Oakland Privacy Open Letter Regarding West Oakland HSI Operation
On July 18, the Oakland City Council voted unanimously to terminate an existing agreement with Homeland Security Investigations (HSI), one week after a similar unanimous vote in the Public Safety Committee. On August 16, HSI executed a warrant at a West Oakland Guatemalan household. HSI was accompanied by Oakland Police Department (OPD) officers.
The HSI operation has been reported on extensively by local media, with most reports quoting the statement issued by Chief Anne Kirkpatrick, wherein she discussed OPD’s participation. Eyewitness reports of the incident, media coverage of the event, and a review of the provided explanation, have caused some concerns that we would like to briefly outline here.
We believe that Chief Kirkpatrick should provide additional information to the City Council at a public hearing, so that residents can better understand the nature of this incident, including what due diligence the Chief performed prior to providing City resources, if any, and whether OPD Immigration Policy Sections 415.4, 415.5, and the city’s Sanctuary City Resolution were complied with.
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by Christoper Jasinski
I love a good argument. Most that I have these days tend to focus on civil liberties, and the issue of government surveillance comes up frequently. It’s usually during these debates, running on some soliloquy-within-a-soliloquy about the ever-increasing Orwellian surveillance state, that my counterpart will let this argument stumble out:
“I don’t see why it’s such a big deal. I’ve got nothing to hide.”
Edward Snowden’s revelations of the NSA’s apparatus for collecting and indefinitely storing troves of innocent peoples’ internet activity and metadata sparked one of the most important conversations our society has had in a generation. Even the politically uninvolved started to wake up. The experience was visceral for many. There was something inherently wrong about an opaque government agency collecting some of our most personal information.
Simultaneously, another group of people emerged from this debate. I affectionately refer to them as The Panopticon Nihilists. These folks aren’t evil extremists. They’re not a subversive cult who meets bi-weekly in an underground bunker. They’re not even plotting to take over the world. Quite the opposite.
They’re probably your kindly neighbor who just bought an Amazon Echo for their kitchen.
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