Ding Dong the DAC is… Wounded.

Categories: Front Page, Open Mic

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Sometime past when February 18th, 2014 turned into February 19th, the Oakland City Council threw some water on the Domain Awareness Center.

From an all encompassing surveillance system throughout Oakland with camera feeds from schools, housing developments and traffic monitors, with input from social media, Shotspotter and license plate readers, and facial and gait recognition technologies to boot, it has gotten to the point where the City Council seems to be seriously considering restricting its surveillance capabilities to the Port of Oakland while unplugging and uninstalling some its capabilities.

Some fifty people from all walks of life – from former surveillance operator to Imam, from former City Councilor to current ACLU and EFF lawyers, from anarchists to libertarians, from Wellstone Democrat to neighborhood association representatives, they all spoke out for some three hours against spying, for privacy and every one of them against the concept of a DAC.

The Council vote was 6-0-2, Kalb and Reid abstaining, to postpone a vote on the approval of a contract with Schneider Electric to implement Phase II of the Domain Awareness Center and to seek additional information from staff on what it would mean to restrict the DAC, including its already-installed Phase I capabilities, to the Port of Oakland. The matter will come up again in two weeks.

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Whether the wound inflicted last night will prove fatal, ultimately killing the entire project, whether it will recover and roar back in two weeks as economic and intelligence interests make their voices clear in the secret corridors of City Hall, or whether it will fester at the Port, waiting for our guard to drop, poised to spread its “wonderful wickedness” throughout Oakland in an altered political climate, remains to be seen.

The DAC should die. Reduced to a puddle, slowing draining away into San Francisco Bay. Of that there is no question. Unfortunately Oakland is not Oz, and melting is not an irreversible process. Still watching the DAC shrink, peeling off some of its surveillance porn, was, I suspect, worth six hours in the lives of the 100 or so people who came to kill it.

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Read the DAC FAQ


One Response to “Ding Dong the DAC is… Wounded.”

  1. GNUWorldOrder

    So City Council seems to be reconsidering the DAC or at least the projected implementation of it. Most of us thought they were just going to rubber stamp Schneider Electric for Phase II after a pro forma audience of our comments, so I think we are generally moderately pleased..

    I encourage any of you who are interested to view the amazing comments of scores of citizens against the DAC. Citizen comments begin around 2’35. If you view the video ‘full-screen’ it gives you more control of the time slider.

    You will need Silverlight to view the video, which I gather isn’t a big issue if you are using a proprietary operating system (Windoze, O$X), but requires a bit of a flail if you use Linux or FreeBSD, but it is doable. Possibly because of the browser user-agent I wasn’t able to get chromium to work, but Firefox handles it well.

    Councilperson Libby Schaaf suggested that we send our suggestions on the DAC privacy policy to jdevries@oaklandnet.com. The only suggestion I can think of is to restrict their panOAKticon to the Port itself, if they simply must squander Federal money, but maybe some of you have even more graphic suggestions that might require some entertaining anatomical improbabilities.