Oakland Poised To Protect Civil Liberties


Update 5-10-17: Oakland’s Public Safety Committee voted unanimously on May 9 to support the Surveillance Technology Ordinance. Thanks largely to your letters, calls and emails. 

My guest piece in the East Bay Express, on why Oakland needs to adopt a proposed Surveillance Technology Ordinance – here.

For background on how this conversation started, and how three different entities (Oakland, Seattle, and San Diego) have approached surveillance reform, UC Berkeley Law Professor Catherine Crump’s excellent law review article can be read and downloaded here.

Join us on May 9 at 6pm before the Public Safety Committee, as the ordinance gets its first review by the council.


Oakland: Rise Up Against Secret Surveillance


Oakland’s Public Safety Committee will vote on the ordinance on May 9 at 6pm at City Hall at Oscar Grant Plaza. We need you there. 


(Reprinted from the ACLU of Northern California)

Everyone deserves to feel safe in their community. Sometimes, that means policing the police. Shouldn’t you have a say in deciding whether local law enforcement gets to deploy futuristic surveillance technology in your community?

The Oakland Police Department has the capability to spy on Oakland residents using surveillance cameras, automatic license plate readers, a ‘Stingray’ cellphone tracker, and social media monitoring software. Upwards of $2.5 million has been spent on these devices, which are capable of collecting data that can be shared with the federal government.

Use this form to ask the Oakland City Council to vote “YES” on the Surveillance Technology Ordinance. 


City of Providence Set to Pass Wide Ranging Community Safety Act Ordinance


On June 1, The Providence City Council voted 13-1 to adopt the Providence Community-Police Relations Act


Key Points of the CSA

Prohibition on racial profiling and other forms of profiling

Police cannot use race, ethnicity, color, national origin, language, gender, gender identity, sexual orientation, political affiliation, religion, physical or mental disability, or serious medical condition as a reason to suspect someone of a crime.

Standardized Encounter Form

Every time police stop someone, they must fill out a card with race, gender, and age of the person stopped; reason for the stop; if there was a search, and the results of the search; how long the stop lasted; results of the stop (ticket, arrest, nothing); and officer’s name and badge number. They must provide a copy of the form to the person who was stopped.


Berkeley Should Not Participate In The Militarized Police Aspects Of Urban Shield


Update: On May 16, the Stop Urban Shield Coalition shut down the Berkeley City Council meeting at 12:45am (actually on May 17). New special meeting to be scheduled. It will be on June 20 at 6:00pm at Longfellow Middle School at 1500 Derby Street. 


Urban Shield has been staged yearly in Alameda County since 2007. The grant money to manage it flows from the Department of Homeland ultimately to the Alameda County Sheriff who is responsible for all aspects of the extravaganza. The terms of the grant money stipulate that everything associated with UASI (and hence Urban Shield) must have “a nexus to terrorism” – an important criticism.

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.