In this age of Big Data and the Trump Administration, and with ever more intrusive technology that can peer into our daily lives, it is imperative that safeguards be implemented to protect our civil liberties from inappropriate or unlawful use of surveillance equipment and data sharing.
At the recommendation of the Police Review Commission, the Berkeley City Council will consider an ordinance that will create a framework to require a transparent, public discussion about potential use and the appropriateness of such use in our community, consideration of a draft use policy with sufficient safeguards and enforcement mechanisms built-in, and ongoing oversight of approved projects with requirements that benefits of use be demonstrated.
It is the Surveillance Technology Use and Community Safety and is a beefed up version of the Community Control of Police Surveillance (CCOPS) ordinance drafted by the ACLU and supported by a large coalition of civil rights and liberties groups.
We urge everyone in Berkeley to turn out in support of the ordinance:
Tuesday, December 5
Berkeley City Council Chambers (not City Hall, but very close by)
2134 Martin Luther King, Jr. Way
Here’s a brief summary of what the ordinance will require:
- Public hearings on every new gadget and computer program that can be used for surveillance or monitoring
- Approval or denial by vote of the Council on such equipment and software acquisition.
- Approval or denial by vote of the Council on any proposed information sharing with Federal agencies (e.g. ICE).
- Evaluation of civil rights concerns, and a cost/benefit analysis, BEFORE approval.
- Putting in place a privacy and use policy before any equipment or software can be deployed, specifying what it may – and may not – be used for, and how long any data it may gather may be kept.
- A public report every year on how and when the equipment or software has been used.
- Penalties for violations of the ordinance or a use policy.
See the Police Review Commission’s recommendations starting on page 303 of the City Council Agenda Packet for the meeting
This is a strong regulatory framework that will help us ensure that no unconstitutional or unwarranted surveillance is taking place in Berkeley. We need your help to make sure it becomes law.