Public Record Request Status

Request ID



ACLU of Washington

Date Received


Record Status


Requested Documents

We submitted a records request to the email address on 11/11/2019 and have not received an estimated date of production. Just wanted to follow up to confirm you had received it. The text of the request was:

Dear Madam or Sir,

Please accept this letter as a Request for Public Records, pursuant to the Washington Public Records Act, RCW Chapter 42.56.


The ACLU of Washington (ACLU-WA) is currently gathering information to understand if and how government agencies are using Automated Decision Systems (ADS) to assist in making core decisions, judgments, or conclusions that will directly affect constituents. The intention of the ACLU-WA is to better understand the deployment and/or use of ADS by public agencies in order to inform potential 2020 Washington legislation, and as such, we would appreciate any help you could provide in expediting your search and response.


1) Record(s) includes all Public Records as defined in RCW 42.56.010.

2) Automated Decision System(s), hereinafter referred to as (ADS), includes any software, system, or process that aims to automate, aid, or replace human decision-making. ADS includes tools that analyze datasets to generate scores, predictions, classifications, or recommended action(s) that are used by agencies to make decisions that impact human welfare. ADS also includes the set of processes involved in implementing those tools.

Examples of ADS include, but are not limited to, software that calculates disability benefit amounts; produces work performance assessments; determines food assistance qualification; calculates risk assessment in criminal sentencing; identifies benefits fraud; automates exam and test scores and grades; assigns geographic placement; adjudicates benefits, qualifications, or penalties; and software that could otherwise potentially impact an individual’s legal and/or civil rights or could potentially discriminate against an individual on the basis of race, creed, color, national origin, families with children, sex, marital status, sexual orientation, age, honorably discharged veteran or military status, or the presence of any sensory, mental, or physical disability or the use of a trained dog guide or service animal by a person with a disability.

ADS do not include junk email filters, firewalls, anti-virus software, and/or other automated systems used for network security purposes. ADS also do not include, in and of itself, spreadsheets, datasets, or other compilations of data, unless utilized by a software tool to generate scores, predictions, classifications, or recommended action(s) that are used by agencies to make decisions that impact human welfare.

3) Agency includes the full scope of the receiving agency, including all departments and subdivisions.


The ACLU-WA requests all Records related to ADS, created or received by the Agency on or after January 1, 2016, including, but not limited to:

1) All correspondence with any company or company representative regarding ADS products or services, including, but not limited to, purchasing and procurement documents, purchase orders, RFPs, licensing agreements, invoices, contracts, subscriptions, warranties, licenses, nondisclosure agreements, technical assistance, customer service requests, service agreements, and other Records that include information regarding ADS features, capabilities, pricing, potential use cases, and similar marketing information.

2) All correspondence with any other government agency, whether federal, state, or local, regarding ADS products or services.

3) All external and internal communication related to ADS.

4) All records relating to how any ADS product or service functions and/or functions improperly, including, but not limited to, e-mails, handouts, PowerPoint presentations, advertisements, or specification documents.

5) All manuals, policies, procedures, and practices governing the use of an ADS product, service, or related information or databases. This request includes, but is not limited to:

a) Procedures for imputing specific information into the ADS technology and interpreting its outputs;

b) Procedures and protocols for using, deleting, or retaining data used and produced by the ADS technology;

c) Policies or procedures relating to the legal standard, if any, (e.g., probable cause, court order, relevance, consent) that is required before using any ADS product or service;

d) Procedures the agency follows after the ADS produces a decision, judgment, or conclusion, such as requiring independent or in-person review of the output;

e) Intended and permitted uses of the information created from the ADS technology;

f) Procedures for overriding and/or reversal of decisions, judgments, or conclusions made or influenced by the use of ADS technology.

g) Procedures and protocols for who can override and/or reverse ADS created or influenced decisions, judgments, or conclusions.

h) Procedures for contesting or appealing final decisions, judgments, or conclusions made or influenced by the use of ADS technology, including access to the data used before, during, and after final decisions, judgments, or conclusions;

i) Job postings, internal training materials, operational policies, procedural guidelines, and other materials governing Agency’s use of ADS.

6) All documents relating to government decisions, judgments, and conclusions made or influenced by the use of ADS technology, including, but not limited to, any policy governing the storage or retention of content produced and accessed in connection with ADS products or services, as well as all documents related to ADS determinations of benefits, investigations, and/or denials.

7) All records relating to any public process or debate about any ADS product or service acquired or intended to be acquired by the Agency.

8) The ACLU-WA would accept a summary Record answering the following questions as a first responsive installment, if such a record exists or the Agency would find it convenient to create one:

a) Has the Agency purchased, or is currently considering purchasing, an ADS?

b) If so, what ADS product(s) were purchased, or are being considered?

c) What processes and/or functions is the ADS utilized for?

Upon receiving such a summary Record, the ACLU-WA may or may not determine that the summary Record is sufficient and close the remainder of the request.


We request that Records be provided electronically to the ACLU-WA, via email at With regards to reproduction costs, please notify us if the costs will exceed $50. We reserve the right to inspect any Record(s) at the Agency’s Office in lieu of electronic production. If you are unsure of the scope or intent of this request, please contact Jenny Wu or Kory Atcuson via email at and/or by phone at (206) 624-2184. Thank you for your assistance, Shankar Narayan Technology & Liberty Project Director American Civil Liberties Union of Washington


CLARIFICATION: "When we think of decisions impacting “human welfare,” we’re thinking about materially impactful decisions on people’s livelihoods such as decisions on employment, benefits, benefits eligibility, health and medicine, education, etc. It’s a broad definition but it’s intentionally defined broadly so we can get as much information as possible. "

Status Detail

11/22/19 - Sent email providing expected first installment date of 1/3/2020. - TCM 11/25/19 - Clarification received. - TCM 11/26/19 - Spoke with Mr. Atcuson via phone and followed up via email. - TCM 12/4/19 - Informed requestors that there were no responsive records and closed request. - TCM