- Surveillance Equipment Transparency Ordinances
- Municipal Privacy Commissions
- Opposing Urban Shield
- Domain Awareness Center
Surveillance Equipment Transparency Ordinances
As of December 13th, 2018, 9 municipalities (Oakland, Berkeley, Davis and Palo Alto in CA, Seattle, WA, Nashville, TN, Lawrence, Cambridge and Somerville in MA), 1 County (Santa Clara, in CA), and one special district (BART, in the Bay Area), have passed Surveillance Equipment Transparency Ordinances.
Template legislative text for a city or county to pass a global surveillance equipment ordinance requiring purchase approval, use policies in place and annual audits. Template text can be modified in response to local conditions.
Surveillance Equipment Transparency Ordinance Summary Bullet Points:
- Requires City Council or other legislative body approval, after a public hearing, of all acquisitions of surveillance equipment by agencies of the governing entity, a consideration of civil liberties concerns and a determination that benefits outweigh costs;
- Requires any information sharing of data with outside agencies be explicit and approved;
- Requires yearly reports on how and when the equipment has been used, and continuing evaluation of the efficacy of the equipment or software, resulting in termination of use if it is not effective
Other SERO/CCOPS Ordinances
An example of an op-ed written for a local newspaper to build public support for the global surveillance equipment ordinance while in dialogue with a city or county. The nation’s first global surveillance equipment ordinance was approved unanimously by the Santa Clara County Board of Supervisors two months after this was printed.Apr 8, 2016 Santa Clara Op Ed re Surveillance Equipment Ordinance.
Other opinion pieces to reference:
An example of a letter written to address law enforcement objections to the passage of a global surveillance equipment ordinance. This was written to the Santa Clara County Board of Supervisors four months prior to the unanimous passage of the ordinance. Feb 5, 2016 Letter in support of Santa Clara Ordinance
An example of a letter written to a regional body (in this case the Board of Directors of the Bay Area Regional Transit District (BART) pushing back against internal efforts to water down the global surveillance equipment ordinance in the drafting stage. Aug 11, 2016 Letter to BART re Surveillance Equipment Ordinance
An example of a Colleague’s Memo. This is an introductory memo written by a member of local government to colleagues on a City Council or a Board of Supervisors before introducing a piece of potential legislation i.e. a problem statement. This Colleague’s Memo was issued by the City of Palo Alto in April of 2016. Apr 25, 2016 – Palo Alto – ID# 6876 Colleagues Memo
An example of a letter written to a City Council to insist that an upcoming equipment purchase be accompanied by a use policy protecting privacy rights and specifying approved usage. This is an approach that can be used prior to the passage of a global equipment ordinance requiring this for *all* equipment. This specific letter was written to the Oakland City Council about a purchase of Forward Looking Infrared Cameras (FLIR) that are attached to the bottom of aeriel vehicles like helicopters and drones. The letter was successful and the use policy was drafted and adopted in October of 2015. Apr 8, 2015 – Letter to Council re FLIR
An example of an equipment-specific use policy. This one is for Forward Looking Infrared Cameras (FLIR) that are attached to the bottom of aeriel vehicles like helicopters and drones. This use policy was drafted by Oakland’s Privacy Commission and adopted by the City of Oakland on October 6, 2015. Oct 6, 2015 Adopted 85807 CMS – FLIR Policy
An example of an op-ed written for a local newspaper to increase public awareness of an equipment purchase and the need for a use policy while in dialogue with a city or county. The stingray use policy in Alameda County was approved by the Board of Supervisors a month after this was printed. Oct 12, 2015 – Guest commentary_ Without public discus…Stingray system – ContraCostaTimes
An equipment-specific use policy for a stingray, a cell phone interception device also referred to as an IMSI-catcher. Drafted by Oakland Privacy in collaboration with the Alameda County DA and adopted by the Alameda County Board of Supervisors on November 17, 2015. Nov 17, 2015 Adopted Alameda County DA_Stingray_Policy
An example of a letter sent to a regional government body (BART) about Automated License Plate Readers (ALPRS) and the implementation of CA state law SB34 Aug 4, 2016 BART ALPR SB34
Another more comprehensive letter, sent to local government (City of Danville) about Automated License Plate Readers (ALPRS) and the implementation of CA state law SB 34 Jul 14 , 2016 Danville ALPR SB34
General Surveillance Transparency Resources
A FAQ on why we advocate for and what is a surveillance equipment regulation ordinance.
A tutorial on using public records requests to find out what is in use in your muncipality: How To Cut and Paste Your Way To A Surveillance Policy
Municipal Privacy Commissions
Another strategy that can be used is to create a citizen’s privacy commission on the municipal level as the City of Oakland has done. This can be helpful to administer a global surveillance equipment ordinance in cities or counties that lack a Police Review commission, Public Safety committee, or other body that can be tasked with these duties.
Text of the legislation creating a permanent Privacy commission in the City of Oakland on December 17, 2015
Opposing Urban Shield
An article (derived from a letter to a Berkeley City Councilperson) about why a city’s police should not participate in Urban Shield.
Urban Shield Introduction:
Urban Shield has three parts: A weapons and equipment expo, a set of presentations, seminars and talks, much like other conventions, and a set of training exercises. Some of the training exercises are for non-police emergency responders, while others, the ones most objected to, are for police department SWAT teams. These SWAT teams, from around the Bay, the country and the world compete for points as they move from scenario to scenario.
For a number of years the expo and convention were held in downtown Oakland at the Marriott Convention Center, owned by the City of Oakland (the training exercises take place at field locations all over the Bay Area). After significant protests staged outside the event in 2013 and 2014, numerous unfavorable press articles and some prodding from Barbara Lee, the City of Oakland announced that it would no longer continence holding Urban Shield at the convention center.
In 2015 Urban Shield was moved to the Pleasanton Fairgrounds, where it was staged in 2016 as well – this time to another large protest, organized by the Stop Urban Shield Coalition, resulting in multiple arrests.
Deport ICE is a 20-member coalition anchored by Oakland Privacy that advocates for municipalities to cut their ties to private parties that perform data services, extreme vetting or detention center operational functions for Immigrations and Customs Enforcement (ICE). The coalition has a model contracting and investment ordinance for cities to divest from the deportation machine and seeks to strengthen sanctuary city resolutions.
Please go to www.deportice.org for complete materials on the Sanctuary City Contracting and Investment Ordinance.
Domain Awareness Center
Oakland Privacy was born in the struggle to stop a mass citywide spying dragnet called the Domain Awareness Center (DAC). For more on the epic DAC battle, see the Media Resources page. The DAC was initially restricted to only Port of Oakland property and then de-funded. What remains has never been used by the City of Oakland.
Frequently asked questions fact sheet about the Domain Awareness Center dac-faq-v13
An example of an op-ed written to rally community support for the fight against a city-wide spying dragnet – a “fusion center on steroids” Feb 26, 2014 – Why We Oppose the Oakland Spy Center _ Opinion _ East Bay Express