Oakland Councilmember Noel Gallo: “Our right
to privacy is being challenged by the tools we carry,”
he said, including smartphones.
Councilmember Desley Brooks, the chair of the public safety committee, moved the agenda item by consensus Tuesday afternoon. A 30-day public comment period will follow, she said. “We truly want to get comment,” said Brooks, who also instructed staff to add language allowing city officials and council members access to the center upon activation during emergency situations.
Access to information procured by DAC is limited to designated city and port employees on a “need to know basis,” in addition, to limits on sharing its data. “In order for DAC staff to provide DAC data to non-City of Oakland agencies there must be a warrant based upon probable cause, court order, or a written memorandum of understanding or contract approved by the City Council after enactment of this policy.”
If successful, the inclusion of definitive policy to protect residents from digital infringement of the privacy would be another success for advocates, some of which, also pressured the City Council last year to dramatically limit the DAC to only the port and not throughout Oakland.
The surveillance hub, originally planned to be outfitted with disparate data feeds, from security cameras at Oakland schools to city streets and various other state and federal agencies to protect the Port of Oakland, was limited last March 2014 to functions only dealing with the port. Funding for the original DAC came from the U.S. Department of Homeland Security.
The Port of Oakland’s Board of Commissioners then pulled funding for the DAC last year even though its chief function only dealt with port security. Some Oakland council members appeared perplexed by the port’s decision. However, its staff noted the city remains the port’s first responder in cases of emergency.
“I’m very disappointed in the port commission’s decision to pullback funding that was previously promised for this operation,” said Councilmember Dan Kalb. “That decision is shameful in my opinion.”
Earlier, a port official told the committee its commissioners voted to “reprogram” its portion of federal funding of the DAC when the city council limited the proposal to the port last March. Instead, because the port already maintains additional security on its own, it would be better suited to focus on its own resources absent the far-reaching multi-agency DAC.