Oakland: Stand Up for Community Control of Police Spy Tech

The people of Oakland deserve to be informed and to have their voices heard before local government agencies acquire and use surveillance technology with the power to threaten our privacy, unfairly burden people of color, and target immigrant communities.

The Oakland City Council will soon vote on whether to pass the Surveillance and Community Safety Ordinance—critical legislation that will ensure that city council members, with input from the public, control whether police and other city agencies acquire powerful surveillance technologies. The proposed ordinance would also assure transparency in the policies and practices for use of spying technology.

As the tentative May 1 hearing approaches, let your City Council members know that they, as elected representatives, should have the authority to decide whether to approve or reject surveillance technology.

We won!

Congratulations! With your support, the Oakland Surveillance and Community Safety Ordinance is now the most robust local law assuring transparency and community control over police use and acquisition of surveillance technology.

The Surveillance and Community Safety ordinance is straightforward: it requires essential transparency and accountability for all surveillance technology proposals. It thus it ensures the public has the opportunity to learn about the civil rights and civil liberties impact of surveillance technologies, and how they may burden minority and immigrant communities, before local officials acquire them.

The power to decide whether these tools are acquired, and how they are utilized, should not stand unilaterally with agency executives. Instead, elected City Council members should be empowered to approve or reject surveillance technology. Most importantly, all residents must be provided an opportunity to comment on proposed surveillance technologies and the policies constraining their use, before representatives decide whether to adopt them.

Public safety requires trust between law enforcement and the community served. It's time to tell your City Council members to stand with the people of Oakland in the fight to maintain the privacy and community safety the people of Oakland deserve.

Please write to the City Council and urge them to adopt the Surveillance and Community Safety Ordinance.