Open Source Intelligence surveillance

Robert Hurd made this Freedom of Information request to Sheffield City Council

This request has been closed to new correspondence. Contact us if you think it should be reopened.

The request was partially successful.

Dear Sheffield City Council,

Thank you very much for your replies concerning RIPA and covert surveillance.

Can you identify if you hold any records, guidances or policies for surveillance of individuals or groups through public posts on social media also known as Open Source Intelligence (OSINT).

With regards to the Facebook platform:

Can you identify any records stored by Sheffield City Council that contains information from public posts or groups. Excluding information and posts on Sheffield City Council's page from 01/01/2016 - present.

Can you quantify the total number of OSINT Facebook records collected, retained and shared by the council?

If records are identified, have these records been integrated with other data sets?

Yours faithfully,

Robert Hurd

FOI, Sheffield City Council

Re – Freedom of Information Request – Reference – FOI /551
 
Dear Robert Hurd,
 
Thank you for your recent request for information relating to Open Source
Intelligence surveillance which we received on 13/07/2017.
 
This has been logged as a Freedom of Information Request, and will be
dealt with under the Freedom of Information Act.  The reference number for
your request can be found above.
 
The Freedom of Information Act states that we must respond to you within
20 working days, therefore, you should expect to hear a response from us
by 10/08/2017.
 
In the meantime, if you have any queries please contact us on the number
below.
 
Thank you.
 
Yours sincerely,
 
Resources Business Support
Moorfoot Level 8 West Wing
Sheffield S1 4PL
Tel : 0114 20 53478
E-mail : [1][Sheffield City Council request email]
? Please don't print this e-mail unless you really need to
 
 
_____________________________________________
From: Robert Hurd [[2]mailto:[FOI #418085 email]]
Sent: 13 July 2017 04:17
To: FOI
Subject: Freedom of Information request - Open Source Intelligence
surveillance
 
 
Dear Sheffield City Council,
 
Thank you very much for your replies concerning RIPA and covert
surveillance.
 
Can you identify if you hold any records, guidances or policies for
surveillance  of individuals or groups through public posts on social
media also known as Open Source Intelligence (OSINT).
 
With regards to the Facebook platform:
 
Can you identify any records stored by Sheffield City Council that
contains information from public posts or groups. Excluding information
and posts on Sheffield City Council's page from 01/01/2016 - present.
 
Can you quantify the total number of OSINT Facebook records collected,
retained and shared by the council?
 
If records are identified, have these records been integrated with other
data sets?
 
Yours faithfully,
 
Robert Hurd
 
-------------------------------------------------------------------
 
Please use this email address for all replies to this request:
[3][FOI #418085 email]
 
Is [4][Sheffield City Council request email] the wrong address for Freedom of Information
requests to Sheffield City Council? If so, please contact us using this
form:
[5]https://www.whatdotheyknow.com/change_re...
 
Disclaimer: This message and any reply that you make will be published on
the internet. Our privacy and copyright policies:
[6]https://www.whatdotheyknow.com/help/offi...
 
For more detailed guidance on safely disclosing information, read the
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If you find this service useful as an FOI officer, please ask your web
manager to link to us from your organisation's FOI page.
 
 

show quoted sections

FOI, Sheffield City Council

Re – Freedom of Information Request – Reference – FOI /551
 
Dear Robert Hurd,
 
Thank you for your recent request for information relating to Open Source
Intelligence surveillance which we received on 13/07/2017.
 
Please find below, Sheffield City Council’s response to your request:
 
 
 1. Can you identify if you hold any records, guidance or policies for
surveillance  of individuals or groups through public posts on social
media also known as Open Source Intelligence (OSINT).
 
We do not have any records, guidance or policies for the use of Open
Source Intelligence
 
2. With regards to the Facebook platform:
 
a. Can you identify any records stored by Sheffield City Council that
contains information from public posts or groups. Excluding information
and posts on Sheffield City Council's page from 01/01/2016 - present.
 
It is possible council services are accessing and holding information
sourced from social media posts.  The Council doesn’t have a central log
to monitor this activity and there is no legal requirement to do so
because the information is public information.  To be able to identify if
council officers are storing information from social media sites, we would
have to ask every service and team, and possibly member of staff, which
would exceed the cost limit of 18 hours.  If you require records relating
to any subject matter in particular, please confirm what this is and we
will endeavour to retrieve these files.
 
b. Can you quantify the total number of OSINT Facebook records collected,
retained and shared by the council?
 
See above, 2a.
 
c. If records are identified, have these records been integrated with
other data sets?
 
See above, 2a.
 
I hope the information we have provided is of help to your enquiries.  If
you have any queries about this response, please do not hesitate to
contact us.
 
If you are unhappy with the response you have received in relation to your
request, you are entitled to have this reviewed.  You can ask for an
internal review by either writing to the above address or by emailing
[1][Sheffield City Council request email].
 
If you remain dissatisfied with the outcome of your internal review, you
can contact the Information Commissioners Office. The Information
Commissioner can be contacted at: The Information Commissioner's Office,
Wycliffe House, Water Lane, Wilmslow, Cheshire SK9 5AF, telephone 0303 123
1113, or for further details see their website [2]www.ico.org.uk
 
Kind Regards,
 
Resources Business Support
Moorfoot Level 8 West Wing
Sheffield S1 4PL
Tel : 0114 20 53478
E-mail : [3]FOI @sheffield.gov.uk
? Please don't print this e-mail unless you really need to
 
 
_____________________________________________

show quoted sections

Dear FOI,

Thank you for response. So my understandiing is.

It is possible council services are accessing and holding information
sourced from social media posts.

There is no central log, or oversight or monitor of this activity.

As a sample to gauge how widespread this practice is and how much information has been collected, could you please ask the Highway Maintenance Dept, the Councillor Bryan Lodge, and Paul Billington from the Management Team to identify records they hold or have seen that contains:

1. Information sourced from Open Source Intelligence from the Facebook Platform.

2. The quantity of the total number of OSINT Facebook records collected,
retained and department and members of staff listed above.

Keyword that you may find useful to aid your search could be but not limited to, "faceebok", "fb", "group", "post", "screenshot from", "screen capture from". Asking members of staff who have conducted or received OSINT data should also be able to provide information that should help you identify records.

Separately,

I also, have a content with your claim that you have no legal right "to monitor this activity and there is no legal requirement to do so"

OSINT records are still governed by data protection principles, a member of public has a right to know what information a public body holds of them, this also includes public information that the council holds collected from public sources. By having no oversight or policies regarding this you cannot be satisfying your duties under the Data Protection Act.

3. As such, can you identify how a Subject Access Request can be fulfilled if there is no central log or monitoring? From your response it seems that you currently "have to ask every service and team, and possibly member of staff".

4. With no central monitoring, polices, guidance or oversight can you identify how you process this data fairly.

Yours sincerely,

Robert Hurd

FOI, Sheffield City Council

Re – Freedom of Information Request – Reference – FOI /662
 
Dear Robert Hurd
 
Thank you for your recent request for information relating to Open Source
Intelligence which we received on 31/07/2017.
 
This has been logged as a Freedom of Information Request, and will be
dealt with under the Freedom of Information Act.  The reference number for
your request can be found above.
 
The Freedom of Information Act states that we must respond to you within
20 working days, therefore, you should expect to hear a response from us
by 29/08/2017.
 
In the meantime, if you have any queries please contact us on the number
below.
 
Thank you.
 
Yours sincerely,
 
Resources Business Support
Moorfoot Level 8 West Wing
Sheffield S1 4PL
Tel : 0114 20 53478
E-mail : [1][Sheffield City Council request email]
? Please don't print this e-mail unless you really need to
 
 
_____________________________________________
From: Robert Hurd [[2]mailto:[FOI #418085 email]]
Sent: 31 July 2017 14:51
To: FOI
Subject: Re: Response – Freedom of Information Request – Reference – FOI
/551
 
Dear FOI,
 
Thank you for response. So my understandiing is.
 
It is possible council services are accessing and holding information
sourced from social media posts.
 
There is no central log, or oversight or monitor of this activity.
 
As a sample to gauge how widespread this practice is and how much
information has been collected, could you please ask the Highway
Maintenance Dept, the Councillor Bryan Lodge, and Paul Billington from the
Management Team to identify records they hold or have seen that contains:
 
1. Information sourced from Open Source Intelligence from the Facebook
Platform.
 
2. The quantity of the total number of OSINT Facebook records collected,
retained and department and members of staff listed above.
 
Keyword  that you may find useful to aid your search could be but not
limited to, "faceebok", "fb", "group", "post", "screenshot from", "screen
capture from". Asking members of staff who have conducted or received
OSINT data should also be able to provide information that should help you
identify records.
 
Separately,
 
I also, have a content with your claim that you have no legal right "to
monitor this activity and there is no legal requirement to do so"
 
OSINT records are still governed by data protection principles, a member
of public has a right to know what information a public body holds of
them, this also includes public information that the council holds
collected from public sources. By having no oversight or policies
regarding this you cannot be satisfying your duties under the Data
Protection Act.
 
3. As such, can you identify how a Subject Access Request can be fulfilled
if there is no central log or monitoring? From your response it seems that
you currently "have to ask every service and team, and possibly member of
staff".
 
4. With no central monitoring, polices, guidance  or oversight can you
identify how you process this data fairly.
 
Yours sincerely,
 
Robert Hurd
 

show quoted sections

FOI, Sheffield City Council

Re – Freedom of Information Request – Reference – FOI /662
 
Dear Mr Hurd,
 
Thank you for your recent request for information relating to Open Source
Intelligence surveillance which we received on 31/07/2017.
 
Please find below, Sheffield City Council’s response to your request:
 
It is possible council services are accessing and holding information
sourced from social media posts.
 
There is no central log, or oversight or monitor of this activity.
 
As a sample to gauge how widespread this practice is and how much
information has been collected, could you please ask the Highway
Maintenance Dept, the Councillor Bryan Lodge, and Paul Billington from the
Management Team to identify records they hold or have seen that contains:
 
1. Information sourced from Open Source Intelligence from the Facebook
Platform.
 
2. The quantity of the total number of OSINT Facebook records collected,
retained and department and members of staff listed above.
 
Keyword  that you may find useful to aid your search could be but not
limited to, "faceebok", "fb", "group", "post", "screenshot from", "screen
capture from". Asking members of staff who have conducted or received
OSINT data should also be able to provide information that should help you
identify records.
 
As we have already stated, the Council doesn’t have a central log to
monitor this activity and there is no legal requirement to do so because
the information is public information.  We appreciate that you have
narrowed your search and provided search criteria.  However, we are still
not able to collate this within the 18 hours we are obliged to spend
collating information for a Freedom of Information Request.  With the
“Highways Maintenance Department” alone there are around 140 staff and to
attempt to collate this information would involve a manual trawl of their
email accounts, paper files and electronic files particularly when
reviewing all documents containing the search terms you have identified in
order to then collate any relevant records of Social Media.  I am sorry
that we cannot help you with these enquiries as they remain exempt under
[1]Section 12 of the Freedom of Information Act. For ease of reference,
the cost limit (18hours or £450) is specified in the Freedom of
Information and Data Protection (Appropriate Limit and Fees) Regulations
2004 (SI 2004 No. 3244).
 
Separately,
 
I also, have a content with your claim that you have no legal right "to
monitor this activity and there is no legal requirement to do so"
 
OSINT records are still governed by data protection principles, a member
of public has a right to know what information a public body holds of
them, this also includes public information that the council holds
collected from public sources. By having no oversight or policies
regarding this you cannot be satisfying your duties under the Data
Protection Act.
 
3. As such, can you identify how a Subject Access Request can be fulfilled
if there is no central log or monitoring? From your response it seems that
you currently "have to ask every service and team, and possibly member of
staff".
 
The right of subject access under Section 7 of the Data Protection Act
1998 provides an individual with the right of access to personal
information the Council holds about them. In this regard you are correct
that information held by the Council in terms of Facebook/social media
posts may be captured by such a request. The Council does, upon receipt of
a request attempt to locate any information relevant to the request and
the form of enquiry made by the requestor. Certainly guidance provided by
the Information Commissioner’s Office does advise organisations (in its
related Code of Practice) to ask the requester for information “you
reasonably need to find the personal data covered by the request”. For
example if an individual asks for all information held by the Council we
are able to ask them to identify what interactions they have had with the
Council and what the focus of their request is, i.e. what specific
information they are hoping to obtain.
 
Please do note however, that there is no associated cost exemption
available under the Data Protection Act 1998 and the Council has to be
able to confirm if appropriate to the Information Commissioner that we
have completed a reason search for information.
 
4. With no central monitoring, polices, guidance  or oversight can you
identify how you process this data fairly.
 
In terms of fair processing Principle 1 of the Data Protection Act 1998
states that information must be processed fairly and lawfully but does not
mandate organisations to produce printed privacy notices in every instance
that personal data is collected or processed; certainly in the context of
publically available information. The Council identifies it’s processing
in our registration with the Information Commissioner’s Office and the
details on our website at:
[2]http://www.sheffield.gov.uk/utilities/fo...
and
[3]http://www.sheffield.gov.uk/home/your-ci....
 
In terms of the processing of such information any such records retained
in this manner should be held in accordance with a legitimate purpose of
the Council or in support of potential legal proceedings.
 
 
If you are unhappy with the response you have received in relation to your
request, you are entitled to have this reviewed.  You can ask for an
internal review by either writing to the above address or by emailing
[4][Sheffield City Council request email].
 
If you remain dissatisfied with the outcome of your internal review, you
can contact the Information Commissioners Office. The Information
Commissioner can be contacted at: The Information Commissioner's Office,
Wycliffe House, Water Lane, Wilmslow, Cheshire SK9 5AF, telephone 0303 123
1113, or for further details see their website [5]www.ico.org.uk
 
Kind Regards,
 
Resources Business Support
Moorfoot Level 8 West Wing
Sheffield S1 4PL
Tel : 0114 20 53478
E-mail : [6]FOI @sheffield.gov.uk
? Please don't print this e-mail unless you really need to
 
 
 
 
_____________________________________________

Dear Sheffield City Council,

Please pass this on to the person who conducts Freedom of Information reviews.

I am writing to request an internal review of Sheffield City Council's handling of my FOI request 'Open Source Intelligence surveillance' FOI /551 .

On 13 July 2017 I submitted a FOI requesting details on the following Open Source Intelligence the first part of my request was as follows

"Can you identify if you hold any records, guidances or policies for surveillance of individuals or groups through public posts on social media also known as Open Source Intelligence (OSINT)."

The response from the FOI team was:

"We do not have any records, guidance or policies for the use of Open
Source Intelligence"

In a letter from Steve Eccleston he states

"Following the Judge’s judgement this week, could you please inform your supporters by social media prior to August 23 2017 that the council will continue to view STAG & protesters’ social media postings for the purpose of gathering evidence in case of breach of the Court Orders. You will recall that the Court specifically forbad Named Defendants and Persons Unknown to"

There seems to be a policy for monitoring social media postings. Can you conduct an internal review to find out why this information was not available during my original FOI request.

A full history of my FOI request and all correspondence is available on the Internet at this address: https://www.whatdotheyknow.com/request/o...

Yours faithfully,

Robert Hurd

FOI, Sheffield City Council

Dear Robert Hurd,
 
Thank you for your response which we received on 19/08/2017 relating to
information we sent you regarding Open Source Intelligence surveillance. 
We are sorry to hear our response was not quite what you wanted.
 
I am writing to advise that we are treating this as an internal review. 
This has now been logged and will be carried out by a member of the team.
 
We will endeavour to provide a response within 20 working days, in this
case, by 18/09/2017.
 
In the meantime, if you have any queries please contact the team on 0114
20 53478.
 
Thank you.
 
Yours sincerely,
 
Resources Business Support
Moorfoot Level 8 West Wing
Sheffield S1 4PL
Tel : 0114 20 53478
E-mail : FOI @sheffield.gov.uk
P Please don't print this e-mail unless you really need to.
 
 
_____________________________________________
From: Robert Hurd [[1]mailto:[FOI #418085 email]]
Sent: 19 August 2017 03:57
To: FOI
Subject: Internal review of Freedom of Information request - Open Source
Intelligence surveillance
 
 
Dear Sheffield City Council,
 
Please pass this on to the person who conducts Freedom of Information
reviews.
 
I am writing to request an internal review of Sheffield City Council's
handling of my FOI request 'Open Source Intelligence surveillance' FOI
/551 .
 
On 13 July 2017 I submitted a FOI requesting details on the following Open
Source Intelligence the first part of my request was as follows
 
"Can you identify if you hold any records, guidances or policies for
surveillance of individuals or groups through public posts on social media
also known as Open Source Intelligence (OSINT)."
 
The response from the FOI team was:
 
"We do not have any records, guidance or policies for the use of Open
Source Intelligence"
 
In a letter from Steve Eccleston  he states
 
"Following the Judge’s judgement this week, could you please inform your
supporters by social media prior to August 23 2017 that the council will
continue to view STAG & protesters’ social media postings for the purpose
of gathering evidence in case of breach of the Court Orders. You will
recall that the Court specifically forbad Named Defendants and Persons
Unknown to"
 
There seems to be a policy for monitoring social media postings. Can you
conduct an internal review to find out why this information was not
available during my original FOI request.
 
A full history of my FOI request and all correspondence is available on
the Internet at this address:
[2]https://www.whatdotheyknow.com/request/o...
 
Yours faithfully,
 
Robert Hurd
 
 
 
-------------------------------------------------------------------
Please use this email address for all replies to this request:
[3][FOI #418085 email]
 
Disclaimer: This message and any reply that you make will be published on
the internet. Our privacy and copyright policies:
[4]https://www.whatdotheyknow.com/help/offi...
 
For more detailed guidance on safely disclosing information, read the
latest advice from the ICO:
[5]https://www.whatdotheyknow.com/help/ico-...
 
If you find this service useful as an FOI officer, please ask your web
manager to link to us from your organisation's FOI page.
 
-------------------------------------------------------------------
 
 
_____________________________________________

FOI, Sheffield City Council

2 Attachments

Dear Mr Hurd
 
Thank you for your email below and I sorry that you are unhappy with the
way your Freedom of Information request has been handled.  I have carried
out a review of your response and please find attached the conclusion of
my review.
Kind Regards
 
Jo
 
Joelle Taylor
Business Change and Information Solutions (BCIS)
Resources Portfolio, Sheffield City Council
Email: [email address]
Postal Address: Sheffield City Council,  PO Box 1283, Sheffield S1 1UJ
 
 
You can provide feedback by emailing:  [1][email address]
 
 
_____________________________________________
From: Robert Hurd [[2]mailto:[FOI #418085 email]]
Sent: 19 August 2017 03:57
To: FOI
Subject: Internal review of Freedom of Information request - Open Source
Intelligence surveillance
 
 
 
Dear Sheffield City Council,
 
Please pass this on to the person who conducts Freedom of Information
reviews.
 
I am writing to request an internal review of Sheffield City Council's
handling of my FOI request 'Open Source Intelligence surveillance' FOI
/551 .
 
On 13 July 2017 I submitted a FOI requesting details on the following Open
Source Intelligence the first part of my request was as follows
 
"Can you identify if you hold any records, guidances or policies for
surveillance of individuals or groups through public posts on social media
also known as Open Source Intelligence (OSINT)."
 
The response from the FOI team was:
 
"We do not have any records, guidance or policies for the use of Open
Source Intelligence"
 
In a letter from Steve Eccleston  he states
 
"Following the Judge’s judgement this week, could you please inform your
supporters by social media prior to August 23 2017 that the council will
continue to view STAG & protesters’ social media postings for the purpose
of gathering evidence in case of breach of the Court Orders. You will
recall that the Court specifically forbad Named Defendants and Persons
Unknown to"
 
There seems to be a policy for monitoring social media postings. Can you
conduct an internal review to find out why this information was not
available during my original FOI request.
 
A full history of my FOI request and all correspondence is available on
the Internet at this address:
[3]https://www.whatdotheyknow.com/request/o...
 
Yours faithfully,
 
Robert Hurd
 
 
 
-------------------------------------------------------------------
Please use this email address for all replies to this request:
[4][FOI #418085 email]
 
Disclaimer: This message and any reply that you make will be published on
the internet. Our privacy and copyright policies:
[5]https://www.whatdotheyknow.com/help/offi...
 
For more detailed guidance on safely disclosing information, read the
latest advice from the ICO:
[6]https://www.whatdotheyknow.com/help/ico-...
 
If you find this service useful as an FOI officer, please ask your web
manager to link to us from your organisation's FOI page.