Hella Privacy.

Categories: Anti-Repression Committee, Front Page, Open Mic

#HellaPrivacy. That’s the new hashtag and slogan of the Oakland Privacy Working Group as it attempts to get the City Council to pass a strong privacy policy for the Domain Awareness Center.

A year ago the spy center known as the DAC was, after hella protests and public outrage spearheaded by OPWG and the Muslim community, confined to keeping tabs on things only at Port of Oakland, and was not allowed to come on line until a privacy policy was developed. (See the DAC FAQ for a detailed history).

An ad hoc committee, hella chaired by Brian Hofer, worked for nine months on the policy, along with other strong privacy recommendations for the Council (see below).

These proposals are currently scheduled to come before the City Council’s Public Safety Committee on Tuesday, February 10th, then go to the full City Council some weeks after that.

On January 18th, at the Omni Commons, the Oakland Privacy Working Group put on a hella teach-in about the DAC, the new privacy policy and its other recommendations.


Below is a highlights video (thanks, Meridith!) from that teach-in, featuring Brian Hofer going over the key restrictions the DAC must abide by, and proposed privacy provisions for the entire City of Oakland. Below it are some of the key points of the Committee’s recommended ordinances in a one-page-sized bullet format.

Another teach-in and movie night
is planned for Sunday, February 15th, at the Omni Commons at 6:00 PM. The next meeting of the OPWG will be on Wednesday, February 18th at the Impact Hub, at at 6:30 PM.

Oakland has a hella chance to become a model for cities across the country, putting into place strong privacy protections, and openness and transparency in the acquisition of surveillance equipment. The Oakland Privacy Working Group strongly supports these policies; they hella hope you will too. Here’s how to help.


DAC Ad Hoc Committee Recommendations

To the Oakland City Council


DAC Privacy and Data Retention Policy

  • Limits access to DAC and data only to those with a Need to Know involved in an Allowable Use. Third party data sharing requires Council approval via MOU.
  • Robust Internal and External audits. Robust annual compliance reporting.
  • Disclosure of all data, protocols, sharing agreements, use logs, etc. unless expressly prohibited by law.
  • Statutory damages and misdemeanor charges for violations. Private right of action.
  • No retention – data stored on originating equipment.
  • Create privacy officer roles, internal and external to ensure compliance, help audit.

Standing Privacy Committee

  • Advise the City on broad privacy related matters, including oversight of DAC and surveillance equipment.
  • Proposed changes to DAC Policy or DAC would come through committee first, before Council.
  • Draft citywide privacy policy.

Amendments to existing Whistleblower Ordinance

  • Change definition so that “any person” can report abuse, not limited to employees.
  • Add section creating multiple avenues for reporting, not limited to direct supervisor or normal chain of command, and section requiring training.

New Surveillance Equipment Ordinance

  • Informed public debate about any surveillance technology proposal prior to acquisition or pursuing funding.
  • Informed decisions by Council – must consider costs, both fiscal and to civil liberties.
  • Privacy and data retention policies for all equipment before use allowed.
  • Liability for misuse.
  • Ongoing oversight and accountability, including annual auditing and public reporting.




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