Everyone was sure the Oakland City Council would simply rubber stamp a resolution to accept, appropriate and administer upwards of $2 million to implement phase 2 of the systems enhancements and integration of the Domain Awareness Center (DAC) this past Tuesday night. Thanks to the efforts of a few concerned Oakland residents who brought facts and hard questions before the Council they decided to hold off on the vote and postponed a decision to the following regular Council meeting taking place on Tuesday, July 30.
The DAC, which is a virtual data warehouse that will collect and analyse surveillance data in real time, was initially supported and approved by the City Council in 2010 for Port security. However,funding for phase 2 of the project, the implementation of its software, still needs to be approved by the Council before the project can move forward.
In addition, Resolution S-7.19, the DAC motion, seeks to amend the city’s contract with the defence contractor who will supply the DAC with operational software, Science Applications International Corporation (SAIC), by increasing the amount to be paid up to $2 million for completion of this next phase bringing the total contract amount authorized to $4.9 million.
When members of the community brought forward seemingly simple, common sense questions it became overwhelmingly apparent that the Council has no idea what this next phase will involve. Councilman Dan Kalb was questioned regarding his excitement for the project but became speechless while throwing his hands up in the air when asked if he had seen or read the City of Oakland Domain Awareness Center Public Security Privacy guidelines. After injection from the council president the real question seemed to arise: does a document of this nature even exist and if not, why? Not one member of Council had an answer to this very serious question.
The Public Safety Committee of the City Council had forwarded this resolution with a unanimous recommendation for approval based upon the notion that this is not a controversial item and does not have a high level of public interest. On Tuesday night, members of the community illustrated that is indeed anything but true. In what seemed to be an attempt to save face Council members asked questions of both Renee Domingo, the director of Emergency Services and Ashan Baig the City’s Information Systems Manager. These questions further highlighted that there are no codified rules or regulations that have been put forward regarding the scope of this program including data storage and the protection of public privacy.
While the foundation for the original proposal for the DAC centered primarily on security at the Port of Oakland, it has morphed into a consolidation of many real-time data flows, surveillance cameras and law enforcement statistics in a centralized location including video feeds from 700 CCTV cameras in Oakland Public schools. What this has to do with Port security is beyond the public’s understanding at this point and these questions have yet to be answered and fully disclosed in writing by the Office of Emergency Services, the Board of Port Commissioners or the Police Department.When asked directly by the Council about data storage Ms. Domingo admitted that she did not know if the DAC intended to store data but tried her best to insist that it would not happen. She further insisted that the scope of this program only entailed the use of close to 200 cameras at the Port and 5 cameras located on Oakland City Streets while the agenda from the Board of Port Commissioners meeting May 23, 2013 illustrates a far reaching program that spells out a plan to set up a local data fusion center that has yet to be seen in any Northern California city.
In a nutshell, the Port of Oakland in conjunction with the Oakland Fire Dept., the EOC, and SAIC, is asking the City Council to approve and appropriate funds for a programs whose parameters have not been fully disclosed in writing to the public once again demonstrating a gross violation of the democratic process and a paves the way for major future civil rights and privacy violations.
In the pursuit of civil rights preservation it is imperative that this community pay close attention to this issue and reach out to Council members via email, telephone and face to face meetings while also utilizing social media to alert members of the community who are ill informed on the scope of the DAC. We need to let them know we do not consent to the implementation of a full scale fusion center in Oakland. Lets pack the chamber on Tuesday, July 30 and make our point clear that we do not accept any vote that would supersede full disclosure from those seeking to bring the DAC to use in Oakland.
Added by Gnuworldorder:
Fill out a speaker card on Agenda item 35 so you can let your voice be heard at the City Council meeting.
You can look at the City’s report and the resolution they are trying to pass between pages 8 and 25 on the following PDF:
Also, see this:
Here are some articles about the events on the local media:
You can get more information by looking for the hashtag #DAC on Twitter.