Alameda and Contra Costa County Sheriffs Flew Drones Over Protests

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Originally published at EFF Deep Links 

At the International Association of Chiefs of Police Conference in October, presenters from the Orlando Police Department issued a stern warning for fellow local law enforcement officials eager to start a small unmanned aerial systems (sUAS or drones) program.

“We don’t want to use them when people are exercising freedom of speech,” Orlando Police Sgt. Jeffrey Blye told the audience during the best practices portion of his talk. “Because that will destroy your program quickly.”

That is excellent advice for police departments, but sheriffs in the San Francisco Bay Area have chosen not to follow it.

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Strengthening CCPA

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15 prominent privacy groups (including Oakland Privacy) sent a letter to the CA Legislature encouraging them to strengthen California’s state privacy law (CCPA), the only statewide comprehensive consumer privacy legislation in the county, and prevent industry gutting it prior to 2020, when the law is scheduled to take effect.

The privacy groups stated “We urge you to keep the focus on strengthening protections for your constituents, and to reject efforts to diminish Californians’ privacy and security protections.”

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Shotspotter Accused Of Fabricating and Falsifying Evidence in Rochester Police Shooting

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Shotspotter, or SSTI Inc, the Newark, CA-based manufacturer of gunshot detention sensors that are in wide use in police departments around the country and many in the Bay Area, is a defendant in a civil rights lawsuit. The case alleges that Shotspotter conspired with the Rochester Police Department in the attempted framing of a police shooting victim with 4 felonies by altering their forensic report twice and then misplacing the original audio file.

Silvon Simmons was shot three times in April of 2016, charged with attempted murder, assault, and two counts of criminal weapon possession, incarcerated from April of 2016 to October of 2017 and finally acquitted of all charges. He filed a lawsuit against the Rochester PD and Shotspotter in August of 2018 for illegal search and seizure, false arrest, false imprisonment, the use of excessive force, falsification of evidence, malicious prosecution, and denial of a fair trial.

The civil rights complaint against Shotspotter can be read here.

Oakland Privacy member Tracy Rosenberg wrote about the case. Find Us One More Shot. 

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License Plates To Border Patrol

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Recent public records requests have confirmed that as of February 2018 at least three Bay Area Sheriff Departments were sharing license plate reader scans they collected with the San Diego sector of the Border Patrol via the Vigilant Solutions platform LEARN. The three confirmed Departments are Contra Costa, Marin and San Mateo. See sharing reports below.

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Body Camera Video Said To Expose Lies in October Taser Death

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After watching police body camera videos of her brother’s death by taser at the hands of the San Mateo County Sheriff’s Department, Ebele Okobi posted on Facebook about the death of 36 year old Chinedu Okobi.

“They were shocking because they contradicted, in every single particular, the statement that the San Mateo County Sheriff’s Office released and to which San Mateo District Attorney Steve Wagstaffe referred in multiple news outlets after my brother’s murder.”

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34 Organizations Unite To Release Principles For Privacy Legislation

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Washington – Today, 34 civil rights, consumer, and privacy organizations join in releasing public interest principles for privacy legislation, because the public needs and deserves strong and comprehensive federal legislation to protect their privacy and afford meaningful redress.

Irresponsible data practices lead to a broad range of harms, including discrimination in employment, housing, healthcare, and advertising. They also lead to data breaches and loss of individuals’ control over personal information. Existing enforcement mechanisms fail to hold data processors accountable and provide little-to-no relief for privacy violations.

The following can be attributed to JP Massar, Organizer at Oakland Privacy:

“We must not only watch the watchers, and regulate the sellers of our information. We must begin to unravel the information panopticon that has already formed. This is a start.”

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