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.
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.