February 18, 2014 | By Nadia Kayyali

EFF Submits Letter Opposing Oakland's Domain Awareness Center

EFF submitted a letter to the Oakland City Council opposing the Domain Awareness Center, a surveillance system that would aggregate information from multiple sources across the city—including 35 CCTV cameras, 40 live video surveillance cameras, 25 traffic camera sites, license plate readers, and Oakland’s “[gun]shot spotter” system. The project would also include partnerships with other agencies and intelligence centers, such as the Northern California Regional Intelligence Center, a fusion center located in San Francisco that has access to the FBI’s eGuardian database, among others.

Today's letter joins earlier statements from ACLU of Northern California and the Oakland Privacy Working Group against the DAC:

EFF opposes the idea of extending the DAC into a citywide system for law enforcement use, far from its original intended use as a port security measure to prevent terrorist attacks. Furthermore, the privacy policy that has been drafted by City Administrator Santana is inadequate; although given the expanded purpose of the DAC, it is doubtful that any privacy policy could salvage it.

Oakland residents have also vocally opposed the DAC. This resistance has led to the creation of a completely inadequate privacy policy framework, but the project has continued to move forward, apparently because deadlines are looming for the federal grant money that will enable the expansion of the DAC from the Port. The reason for opposing the DAC is clear:

The DAC, by its very nature, enables unconstitutional surveillance. It will enable unprecedented access to information from around the city by aggregating previously unrelated data sources. This aggregation exponentially increases the reach of every piece of technology included, creating a web of surveillance that stretches across the city and allows for a comprehensive picture of the activities of Oakland residents. Under the California Constitution, surveillance should be specific and targeted. Instead, this allows for persistent and pervasive surveillance of all Oakland residents.

EFF is happy to join in the call to halt the DAC project where it stands now.

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