Statement by Nicole A. Ozer, Technology and Civil Liberties Director, ACLU of California:
"Last night, the people of Oakland took a significant step in reclaiming ownership of their neighborhoods and protecting the community from secret and invasive police surveillance with the passage of a landmark surveillance ordinance by the City Council.
The new law requires that any surveillance technology be subject to review and approval by the Privacy Advisory Commission and City Council. In doing so, Oakland joins the cities of Davis, Berkeley and the County of Santa Clara in reclaiming local control over if and how these technologies – including drones, social media surveillance and license plate readers – are used by law enforcement.
Surveillance technologies, which have been increasingly acquired in secret and are used almost exclusively without a warrant, have invaded residents’ lives across the state. They are even being exploited by the federal government to fuel mass deportations, tearing California families apart. In a gross violation of privacy, ICE has acquired local date from license plate readers and other technologies that track residents without their consent.
Across California and the nation, communities are making their voice heard and demanding a seat at the table when it comes to the use of secret and intrusive surveillance technology by local law enforcement. Cities from California to Massachusetts have passed similar surveillance technology ordinances.
The movement for community control is growing. In addition to existing surveillance ordinances in Davis, Berkeley and Santa Clara County, Alameda, San Pablo, and Culver City, California also all recently said no to automatic license plate reader contracts with a company sharing data with ICE.
In Sacramento, legislators will soon be considering statewide legislation, SB 1186, to require local review and approval for all requests for surveillance technology by local law enforcement.
We are proud to have worked with community groups across the state for many years to pass these local ordinances and will continue to work with advocates to ensure that all Californians have a say and a choice when it comes to the use of intrusive surveillance technology at the local level."
For more information about the ACLU’s surveillance reform work in California, please visit www.aclunc.org/smartaboutsurveillance and the National ACLU website at https://www.aclu.org/issues/privacy-technology/surveillance-technologie….