Ending Secret Surveillance in California with SB 1186

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Oakland Privacy’s goal of blanketing Northern California with community control of surveillance laws is coming true. But California has 57 counties and 482 cities. What if they all implemented surveillance transparency at once?

That is what Senate Bill 1186 will do.

The balance between safety and civil rights, security and freedom is not a unilateral decision to be worked out in back rooms out of public view. Secret surveillance practices deny communities the right to know and the right to decide what is too intrusive and invasive. Lack of oversight sets the stage for abuse and misuse. Abuse and misuse that reliably targets Black, Muslim and immigrant communities for targeting, profiling, harassment and detention.

When we fought the Domain Awareness Center, Oakland residents had to fight just to get a seat at the table. There was no framework and no process where the City had to ask us if we wanted a citywide spying dragnet – or not.

With your help, we turned Oakland upside down and stopped the DAC. But these kinds of projects keep coming … and coming.

Law enforcement is too often deploying battlefield surveillance technologies for illegitimate purposes like targeting activists and feeding ICE’s deportation machine. Mass bulk spying collects and stores data on our daily activities with no regard for whether we are suspected of any wrongdoing. Technologies like drones, stingrays, license plate readers, social media surveillance, and facial recognition software invade our lives and allow law enforcement to track and detain us as we go about our daily lives.

Growing public-private partnerships with vendors like Vigilant Solutions, Forensic Logic, Palantir, Shotspotter, Axon, and many others make a growth industry out of selling and sharing law enforcement-collected data. The private prison industry profits from incarceration and detention.

No more secrets. It’s about power at the local level. The power to say not this much, not this way and when necessary, the power to say no. The power to keep ourselves safe.

Yes on Senate Bill 1186.

Take action with ACLU California here. 

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