Last year, Cambridge City Councilor Nadeem Mazen and Mayor Denise Simmons introduced a strong surveillance transparency ordinance, with the support of Digital Fourth and the ACLU of Massachusetts. It didn’t pass, and the ACLU explains what happened next:
In the intervening 11 months, the City of Seattle passed a new surveillance oversight ordinance, beefing up its prior law. In June 2016, Santa Clara County, California passed a similar local law. And right here in Massachusetts, just earlier this month, Somerville Mayor Joe Curtatone published an executive policy that requires transparency and mayoral approval before the police can acquire new surveillance tech.
Cambridge activists are determined to pass an ordinance that will allow transparency and community oversight before police acquire surveillance equipment. Residents are encouraged to turnout at the City Council meeting next week to stand up and speak up for surveillance transparency and oversight.
Turn Out & Testify!
Cambridge Surveillance Oversight Hearing
Wednesday, October 18
6:30 PM – 9:30 PM
Cambridge City Hall
795 Massachusetts Ave
Cambridge, Massachusetts 02139
Come out and tell the City Council that you want to know what kind of surveillance equipment the police are seeking to use BEFORE they obtain it… and you want to make sure the privacy of all residents and visitors to the city are protected. We believe any ordinance should incorporate these principles, which are part of the Community Control Over Police Surveillance campaign:
The city council should not approve the funding (including submitting applications), acquisition, or deployment of any surveillance technologies without holding a public hearing. To facilitate a well-informed public debate, far in advance of the hearing, the police or other agency seeking to use the surveillance technology shall publicly report on,among other things, the technology to be acquired, its capabilities, how precisely it would be used, how its data would be preserved and protected, its acquisition and operational costs,and how potential adverse impacts on civil rights and civil liberties will be prevented.