Open Letter Regarding West Oakland HSI Operation

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Oakland Privacy Open Letter Regarding West Oakland HSI Operation

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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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It Took A Village To Stop A DAC

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by JP Massar

No one had a clue the thing even existed. Buried deep within the consent agenda of the Oakland City Council for years, appropriations for the Domain Awareness Center and the implications thereof had gone unnoticed.

Until, that is, @domainawareness caught it in July of 2013 and called it out at City Council. Oakland Privacy (nee Occupy Oakland Privacy Working Group) formed within weeks, outreach was done, protests began, marches were marched, City Council meetings spoken at en masse and eight months later the DAC, for all intents and purposes, was dead.

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An Open Letter To Those Who Have Nothing to Hide

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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. Its 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 Snowdens revelations of the NSAs 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 arent evil extremists. Theyre not a subversive cult who meets bi-weekly in an underground bunker. Theyre 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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August 16 HSI/ICE Raid in West Oakland

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KPIX coverage of the August 16 Homeland Security Investigations (ICE) raid in the City of Oakland. The raid came less than a month after the Oakland City Council rejected a memorandum of understanding with Homeland Security Investigations and terminated it, saying they did not want the City’s police department cooperating with ICE. Oakland Privacy Commission chair Brian Hofer reflects on the bad optics of the Police Department’s decision.

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Internet Of Things; Things Like Walls, Blockades And Checkpoints

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By Christina Rosalita

One of Trump’s campaign promises was to build a border wall between the United States and Mexico. It was a popular political rally cry, but a physical wall spanning the entire border is, in reality; a boondoggle of an idea pushed by the fear mongering of propaganda politics. The false promise of the wall is to block border crossings, but it can’t accomplish this without an array of costly technological systems and personnel1. Estimated costs for just the wall range from $20 to upwards of $70 billion, with $150 million needed yearly for maintenance. This could easily become a wasteful testing ground to experiment with paramilitary surveillance technologies and brutally aggressive law enforcement tactics. There are already three drones2 in operation that are not yet weaponized and human rights violations of Mexican citizens are on the rise.

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