: What is the statue called?
Michael Mattmiller: That’s a good question.
Joneil Sampana: Is there a name for it?
Michael Mattmiller: I don’t know. It kind of looks like one of those marble art things. I’m sure there’s a name for it. And, of course, Seattle Channel did take away the award for overall excellence and to be recognized is a pretty high honor. In six of the past nine years, Seattle Channel has taken away that top prize. So, a big shout out to all the Seattle Channel staff.
For those who participated in the Seattle City for All Hack-a-thon a few weeks ago, I was so upset that I could not be there. I just always appreciate the energy that comes out of those events, the really amazing ideas. And I think that we had a bit of a ringer in the winning team, but still, I spoke with Councilmember Bagshaw, and she was just thrilled at how we were able to convene our community to develop solutions for an issue that, let’s be honest, typically doesn’t get a lot of the attention that it deserves in our society, especially in Seattle with affordability as our City changes. So, a big shout out to everyone on that project.
I’ll end with just this one last thing. Did everyone see our own David Doyle recognized in StateScoop as one of the top twenty leaders of the open government movement? So, we should make sure that we get that link around [http://statescoop.com/state-amp-local-news/awards] because it’s been really wonderful to have David and his role in the leadership changes he has brought to the open data program over the past year. So, that’s just a couple of things I wanted to highlight for you that’s going around the department. And, again, thank you, CTAB, for your leadership in so many of these activities. I’ll just end by saying that we are in a time of transition in the City. I somewhat jokingly say that I have achieved something I never thought I would do in my government career, which is I have now worked for three mayoral administrations. And while that sounds like a lovely statement, it is actually true that even for the five days of the shortest administration, there were definite changes that were felt by our employees, and by the public at large. I have had a chance to speak with Mayor Burgess just today, and it was great to hear his support of many of the things that are happening in this department. We have two candidates, one of whom presumably will be Mayor on November 28. And I look forward to working with her on the vision that she brings for technology in the City. And I know that she will be looking to your counsel as well. So, I encourage the group to be thinking about what are those topics that you want to make sure that the next Mayor understands is important to CTAB, and how it wants to see technology in this community as well as what are the issues that should be top of mind that you want her to consider in the future. With that, Mr. Chair, I’ll take any questions.
Jose Vasquez: Any questions or comments?
Chris Alejano: Michael, in your conversation about the mayoral candidates, how interested are they in continuing to champion the Digital Equity Initiative? How involved or aware are they?
Michael Mattmiller: Seattle IT has not been asked by the mayoral campaigns for a formal sit-down briefing. In absence of that, what I look to is the strong sentiment expressed by both candidates around affordability and equity. When I look at some of the policy positions the candidates have put out, I can tell that there are flickers of awareness of many of the things that we think about perhaps more systematically. And by that I mean one of the candidates put out a transportation plan and immediately recognized that not everybody has access to a smart phone. And so they will be looking for ways to overcome that device access problem. In terms of putting together something that is specifically called Digital Equity, I think that’s an education opportunity that we have. And actually, one of the things that I am very excited to have Kate Garman on board for is what she and Evan Corey from SDOT will be convening as our Smart Cities inter-departmental team in the City where we will be able to convene the multiple departments who have a hand in the environment and thinking about data and other challenges. To connect those two thoughts, one of the reasons I’m excited about that is I think even within the City, we have to remind departments that we have these very successful Digital Equity programs, so SDOT doesn’t have to go out and solve how we get smart phones into peoples’ hands. When City Light says we have to get smart phones into peoples’ hands, well we’ve got these programs. So that awareness needs to be shaped into policy and program.
Jose Vasquez: I have met with both candidates’ staff, and made sure to highlight the work that we’re doing here at CTAB, and TMF in particular. We do look forward, once we know who the new Mayor is, making sure that we have that opportunity to showcase the work that we’re doing here at the City. I think it will line up nicely with the end of the year wrap up as we get ready to Council. Anything else? Any other questions?
Joneil Sampana: Is there a scheduled meeting that we have with whomever is elected to go through for a briefing on who’s who in the new administration?
Michael Mattmiller: I have not heard of that specific thing at this time. Let’s assume that there is a successful candidate on election night or in the days shortly thereafter. Once that becomes pretty clear, and the other candidate concedes, the Mayor-elect will announce her transition team. And that group will descend on the City, will be welcomed with open arms, and the City facilities will begin to engage with staff pretty quickly, especially given the quick swearing in this year on November 28th. That will be critical. My department, like others, will be engaged to begin having conversations on urgent issues, and what the new Mayor needs to know. And so, what I would expect is that I have an opportunity to let the transition team member know that CTAB would like the opportunity to have a conversation. And perhaps we’ll get an opportunity for our chair and others to have a conversation with that transition team. Not to discourage, but I would assume that a meeting with the Mayor, herself, will probably occur later. I think when Mayor Murray had a chance to sit down with CTAB in 2014.
Stephen Maheshwary: With regard to TMF, do you perceive the financial ability to increase the scope of sponsorship of funds for the TMF program from certain companies like Amazon or Microsoft beyond Comcast. Again, this might be just be my lack of education around how that process works, but I was just curious whether that had ever been considered.
Michael Mattmiller: That’s a fantastic question, and thank you for asking it. The way we fund TMF today is through cable franchise fees. And I will apologize to this group, but in February of this year, I cut my cable, which deprives the City of about $240 of revenue in the franchise fund each year. So, I am one member of the public, and I cost the City $240 a year, I’m going to assume that everyone in this room who subscribes to cable has no intention to change that. But there are some people outside this room who perhaps don’t have that same philosophy. It is a declining revenue stream for us. We have to begin seriously thinking about what happens when we fall off the cliff with that income and revenue, and what does that mean for TMF? What does that mean for the other $8.3 million we collect annually? I think the short answer to your question is absolutely. It was so wonderful to get the phone call from Facebook this year. I think CTAB has something to do with that phone call through Amy Hirotaka’s lived experience. I do think this community is hungry to help solve this problem. I think that when Nick Berry from Facebook and other leadership from Facebook could see the impact that they were directly having…when Comcast goes not just around Seattle but around the nation and talks about the impact they see, based on their investment, that maybe wasn’t their first choice of things to provide, but since then has become something that they can appreciate talking about, I do think that there are other companies out there who can come on board. To put, perhaps, a finer point on it, we are now in the process of developing the City’s 2019-2020 budget. I know that’s a little mind blowing, considering that Mayor Burgess just transmitted the 2018 budget to Council last week. The reason I flag that is, if we want to get serious about figuring out a replacement revenue model and stream for cable franchise fees, there likely could be a budget ask associated with that, right? We know that fundraising isn’t free. You have to make the ask if you want to raise money. If there is a desire or direction to be more intentional about pursuing corporate sponsorship, I think that that is something that we should plan for to make sure we can be successful. If not pursuing corporate sponsorship at scale, perhaps, that wouldn’t necessitate a large outlay, are there other revenue models that we want to consider. I think that Tony has spoken with you about what the State of Oregon has done, but through some smart legislating and some very well thought out court cases, the state can now tax internet service. And while we think about why we had cable franchise fees, it’s the way that our cable companies compensate you, the residents of Seattle, for having their infrastructure in your right of way. Now, why should we treat copper wire that carries QAM [Quadrature amplitude] modulated video signal through the copper wire and now fiber optic cable that carries your internet service. We should consider why two very interesting laws passed in 1934 and 1986 that don’t quite bear the way the IT based networks work today. I think that would be a fantastic topic that I would personally welcome advisement from this group on, and any associated direction on how you think that we could bring a new model from.
Jose Vasquez: Thank you. That’s all the time we have. I hopefully want to continue working with your department to figure out how to increase the amount of investments to diversify that source of income. Because we can’t just be depending on one source.
Michael Mattmiller: Well, thank you so much.
Jose Vasquez: Thank you! Real quick, I want to give a chance to those who just walked in to introduce yourselves.
Jose Vasquez: We have a guest, Kate Garman, who will speak about the City of Seattle Smart Cities program.
INTRODUCTION OF KATE GARMAN, NEW SEATTLE SMART CITIES COORDINATOR
Kate Garman: Thank you Mr. Chair and members of the board for having me. I am Kate Garman. I am the new Smart Cities coordinator, and I’m sorry I missed last month, but I’m happy to be here today to talk about this new positon. A little background about me. I moved here from Kansas City, Missouri. I was the policy, innovation advisor for Mayor Sly James. I’m a lawyer by background, and I did things like write the regulations for Uber and Lyft, and Air B&B, as well as our Smart City emerging issues. Kansas City signed its first Smart Cities contract 2-1/2 years ago, and we’ve learned a lot of lessons about what a Smart City really is. There’s a lot of gossip going around that we’re going to stick sensors everywhere on the streets, but really what it is is that tech is so much more budget friendly for the cities that we can acquire a lot more data. And it means that cities are being far more proactive, and using data for day to day decision making, and we can be smarter by way of looking it from that perspective. This is my favorite background. Data used by cities is not a new idea. This is Dr. John Snow, who is pretty great. He’s the one who figured out how cholera was spreading in the 19th century by doing interviews. He figured out that the concentration of the virus was by water pumps. And that was moving by water and not by air. Point of fact is that all of the brewery employees survived the virus because making beer got rid of the virus. So, if anything is spreading, you will know where to go. but what this is is the first historically documented case using data to solve a problem, and this was in the 19th century. So this is not a new concept, it’s just a now pervasive one.
This is the project I worked on. Just to give you a frame of reference, this is how we’re starting to enter this field. Kansas City deployed 25 kiosks. These do not emit WiFi, but now so many kiosks do. They are hot spots for 150 square feet. In Seattle’s future, whenever we hear about kiosks, it will touch that Digital Equity piece including Wi-Fi. But, this is where we had a lot of community engagement, and committees like yourselves were really involved. We asked people we knew. We wanted to put these kiosks on the streetcars, but they also [unintelligible] three digital town halls, a web site, essentially, where people wanted to see them. What they wanted to how they’re counted. You can make a 311 call. There’s a 911 button that has languages, I think up to nine on the kiosk itself. And there are other full features, restaurant directories and the like. So really great local business economic development opportunity there. Kansas City also deployed smart lighting. Here is a cobra head. And this is some nodes developed by Sun City, which was recently acquired by Verizon. These sensors allowed Kansas City to see exactly where the street car was, or if a car was blocking a street car, as well as digital road conditions, how much rain was on the ground, pedestrian counts, car tabs, car speeds. These nodes are getting smarter now, but that is how Kansas City was using it for their Smart City.
Finally, as we did attach it to the street car projects, Google Fiber had selected Kansas City as its first deployment the year before, when there was a lot of digging going on, similar to Seattle. And so Kansas City took advantage of that and put in the Smart City there, and public WiFi for 52 square blocks. It cost about $7 million.
This is the public facing. This is really — you can actually visit this web site and see in real time what the data looks like now. These are car counts by the hour. This is speed. The colors you are seeing are how fast the cars are going. And if you were to zoom in on these green colors, that’s parking and availability in real time. What’s interesting is this looks great. This was one of the country’s first Smart Cities. But, when I talk to SDOT folks, knowing how many cars per hour, there’s really nothing to do with it. What is actually much more helpful is real time data or an aggregate, and change in the culture and inside the department. So, we’re still learning how to do it.
Here are some of my other favorite projects. This is from Houston, after Harvey struck. They used their open data platform to develop a listing of shelter resources, which was really fantastic. This is a great project from the City of Louisville, Kentucky, where they have serious problems with abandoned property, where the houses can easily catch on fire. And because of lack of trust with the police and fire department, no one calls. So the smoke detector will send the fire department a text. The severely ubiquitous now conversation on EVs and AVs and their impact on infrastructure, we need to talk about we can use data to adjust peak times, peak load, Providing EV permits is one thing to think of, but how you are going to do your smart grid is another.
So, let’s talk about Seattle, specifically. This is a new position, and one of my first deliverables within the next year is to come up with a road map, if you will, specific to Seattle’s approach to the Smart Cities field. And the most important piece, I think, is the why of this. To quickly go down: Operational efficiency. How can departments better perform their City duties? In real time, overtime, and this is in serious conjunction with open data. Open data wants to be used not only by external people, but also City staff for public benefit and connectivity. I’m working with Chance Hunt and his group on Digital Equity, policy innovation, which I’ll get to in a second, on how we want to be smart regulating and making sure we are not putting really burdensome processes in place, economic development, and then, of course, acting in collaboration along with UW and the Cascadia corridor. We’ll do it by way of data networks and technology, and public engagement collaboration and public/private partnerships. And I’m really thrilled to be here tonight in all honesty for the public engagement piece. You all bring a really critical view to the process. So, I’m sure I’ll be a fly on the wall going forward, if I am not here to talk about something, so see if we can move that forward.
Seattle is doing a lot of projects right now that would fall easily under Smart City category, including from SDOT. Mobility as a service is a conversation. It’s a way to look at buying transportation, much like you do a bundle at home, like your internet, your phone, and your TV package. How can we do that for transportation? You might need a monthly pass to get buses, bike share, etc. That will be by connected services and data use. Scoot is already in place. That is a program for 32 intersections to park underground, and it will take WiFi and Bluetooth from peoples’ cars, especially on Mercer right now. And in real time, we can figure out how to flush out intersections. The next version of that will be using a device or a service called Encyclica, and we can use it outside of Key Arena and detect if people are leaving the arena if their Bluetooth or WiFi is on. It anonomizes the hash, so we don’t know who is leaving. We just know that people are starting to leave. And SDOT can turn on the intersection patterns for traffic flow for an exit strategy, rather than just normal traffic, and that could potentially reduce people leaving Key Arena from two hours to 45 minutes.
Another thing that we’re working on–this is with the University of Washington–this project originated from Chicago. They deployed 300 of these nodes. It weighs a good amount. It’s not that light. But it can tell things like air quality, noise. A good example would be we could put a node outside of a construction site and see if the contractor is building or having impacts on the neighborhood outside of an allowed time frame. And of course, there are some other video capabilities that they can do with this. This is through UW and the University of Chicago is leading it, so it has an academic based release, if you will, and control. Same with UW. We’re only getting a few nodes at the moment, so while they got 300, we’re getting up to ten. It’s really a way that we can figure out how we can use sensors for specific City problems. The last thing we want is tech for tech’s sake.
Here is some amazing work that UW is doing that falls under the Smart Cities project, how can we deliver goods, think about curb space better, and some deliveries, and use that data. This was an NSF grant of about $1 million over two years on how generally we can plan for transportation with the Smart Cities plan for using data over time. And then the Data Center for Social Good has some really great projects, one of which is my favorite, in detecting how many people were cruising in downtown. Cruising means people looking for a parking spot, or an Uber/Lyft driver who is looking for a passenger. And it turns out that about 30 percent in the central business district are cruising at one time. It has a huge impact on traffic. Some policy considerations are pole structure for 5G and small cell attachments. And that’s a really interesting one because it affects so many departments. It’s using poles that City Light owns, it’s the right of way that SDOT controls, it’s SDCI, which is zoning and the least amount of interference, and it’s Seattle IT for telecom policy. So, there’s a legislative group that Michael Mattmiller referred to for the IDT that will be looking at this. Mayor Burgess has talked about how successful the homelessness result-based procurement is doing, so rather than hiring or buying sensors, if we’re being sold a sensor that is saying, we’ll decrease your Vision Zero metrics and your safety of pedestrians, we’ll renew it year by year, based on the results that we see on Vision Zero. We want to lead the conversation in the country for a responsible Smart City, making sure that algorithms are used in a just way. Another data science for social good project was using Orca data in trying to project where people would transfer or get off. Origin and destination is a hard thing to get. This is all based on Orca card information. What that does is if you base your bus routes off of every person who has paid for a bus ride by cash. Lots of things to think about here. Security is an issue. Best example is the City of Dallas was hacked over the summer, and someone turned on all of their tornado alarms at 1:00 a.m. It’s my favorite because it actually probably harmed no one. But it was something you could audibly hear, cyber security being the problem.
I literally sit next to David Doyle and Ginger Armbruster, who has spoken here about their programs, so I won’t talk about that.
The last thing before I conclude is is just really the whole notion of what we’re talking about . You see here a general city stream. If you look at this, City Light is looking at the rate of how much electricity is being used, and providing the light. But, like I said, like the small cell. you’ve got to think of telecom policy and everything that can go on this pole. It could actually impact your crime rates, and your mental health rates. And bike and pedestrians we are working on ways to count. Imagine if we could adjust in real time at intersections for cars, if we could make a green light go longer because there are 12 pedestrians and like one car, as an impact on how you do things. It’s making what seems like basic infrastructure work across multiple departments in a really intelligent, and most importantly, a purposeful way. And the reason why I liked what Michael Mattmiller said earlier, and I made this before the hack-a-thon, is this is my pet project. A group in the UK categorized smells in the city by using social media for people they could categorize what the smell of the block probably was mostly. through an algorithm, they figured out with some real math that you can zoom in on of New York City of what blocks smell like. And the idea is how do you enhance the experience of the pedestrian. So at the hack-a-thon, we used open data sets to put together smells, sounds, the sound of a bus, the sound of construction, the sound of music, the sound of water, which are positive sounds, grades of hills, views if you’re walking by a park, or water. And how much you care about avoiding or hitting one of those. So, rather than walking somewhere–transportation planners only look at it by how can I get you from point A to B as quickly as possible–and we wanted to provide a pedestrian experience where if you will take three minutes longer, your long term mental health will improve because you are avoiding bad smells and walking by bakery shops and water. You can choose if you want to take a steep uphill, or if you are willing to take in some bad smells and walk flat if you’re a mom with a stroller.
That’s the way we want to really make some impact. I’m not going to talk on this. I forgot about this. Thinking of basic infrastructure, solar panels. This is a company I’m aware of in Kansas City that makes [unintelligible] block by block that can emit WiFi and talk to your car. It’s really working in different departments and looking at infrastructure deploying.
It’s really going to be a practice of working with people inside the City to look at data and to want to use it, to know how to understand it, and how to improve it. Questions?
Jose Vasquez: We have time for one or two questions real quick.
Joneil Sampana: I’d love to see Digital Equity as a third pillar.
Kate Garman: That’s a great comment. Absolutely.
Yes Segura: When it comes to looking at other ways to count pedestrians and bicycles, what kind of technology are you looking at?
Kate Garman: That’s a great question. There are a lot of options. AT&T have partnered to do some nodes very similar to the Array of Things. What they have is a smart video. Because of the Surveillance Ordinance, that [unintelligible]. especially using a video that you can’t stream, but it takes the aggregated data. And it can count people, bicycles, and it can count dogs, which, believe it or not, I actually think that people walking dogs in the downtown area are a huge consequence of economic success for the downtown. And when a dog urinates on infrastructure, it acts as [unintelligible]. So there are several nodes available. We just want to make sure that it’s specific to cities. Because these nodes right now can capture where cars are turning. They can capture pedestrians and bicyclists, but if we don’t make a data analytics specific requirement to say you need to tell us where near misses are, or we need to be able to in real time adjust a street light because of the count, the slide I showed from Kansas City, no one is uses it. Most of the carriers, the AT&Ts and Verizons of the world, are the ones that [unintelligible].
Jose Vasquez: We are in a time crunch. We have an option where we can reduce public comment so we can ask more questions, if anybody has more. How does everybody feel?
Joneil Sampana: I have a comment.
Jose Vasquez: Is everybody okay with pulling back the public comment time a little bit?
Joneil Sampana: [unintelligible]
Kate Garman: That’s a great idea. I think, right now, the public engagement piece is still something that I want to work on. The first thing I wanted to do is see what Seattle is doing. But, there are real questions that first need to be addressed. Like what matters to our residents and visitors? I may think that this certain information over here is important, but really, it’s over here. So, I think that any ideas this board generates would be extremely helpful to me. And I think that simply by attending these meetings here would be great. This board thinking about the Smart City as it moves forward would be great. As soon as we are able to come up with a way to do a more official and unofficial public engagement by continuous conversation. In Kansas City, we had a Smart City advisory board, specific to the project itself. It was appointed by the Mayor. Most of it was actually city staff. There were only about three non-city staff people, which I would have done the other way. If there is any project that is a big undertaking as a Smart City project, that should certainly go through here, to be continuously worked on. I don’t know if that’s a sufficient answer to your question. I’m certainly open to advice on that score.
Joneil Sampana: [unintelligible]
Chance Hunt: What I was going to add, and I think where you were just going is both Kate’s work and my work revolves around individual engagement. Six out of seven of us involved in these jobs have been here less than seven months. If we’re not recognizing opportunities and presenting them to you or the public, or engaging the public as integrated opportunities, then we are not doing our jobs. And I think that’s where open data crosses with Smart Cities, or how Smart Cities crosses with transportation, crosses with Parks, crosses with Digital Equity, this is where we are just starting to see what the possibilities are within Seattle IT. And then, because of these other inter-departmental teams that are emerging–maybe Kate is leading one, and I’m leading another, someone is leading another, we have an opportunity to really think about integration in that way, as well. Digital Equity, and everything that Kate just talked about, is fully embedded into the experience that somebody is having. If we’re teaching Digital Equity still as being an experience that is a laptop on a table with a mouse, then we’re missing opportunities. People are living out in the real world right now swimming at the deep end. These are the kinds of things that we are literally just on the precipice of starting to really figure out and starting to really engage with. And I think if we’re not seeing it, this is where this group could really be extremely helpful to us. [Ask us], ‘Hey, have you thought about…?’ Or, ‘Did you see this?’ These are really excellent points to raise. It’s unlikely that you’ll ever see one of us by ourselves, moving forward.
Jose Vasquez: We do appreciate that. I think what we would like to see is specifically calling out to us more often. We are all for it, but some people might not be aware of the work that goes behind that.
Joneil Sampana: [unintelligible] Let’s find some examples of the under-served.
Jose Vasquez: Karia, then I have one last question over here.
Rebecca Rocha: I really love the idea of [unintelligible]…One thing that I’ve noticed here in Seattle itself, when we talk about kiosks or any new technology the upkeep seems to be the big issue. Where, for example, we’ll get in real time when buses are coming, but then a week or two weeks later, that same machine is no longer functioning. So, my question is how is that upkeep going to look?
Kate Garman: Good question. I think it’s specific to the technology that we put in. In Kansas City, the maintenance for the kiosks was the responsibility of the owner of the kiosks. With this technology, you just don’t want a ten- or twenty-year contract on it. Your actual maintenance of it is different because you want to make sure that in five years, we don’t have completely different technology on our poles. But, you’re absolutely right. I think that on some of these things–the kiosks are typically the most physical piece of infrastructure of a Smart City. The other is usually a software updates, how your platform update is being used.
Jose Vasquez: Last question.
Karia Wong: Just a comment. It sounds like a great plan to me. But, if I am a citizen, I will be worried. My biggest fear is there are so many technical devices being installed in the City. And then people use that information and come back to you later on. I think, for a lot of immigrants, that’s the biggest fear.
Kate Garman: That is why we’re working hand in hand with Ginger Armbruster. If we even collect anything that needs to be filtered later, we don’t want it. An example here, is video. It can be streamed over WiFi and you could technically physically stream the video. Or you could choose to connect these over mobile or LT, which actually makes it impossible to stream a video, but it still get the data. So, in that instance, we’re going to choose to use the mobile so that we only get the data. We can’t stream information that is risky or would be in any way a violation of our privacy.
Karia Wong: I’m not sure whether you have heard about the plan that the Chinese government is going to install a system similar to a surveillance system in purpose and function. But people were talking about it and expressing their concern.
Kate Garman: I did not know about that. I will look that up. And I think that specific instance that you have is why we need to talk to this group before we make decisions.
Jose Vasquez: Thank you. I hope this is a continuing conversation as we move forward. Moving forward, we added to the agenda autonomous vehicles. Maybe we can start with public comment while Yes Segura sets that up. So, we’ll give a quick five minutes for public comment. This is the opportunity for anybody to make an announcement, upcoming event, exciting projects you’re working on that you want to highlight. Nobody? Great! We’ve saved some time. For the Smart Cities, I wonder how your projects, like the 5th and Mercer, get selected. Those sound like really cool projects but I see the Rainier [unintelligible] once a month.
Kate Garman: Right. I don’t know. both of those projects were underway and SDOT were the ones that prioritized those. When we look at the Smart Cities project as a whole, we want to be absolutely purposeful that it’s not just certain neighborhoods getting these devices. Not only just internet connections. So, that’s a good question and I will have to get back to you on it.
Jose Vasquez: Yes, will you be speaking for all 15 minutes? If you are, then we will make it happen.
Rebecca Rocha: For everybody here, I’m also doing the Snapchat makeover for Women in Tech, so if you see me with my phone doing some of this stuff, or if you’re not comfortable with that,….
YES SEGURA ON AUTOMATED VEHICLES
Yes Segura: Thank you so much for being patient with me. Difficulties happen. My name is Yes Segura and I am a transportation planner. I’m also the founder of Smash the Box Planning, where we help cities plan for self-driving cars. Today, I’m going to be talking about planning for autonomous vehicles.
Before I go into that, let me go ahead and talk about my background and how I got involved in self-driving cars. In 2015, I had the opportunity to work with the Florida Department of Transportation on identifying policies and infrastructure investments for the whole state, when it came to self-driving cars. Two years later, that actually won a national award, and since 2015, I have been reading up on what is going on with autonomous vehicles. I took that momentum, and thought, hey, you know what, let’s see what we can do in Seattle when it comes to planning for self-driving cars. I partnered with young professionals in Transportation Seattle and also the Seattle Architecture Foundation group, and we worked with kids ranging from eight to 16, on designing cities for self-driving cars. They were pretty good.
So, currently, what I’m doing right now, as I have my start-up where I’m consulting people on self-driving cars is I am driving around as an Uber driver. I have my masters in transportation planning and also my years of experience in working with maps, which I so much love. I got to know the City really well, and because of that I started providing recommendations. I carry a notebook with me everywhere I go.
So that’s my background. When I’m Uber driving, there are a lot of questions that come up and a lot of them are really common. So, I’m going to highlight those questions and speak to them. One of those questions is what is an autonomous vehicle. It is a vehicle that needs nobody in the car to drive it, and it uses 21st century technology. I don’t know if you all have been reading up on self-driving cars. They are all the same essentially. One of them that keeps being brought up [unintelligible]. When it comes to technology, the Society of Automotive Engineers has created a standardization, the levels of economy indicating whether a car has zero automation all the way to full automation. Whether that car is fully autonomous. Here is a simply image and it shows that in terms of being fully autonomous we are actually about right here. Two point five. The reason why we’re at about 2.5 is because now we are having some autonomous technology being integrated into cars that are being built now. These are the new lists of semi-autonomous technology out there. This is adaptive cruise control. You can pretty much sit in your car and use cruise control. It can sense the car in front of it, and see how fast it’s going and it creates a buffer by maintaining a speed level. It’s called lane keeping assistance and essentially the car reads the road lines, which have to be clearly marked, and then pretty much you can take your hands off the wheel. This is from 2014, and there is a YouTube video on it, so if anyone is interested, you can download it.
More terminology. You have the standards of vehicle to vehicle technology where cars are actually talking to themselves and sharing your WiFi data. There is also vehicle data infrastructure technology, where the car is talking to transportation infrastructure, such as stop lights and pedestrians. [unintelligible] I think Kate mentioned a little of that at the end. If that were to be labeled, it would be vehicle to infrastructure, cars talking to [unintelligible]. Just to give you some information on where Seattle is at with vehicle to infrastructure technology. The way that SDOT communicates any type of issue that’s going on on the roads, they’re doing it through Twitter and through dynamic message, which, as we know, is really hard to maintain. When it comes to maintenance, it’s very hard.
How do they work? They use a high definition map. It’s brand new. It uses these elements and this is [unintelligible], ultra-sonic sensors, scanners, radar [unintelligible]. I’m going to go over all of these.
This right here is using a laser that shoots out light beams and then it creates an image. So this is what they look like. They’re usually on top of here. Have you all seen them? So that’s light arc and it spins 360 and then it creates almost like one of those toys where you put your hand in the metal and then it shows you the other side of your hand.
Another part to high definition maps are ultra-sonic sensors and if you look at new cars or cars within the next five years, you’re going to see these dots. And they actually put out sounds and that allows for — if you’re backing up, the car will make a sound so that you know you got too close to another car.
This is a Tesla right here. It depicts what is around the area when it comes to the car. So, with that, understanding that you have cameras, that you have radar, GPS, WiFi detection, etc. This is probably the most common question when I’m in an Uber and people are asking when are we going to start seeing these vehicles. That really depends on collaboration, outreach and knowledge of the community, and also understanding that right now, the tech agencies are really not wanting to talk with government agencies. They are afraid that the legislation that will be put out will limit (their creativity). When I did this presentation in April, [unintelligible]. Right now there are 21 and just recently governor Inslee in June signed legislation allowing or acknowledging tech companies saying hey, you know, we are all for it. Come and test your autonomous vehicles here.
Before that, in 2016, — I’m not sure what you all know about this — ut Google actually test drove their self-driving car in Kirkland. It didn’t get too much press. But most recently, this is Torque Robotics and their self-driving tech company. I pretty much wanted to provide the 101 when it comes to autonomous vehicles. If there are other questions I can glean from that, I am more than happy to answer.
Jose Vasquez: Thank you. Questions?
Harte Daniels: Young people and children. When do you start … [unintelligible].
Yes Segura: In February and March, I’m going to be introducing a design group or possibly a hack-a-thon. It’s still in the works. I know you don’t like hack-a-thons….
Harte Daniels: How are you going to introduce a very young person to a hack-a-thon?
Yes Segura: To answer your first question, it’s going to be at Impact Hub, the date is uncertain. We’re essentially going to be doing the same thing that I did with my educational background, but also it’s about what the kids have when they provide their comments and feedback, and providing that back to the City for their policy interpretations.
Harte Daniels: So, you have an outreach plan for all of the other people who are low income not children?
Yes Segura: Yes.
Jose Vasquez: And, I think the recommendations that you’re doing and can bring up to CTAB can also be helpful to inform people on how to best reach those populations.
Harte Daniels: It’s a little bit short a time period, so I was assuming you already had a plan.
Jose Vasquez: I think just in general, it doesn’t have to be for this in particular, but those are very valid concerns, and I think together we can highlight what are the best practices.
Harte Daniels: Is this for everybody, not just children?
Jose Vasquez: Absolutely. Any other questions?
Rebecca Rocha: I have a comment on that. Although we know that there’s talk about testing smart cars for the older community … [unintelligible].
Yes Segura: Yes. That’s one of the benefits of AV as providing accessibility options for all. If you’re not fully able, or whether or not you’re economically gifted, it’s going to provide options for people that don’t have those options.
Kate Garman: There was a great opportunity from the [unintelligible] regional council on what specifically the aging population and autonomous vehicles. It’s actually a way to get people who don’t want to drive to get around. And they are spending $100 thousand to survey that population to see how to best adapt the use of AVs for the aging population, and will frame it for other cities to use. So, I know that there are funded opportunities.
Harte Daniels: Does that necessarily mean disabled or [unintelligible].
Kate Garman: Specifically, it’s 60 and over, I believe.
Harte Daniels: I’m just asking that the conversation be broadened, and that’s all. That includes a lot of people. When anybody says, older people or younger people, we automatically go to disabled. And the two are not necessarily inclusive, so just keep an open mind.
Jose Vasquez: One last question.
Joneil Sampana: I’m curious. In what ways, specifically, would CTAB contribute to your work? In what ways can we work together?
Yes Segura: That’s something I have to look into. I’m just really happy to present. This is something that I’m dedicating my whole career to.
Jose Vasquez: I think there is a good opportunity, because I’ve been talking with Heather Lewis and Torgie Madison about maybe possibly merging the Privacy Committee and E-Gov to do more of a Smart City as we’re moving forward, and I think all of these aspects fall into that. And this could be part of that conversation.
Comment: We need more volunteers!
Cass Magnuski: How would an AV mix with ordinary cars? Old clunkers? If I drive one straight at you in your AV, what happens?
Yes Segura: When it came to making the policy recommendations, we noticed that people were just saying, okay, we need to have a separate lane. And that’s probably something that’s going to come up during the design phase. So, understanding that in Madrona, they put out a WiFi for the corridor, but it doesn’t speak to the public, it doesn’t gather any feedback from the public, such as saying we really do need to have this. But they’re providing recommendations that if you use the HOV lane, this is something that I’ve thought about in the past, we adapt some of the current infrastructure that we have now. Because we can’t build more. It’s too expensive. So, we would essentially be using the HOV lane to do semi-autonomous, but it’s going to have to be depending on different types of urban settings. So here, we’re going to use a highway. It’s only going to be for the highway. But if you’re in a City setting, there are different kinds of street types. That’s something that has to be discussed further.
Cass Magnuski: And peoples’ jobs? As drivers?
Yes Segura: Oh, yes. That’s why I wrote that article, because I thought, wow, you’re going to eliminate a lot of jobs. And not a lot of people are thinking about this. So, I wrote that with the understanding that as an Uber driver you gain skills, and that can be used to [unintelligible].
Chance Hunt: And not to mention freight delivery, all of those kinds of drivers. Those are some of the highest employment opportunities across the entire country. So, it has big ramifications to the economy beyond individuals. Individual drivers and their personal cars.
Jose Vasquez: Okay, so I think that’s all the time we have for this. Thank you so much. That was a good presentation. So, we have an option. We can either go into the networking break, or move on with the agenda. How does everyone feel about that? Stay with the agenda? All right, let’s do it. Is Charlotte Lunday on the line?
Charlotte Lunday: Yes, I’m here.
Jose Vasquez: Great! Coming up next, we have a brief presentation on the department of Homeland Security’s social media screening. Is is a rule change update?
HOMELAND SECURITY SOCIAL MEDIA SCREENING UPDATE
Charlotte Lunday: Yes. It’s a proposed rule to update or formalize screening for anyone who is traveling. The Department of Homeland Security application for naturalization, the final application, all of those things apply to anyone who has come from another country into the United States. If you’d like, Jose, I don’t know if you want to say any introductory thoughts?
Jose Vasquez: Yes. That’s where we should have started. Thank you. This came about when we saw the rule update come out. I had a brief conversation with Charlotte Lunday at the TMF celebration, on what we can do. For those of you who aren’t aware, Charlotte is our super volunteer who was part of the team that helped us put the FCC comments together on the net neutrality issue. She stepped up once more to help us get some information on this proposed rule update on how the new Department of Homeland Security policies are going to affect in particular privacy of immigrant communities. She sent out a document which we will include in the minutes, which summarizes really well what the story is behind how this proposed rule update came about, and not what just this administration, but previous administrations have done to track more information from our population, in particular the immigration population. What the big fear is: can they use this against individuals who are trying to either go from resident to U.S. citizen. Can they use the information collected through social media to determine whether they are eligible for adjustment of status. That’s pretty scary. There is a timeline. The deadline for comments is October 18, so there is not enough time for us at CTAB to do a formal comment, but I think, as individuals, if this is something that interests you, let’s follow up after the meeting and figure out how we can advocate for this. As CTAB, maybe we can vote on a brief statement asking the City of Seattle to be more vocal against this. But I guess, first, we wanted to open a conversation to see if anybody has any thoughts about it.
Charlotte Lunday: Yes. If I could talk through the summary and some of the issues that I have and what I think might be helpful. And then open it up really briefly.
Recently, on October 2, the Department of State made some similar changes. They directed their employees to collect more social media information. Within this proposal from the Department of Homeland Security, however, there are a lot of different types of information the they are collecting. They are collecting employment information, family information, travel history, a whole lot of things. The Department of Homeland Security would like to formalize some pilot programs that they’ve had underway for a while, in which they collect social media handles and similar information. After the San Bernadino shooting, the Obama administration began some pilot programs asking people entering the U.S. to voluntarily provide social media information. Whenever there was some kind of piece of information or something in the interview that flagged for extra scrutiny, they would also collect social media information. The Office of Inspector General and the Department of Homeland Security reviewed these pilot programs, and came out with an inconclusive report about their effectiveness. They haven’t really developed methods for determining how effective these programs are. And yet, under the Trump administration, they would like to expand them. So, for anybody who comes into the United States, has filed for a visa or anything through the Department of Homeland Security, the DHS keeps what they call alien files, a collection of information about these people. DHS now wants to include — and this is a quote — “Social media handles and aliases, associated items, fileable information and search results” in those files. And that would affect permanent residents as well as naturalized citizens. This raised some additional concerns about First Amendment free speech issues.
What gets me about this rule so far is that it’s very vague. If you read the rule, it sounds bureaucratic, so there is not a lot of information there. In particular, it’s not clear how the administration is defining social media. I have no idea what ‘associated identifiable information’ means. I don’t know if they meant to say, ‘search results,’ like they were going to Google somebody’s name, aor if they were actually meaning to collect search histories. I don’t know how they propose to obtain these, or whether there will be any adverse action if anybody doesn’t fully comply with the request to provide that information. It’s also opaque. It’s not clear what the administration wants to use this information for.
Civil liberties advocates have raised concerns about surveillance of social media as a means to suppress speech. That’s particularly true, I think, for [unintelligible]. I think that’s of particular concern. And so, with all of these open questions, it’s a little bit difficult to even provide feedback for comments. But I do believe this is something where someone’s individual story going through the immigration process would be particularly useful.
I have interned with the Brennan Center for Justice, which is a non-partisan policy think tank, based out of New York University. The Brennan does some pretty incredible work. They have a program called the Liberty and National Security Program, so they track a lot of this type of issue. Sorting through ideas of effective ways to be involved with the folks at the Brennan Center, and they mention that the Center for Democracy and Technology actually is developing a comment that they are trying to get other institutions to sign onto, so if we have an interest in this, when the Center for Democracy and Technology is ready with that. I can pass along that comment draft to the board.
Other ways I think might be helpful in getting involved, it’s really important to get some more information from the Department of Homeland Security, because this affects a lot of people, and a lot of them are from Seattle. And I don’t know how people can make good decisions for themselves if they don’t have enough information. That might involve Freedom of Information Act requests, or putting pressure on our Members of Congress to use their authority to get DHS to turn over information, potentially writing op-eds for a community forum. Those are some of the ideas that I have thought about. That’s what I have so far. It’s a little bit of a heavy lift. There are a lot of different types of laws and policies at play here. We think it’s a fairly complicated issue. It’s just extraordinarily vague. But if anyone has any questions, I can try and field those.
Karia Wong: Yes, I just have one question. Is there any particular social media platform that they are targeting? The reason that I’m asking is because I know that people in China cannot use Facebook. That means they won’t have a Facebook account until they move to the United States. But after they move here, most often relatives overseas do not use Facebook, so that means it’s really strange that they would use Facebook. But I’m just curious. What other social media are they aiming to screen to collect that data?
Charlotte Lunday: If I heard the question correctly, the question was what types of social media is the administration looking at. That’s actually an open question. Social media is not defined in the proposed rule. So, one might think of Facebook and Twitter, etc., but I think if we go around the world, there are other social media sites that people use. And I think, even in the U.S., I’m guessing YouTube would qualify, and Spotify. If you have a profile on Amazon, does that qualify? Or if you read reviews on Amazon, or Yelp! or anything like that, does that qualify as social media? That is currently unknown. And so, if you think about the consequences of lying on these forms, if you put out what you think is your social media handle, but you miss something that the administration considers a social media web site, are you going to face consequences for that?
Mark DeLoura: The visa application form that they updated just a couple of months ago, all it says on it is ‘Please provide your unique username for any web site or applications you have used to create or share content as part of a public profile in the last five years.” Social media platforms. Social media identifiers.
Charlotte Lunday: That brings up another question. If I’m not mistaken, at one point Google set up profiles for people. I don’t know if that’s happened in the last five years. If that’s a thing, are you lying when ….
Mark DeLoura: They don’t say to give all of the platforms. They don’t say to add more pages if you don’t have enough room. It’s not a great form.
Stephen Maheshwary: Are they looking to collect this retroactively for existing permanent residents, in addition to newly arriving immigrants? Or is it just for newly arriving visa holders? What is the timeline of the person’s citizenhood, or state of citizenhood that they’re collecting information about?
Charlotte Lunday: Are you asking if the administration is going to collect information on naturalized citizens?
Stephen Maheshwary: No, I was actually asking if they were a permanent resident and have been living in America for several years, would they try to retroactively collect data on them.
Charlotte Lunday: [unintelligible] It looks like it applies to lawful permanent residents, regardless of timing, as well as citizens. Again, I don’t know how logistically they would go about getting that information. It’s still an open question. It’s really frustrating. For everything that can be said about Ajit Pai, that proposal to the FCC was really well written and laid out. There is usually litigation to follow these things but I think that that is permissible for the administration not to have to give more detail until after the comment period. But, unfortunately, that makes it difficult to provide comments.
Jose Vasquez: So, it sounds like this is kind of a catch-all policy where they can come back and say, see?, this is what allows us to do this. At least that’s how I’m interpreting it. There were a few articles that came out to inform people, but with this administration, there is always new coming out. So that kind of fell by the way, and it sound like it’s a really big deal. And it’s not been getting a lot of attention. That’s why I was hoping that bringing it up to CTAB to see what we can do elevate this and have a conversation. I don’t know what the process is to advocate for our representatives in Congress and ask these questions, to hold the FCC and Homeland Security accountable, to be more specific on how they’re going to use this data and what they’re going to use it for, and what data they are collecting specifically. Given the short timeline, that’s a lot. So I want to be cognizant of that. Does anybody else have any other comments?
Rebecca Rocha: I know that perhaps organizing the way that they did net neutrality, I know that the City was really good about getting the signatures and bringing it to their attention that they wanted to keep the net neutral. Also, by going back to ethics in technology and creating a really clear line in the sand so that they can absorb that information that they are collecting from peoples’ profiles, we must be very clear. Like, cops can’t search your car without a warrant. This is perhaps the same because the law has to change with the times.
Jose Vasquez: What I’ve been hearing with this administration is immigrants are classified differently than citizens. With citizens, you have to go through due process, but they are assuming that with immigrants, you don’t have to go through that. And that’s a big issue.
Harte Daniels: If I understand it correctly, it will affect citizens, as well. The Department of Homeland Security, under Bush, enveloped a lot of things. They can claim national security for what policies and procedures are in place now, but we have to make sure that it doesn’t get out of control.
Charlotte Lunday: One of the potential research questions that I had was, the height of the President’s power is on issues of foreign affairs and national security when the executive branch has the backing of legislation passed by Congress. That is the peak of those powers, which is why we see a lot of expansive national security legislation. The interesting thing about [unintelligible] is that it does affect citizens. And that’s interesting because we do have some very robust data collection programs that the DHS and other organizations carry out. But under those programs, there are restrictions for what you can collect from a U.S. citizen. If you have a publically available social media handle, it probably isn’t protected. But if you keep everything private, if you’re not searchable, I think you get into some stickier situations. Our Constitution affords greater rights to citizens over non-citizens, greater protections from the federal government’s actions. That’s where I think we get into a grey area that’s kind of strange.
About the timeline, the comments are due on October 18. However, in the document I made up, the initial thought I had for things that could be done, all would take additional work and research. So, however much the board wants to commit to, a possibility, if the board or our Members of Congress are able to gain more information, something that we might be able to do–I would need to look into it a little bit more–but most administrative agencies have a way for you to file a petition. So, you can ask the agency to propose a rule. That actually apparently happened with a lot of the EPA’s regulations on CO2 that started off a chain of incredible environmental policy making through K-12 schools filings of petitions for rule making. If we find in the information that this plan, these practices, seem abusive, or ineffective, or anything like that, then we can file petitions for the Department of Homeland Security to reconsider it. Or potentially make a new rule, or change their policies. But also, we can use that information to put pressure on Congress again to exert more oversight. I think about engaging government leaders, that there are different strategies that can be used. We’ll probably need some more time to think it out.
Jose Vasquez: I also want to do a time check. We have 20 minutes left….
Charlotte Lunday: Yes.
Jose Vasquez: …and have two committee meetings, Cable and Broadband and Digital Inclusion. How much time do you need? Do you want to continue this conversation, or can I start wrapping up. It sounds like what we can do is whoever is interested in engaging with this more can have an offline conversation to get more into the nitty gritty and figure out what next steps are. Who is interested in being part of that? After the meeting, we’ll write down names and make sure we get an email chain going and then maybe at the next CTAB meeting, we’ll figure out what we can do, whether it’s an official statement by CTAB or as individuals. How can we recruit more people to get engaged and figure out more. Because I think there are a lot of unknowns. How does that sound, Charlotte?
Charlotte Lunday: I think we said we’re getting a list of people who would like to be involved, and then work offline. Being on the phone, I may have missed it.
Jose Vasquez: Yes, that’s pretty much it.
Charlotte Lunday: I think you have my email, so I will just await my instructions.
Jose Vasquez: Okay. Sounds good. After the meeting, we’ll figure out the next steps. Thank you so much for the information and pulling all of that together.
Charlotte Lunday: Oh, you’re welcome. No problem.
Jose Vasquez: Okay. So, now we’ll go to the Cable and Broadband Committee.
CABLE AND BROADBAND COMMITTEE UPDATE
Karia Wong: We met two weeks ago to talk about our next plan for the Broadband Committee. We discussed trying to create evaluation tools to evaluate current plans in the following area. These are tentative, so we might change them. Number one is accountability. We want to measure and compare the plans that we have for low income internet with the regional and national data. The second one is utilization. How many people are benefiting from the plans, and what is the penetration rate? Those are the things that we want to look for. The other is outreach effort. How many people actually get to know about these plans? Also, evaluation process. A lot of the time, the application process is a stopper for people trying to get low income internet. We want to know how much time is needed, and how smooth the current process is, especially for people of color. The last is customer service. We envision that these evaluation tools will give us some sort of direction. and input for future that will hopefully make for greater benefits for the immigrant communities. We are planning to work on this for the next two or three months. Please let me know if you are interested, because I do see that there are some common areas and we might be able to collaborate.
Jose Vasquez: Okay. And do you have a meeting scheduled?
Karia Wong: We will have a meeting on October 30. It’s the last Monday of every month on the sixth floor of the Municipal Tower.
Chance Hunt: You were mentioning looking at or getting access to regional and national data. Is that your committee that’s going to be doing that?
Karia Wong: We are aiming to, trying to get a comparison, because we do know the price here, locally, but what are the prices of other low income internet.
Chance Hunt: Okay. That’s the price information, but it also sounded like you want the uptake or adoption rate, as well. I’ll just throw in that we, the City, will be getting its own survey of tech access and adoption rates. What you are discussing would likely be the kinds of things we’d be interested in surveying once again here locally in Seattle. I just want to make sure that if we’re off doing an effort that you could find valuable, either by grabbing questions that could be asked in a survey we’re already doing, but also, whatever it is that you are doing, how can we go after detail?
Karia Wong: We are not trying to get user data. We are trying to evaluate how effective it is, how are people getting benefits from those programs. Because, oftentimes, we know that it’s low income, but is it really low income? Is it really affordable? How affordable? We want to come up with some sort of measurement. It’s going to be a framework to evaluate a program. It is not the actual user. It’s important for us to know how many users are actually using the service. But, more importantly, is it effective, or do we have enough people signing up for the plan, and what the application process is like.
Jose Vasquez: That sounds like an opportunity to develop questions with the Broadband Committee.
Chance Hunt: Well, yes, and with all of CTAB. Make it a larger effort in concert with all of the things that we’re doing to get people connected. Just as long as I understand what you’re doing.
Harte Daniels: Both the City of Seattle’s and Karia’s survey you might also want to look at a data point of retention. Do they continue using it? Do they drop it? For what reason? The companies track their sales, etc., and retention numbers are the most important data points we can look at in order to know how well things are working. So, it’s not just adoption and getting the message out, but can or will they continue.
Jose Vasquez: All right. Thank you.
Steven Maheshwary: I don’t know if you mentioned this, but actual signal strength versus what was committed to in the plan.
Harte Daniels: If your tool is still active, you might perhaps put a link to that. What was it called?
Jose Vasquez: We already have … there was an online survey that was put out by Seattle IT to get that data in particular. I don’t know if it’s still available.
Chance Hunt: I’ll look into that.
Harte Daniels: So, just put a link in your survey.
Jose Vasquez: We have some preliminary data, but I think it’s good to continuously check that. I know we don’t have time today, but eventually I do want to invite Century Link to report on why the Lifeline program was discontinued, maybe at the next CTAB meeting.
Harte Daniels: In reference to the net neutrality, there was a FOIA to the FCC [unintelligible] against ISPs. As it was making its way through, [unintelligible]….
Jose Vasquez: We will move on. Any more questions about Broadband? You have your next meeting scheduled. Great. We’ll move on to the Digital Inclusion Committee.
DIGITAL INCLUSION COMMITTEE UPDATE
Chris Alejano: Last month, the Digital Inclusion Committee met and continued discussion around launching the Digital Literacy Network. I shared the full proposal, or at least the proposal that we looked at, last month with the entire board, but I’m not sure folks have had the chance to read it. More or less, the contents that David Keyes, with the support of Chance Hunt, put together a purpose statement, a broad definition of what we are imagining digital literacy to be. How it is defined, as well as potential projects that this digital network could take on. Just by way of a reminder, the idea behind the network is really to help advance some of the goals that are laid out in the Digital Equity Plan as well as engage community based organizations and local businesses and corporations to that effort as well.
By and large, the committee was all for it, and are excited to partner with Seattle IT as the lead in trying to start and also to shepherd the work and convene folks to the table to establish the network. At the meeting, we talked about identifying a few dates when we could organize a series of meet-ups. The first would be Thursday, November 9, tentatively 9:30 to 11:00; Saturday, November 11, from 10:00 to 12:00; and then Tuesday, November 13, tentatively from 4:30 to 6:00; with the last one being an e-meet up. But we’ll be in some location where people who want to meet in person can be accommodated.
But again, the idea behind the meet ups was really to get folks engaged in the work and in the network; communicate what the overall purpose would be; gauge interest in participation in that. We realize that if we want this network to live beyond Seattle IT and CTAB board members, we ought to cultivate a leadership team, a core group of folks who can help steer this work. I think we have created enough of a framework of sorts to help guide that discussion, but again, I think trying to pull folks from the community, and businesses or otherwise, that can help lift this thing would be hugely beneficial.
There was a second conversation that Steven Maheshwary, I was on it for a little bit, as well as Scottie, to try to figure out locations and all of that. I’m not sure whether we have actually finalized that.
Steven Maheshwary: I think those locations are still up in the air. I think we wanted to have regional, spread out areas. We wanted to have one in the north, one in the south. I think some options in the north were Solid Ground on 45th in Wallingford; Lake City Community Center and Library; or Literacy Source in the University District. We’re open to options in the north, so give us your recommendations for community centers or other meeting centers or areas. For south Seattle, we’re considering Delridge Community Center, the West Seattle Senior Center or Library, or the Youngstown Cultural Center, El Centro, or the Beacon Hill Library. And then, we’re also considering for central locations the public library downtown, the Municipal Tower, Yesler Community Center, Seattle Central College, and we’re going to have to cross-reference for traffic, but again, I think these are still open for consideration.
Harte Daniels: You know, the problem with some of those sites, if you set the meetings up for the 11th or 13th, there’s a holiday for the public libraries that you want to use. That’s Veterans Day. So, you might have to either juggle or consider another day. Does anybody have the calendar to see when it is celebrated this year?
Chance Hunt: It’s the 11th of November, so for the public libraries, they will close on the day of the holiday, if it’s open seven days a week. The City will probably close on the 10th.
Jose Vasquez: Another resource I wanted to mention is the YMCA. They also will host meetings for any committee.
Steven Maheshwary: Yes. I thought of that, as well. Get Engaged.
Jose Vasquez: Yes.
Chris Alejano: The committee is obviously on board with the work, and we’re going to try to support or otherwise help facilitate the planning process with David Keyes, Chance Hunt, and company. David offered the idea of is this something that we want the board’s endorsement to make it official that this is CTAB supported, or otherwise a collaboration.
Jose Vasquez: How does everybody feel? It came out of the Digital Inclusion Committee, so I think, naturally, we’re all in support of it.
Chris Alejano: I don’t know if there should be a formal action taken or not.
Jose Vasquez: Just to co-host the meetings? We can have an official vote on it, since it is going to be a public event. Do we have a motion?
Chris Alejano: I move to co-sponsor the Digital Literacy Network.
Jose Vasquez: Is there a second?
Steven Maheshwary: Second.
Jose Vasquez: Any comments, questions? Nope? All in favor? Motion approved. We are co-sponsoring the Digital Literacy Network.
Harte Daniels: Other matters on Digital Inclusion: I missed your announcement, so I sent out to the committee that this month is National Disability Employment Awareness Month, and believe it or not, this comes off of the federal government site that shows different ways to involve your employees. That’s October. November is First Nations, First People, and we still have no representation from them. I was speaking to some people that I know at the Duwamish long house recently, but they’re not quite certain of what you’re doing, so [unintelligible]….
Jose Vasquez: Yes, if you have any contacts….
Harte Daniels: Yes. And then, all of the various things that we’re done on the federal level, this past week, Sessions made it okay to discriminate against trans-gender people. These are people who have a very difficult time with employment, and even in gaining an education. There are a number of groups that are under attack by the current administration, and they always pull out the weirdest things, but employment, education, tech, that has not been touched. But there are groups wondering about working with the TMF or working with people about employment, it’s better not to have them on the disability list.
Jose Vasquez: Maybe we can have a follow-up conversation to talk about this. We’re out of time, so I want to be respectful of that.
Harte Daniels: Those are the three things that I have.
Jose Vasquez: I think disability awareness and how to have a conversation about it, I would really like to set aside some time.
Harte Daniels: I’ll send that to you.
Jose Vasquez: Thank you. I’ll follow up with you.
Chris Alejano: We’ll be meeting next Wednesday, October 18, 6:00 to 7:30, in the sitting room at our usual hangout. I’ll send that out to the listserv, and mailing list as well.
Jose Vasquez: Great. Thank you. So, with that, it’s 8:01. Sorry, everybody.
WRAP UP, SUMMARY AND NEXT STEPS
Jose Vasquez: I guess we have a follow up on the Department of Homeland Security rule change. We have surveys coming up from Broadband Committee. We have Digital Literacy coalition meetups. Have I missed anything?
Karia Wong: I just want to clarify. I think the City is going to do the survey, right?
Chance Hunt: We are doing the quadrennial technology survey, so what we’re going to be interested in is the finer points that you’re working on. If there are questions that we can include for areas we should do some deeper dives in, that would be helpful to us. We haven’t developed the tool yet, so it’s good timing to be aware. Sounds like they’re going to look at available data, though.
Jose Vasquez: Thanks for the clarification. And with that, meeting is adjourned. Thank you, everybody.