Oakland passes groundbreaking municipal law requiring citizen oversight of local surveillance

Originally published at: https://boingboing.net/2018/05/03/race-to-the-top-2.html


It sounds like a move in the right direction but I still feel reserved about even calling it a nice start. An annual report is not very fine grain oversight.


And how exactly does one verify the accuracy of this report? And whose heads roll if something was left out?


Cold water alert: they’ll find a way around it, if it’s even needed to begin with.

I’ll try to be cautiously optimistic that this is the start of something that works in the long run, because the use of cameras is spreading…

How much does it cost to completely fire and rehire a police force?

What sort of penalties does it lay out if the cops violate it? How would this new body know if they just left something out?

Oakland has always been ahead of the curve for citizen oversight:


More significant is that the PD now has to ask ahead of time in order to buy new toys. And the citizens’ committee has to approve it before it can even go to the council for a vote. The report is more in the nature of justifying that the initial outlay and any ongoing expense are worth it.

If the PD violates the rules, citizens can sue for money and get the information collected permanently removed as evidence. A number of lawyers in and around Oakland have an excellent track recod of winning suits against the city, council, and department, so this isn’t without teeth.

More troubling are the “temporary use” loophole for very large or sudden emergencies and no description that I can find of how the committee members are to be selected.

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Now we’re talking…

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