Oakland has been paying big bucks to SAIC (Science Applications International Corporation) to implement its own version of 1984: the Orwellian-named Domain Awareness Center (DAC). On July 30th, 2013, despite universal opposition from those attending, the Oakland City Council unanimously approved a contract with SAIC for $2,000,000 to implement “Phase 2” of the DAC.
The Awareness Center is supposed to integrate data from surveillance video, traffic cameras, vehicle license readers, drones and more to provide… security. Originally meant for the Port of Oakland, the Domain Awareness Center’s reach of purpose has spread across most of Oakland, even at one point including surveillance video within Oakland’s schools.
The DAC will act as a fusion center, aggregating video feeds and real-time data from a number of sources around Oakland.
In 1988, Oakland passed a Nuclear Free Zone Ordinance which, although parts of it were found unconstitutional, contained a non-voided provision that
…prohibits Oakland from doing business with firms that “knowingly engage in nuclear weapons work.”
Being that SAIC is a multi-billion dollar company ($4B in revenues) that engages in defense work, one can hardly be surprised if some of that work were to touch on nuclear weapons technology.
And, in fact, they have now so acknowledged.
… after the city asked for additional proof of compliance in August, Scott Handley, the firm’s operation contracts manager, wrote it likely had served “U.S. Department of Defense customers that arguably may be categorized as supporting ‘nuclear weapons work’ under the exceedingly broad definition” in the city’s disclosure form.
As well as supporting nuclear weapons work, SAIC has dabbled in training torturers, killing Afghan and Pakistani children via drone support, and defrauding taxpayers to the tune of $500M (and likely much more). But I digress.
It appears that SAIC might be out of a contract, but is this victory? Not really. On November 12th, the Public Safety Committee of the Oakland City Council will consider a resolution to allow the City Administrator to find another contractor (item 13-041):
Subject: Domain Awareness Center (DAC) Phase II
From: Office Of The City Administrator
Adopt A Resolution Authorizing The City Administrator To Award A Contract For Phase 2 Of The Domain Awareness Center (DAC) Project Implementation To A Vendor From The Pool Of Vendors Responding To The Request For Proposal Titled “City Of Oakland/Port Of Oakland Joint Domain Awareness Center, October 2012” In An Amount Not To Exceed $2M Dollars (Two Million) To Be Selected Later With A Return To Council With An Informational Report.
It looks like the City Administrator will be given carte blanche to choose a different vendor from those that bid on the contract previously. Nonetheless, getting a new contractor in place would almost certainly delay implementation, giving those in the Oakland community who oppose the tracking of everyone and everything a bit more of an opportunity to do something about it.
The Oakland Privacy Working Group (and on Facebook) has been meeting semi-regularly to discuss DAC and other privacy concerns in Oakland. It has procured a boatload of information from a Public Records Request about SAIC and the DAC, and is now looking it over.
Domain Awareness. Metadata. Blatant and pervasive lying by officials about what the Government is looking at and archiving. Stop & Frisk. The 4th Amendment has already been rewritten. We just haven’t cared enough to notice.
The right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures, shall not
be violatedexist, and noWarrants shall issue, but upon probable cause, supported by Oath or affirmationbased on nothing but speculation, hearsay, and rumor and particularly describingit is perfectly okay to often be wrong about the place to be searched, and the persons or things to be seized. Because everyone is guilty of something.