On March 19, a $2.9 million dollar expansion of San Pablo’s license plate reader system (already extensive) and a switch of vendors to troubled Vigilant Solutions was removed from the meeting consent calender, and then indefinitely postponed after local youth, Oakland Privacy and ACLU-Northern California voiced concerns.
The Council agreed to more community input prior to approving the expansion, including community meetings, and suggested the contract and policies be tightened to prevent 3rd party data sharing, particularly with ICE who signed a contract with Vigilant in January of 2018. One council member went so far as to suggest a million dollar financial penalty be written in to the contract with Vigilant in the event of a proven data leak that resulted in geolocation data being shared with ICE.
The indefinite postponment was voted in unanimously with all five Council members voting yes. San Pablo joins a series of California cities, including Alameda and Culver City, pushing the pause button on ALPR contracts with Vigilant Solutions.
East Bay Express coverage
Vigilant LPR Database Sharing Example
FOIA Documentation on ICE Access to Vigilant LPR Databases
The Verge coverage of the backlash against Vigilant
Information services and journalism mega-corporation Thomson Reuters has signed another contract to provide data to ICE. This latest contract, which runs through 2023, is with ICE Enforcement and Removal Operations (ERO) and tracks 500,000 alien residents in the United States every month. Thomson Reuters products include the Reuters News Wire, Westlaw Legal Solutions, eDiscovery Point, Lipper Fund Research, Eikon Financial Analysis, World-Check, Datastream, Elektron Data Enterprise Management, FlexTrade Spark, REDI, Checkpoint, OneSource, Onvio, and CLEAR,
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After twenty months of review by multiple citizen commissions, privacy advocates, city staff, and elected officials, on March 13, 2018, the Berkeley City Council unanimously approved a powerful new law aimed at protecting privacy rights.
Based on a model created by the ACLU, the ordinance requires that all surveillance technology proposals first undergo a public discussion to determine the potential benefits, costs, and concerns of such an acquisition and its use in the community, and that the benefits outweigh the costs and concerns. Accountability and ongoing oversight are maintained with annual reporting requirements that will provide the community with information about how the equipment is being used.
With the historic vote, Berkeley became the first city in the nation to enact this type of ordinance. The County of Santa Clara unanimously passed a similar ordinance in 2016, becoming the first entity in the nation to take such an approach. The city of Davis is expected to enact a similar version on March 20.
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