Few cities have done as much as Oakland to examine and push back against the ways law enforcement, through new technology and shared databases, collects personal information, images and communications of criminal suspects and innocent bystanders alike.
Some worry that data collected by new police technology, such as cell tower simulators and automatic license plate readers, could be used to locate immigrants without legal residency solely for the purpose of deportation. This year, ICE paid a contractor for access to license plate data.
The Privacy Advisory Commission was formed in January 2016 after privacy advocates fought to scale back the scope of a city surveillance center meant to safeguard the Port of Oakland against a terrorism attack. Since then, the commission has helped shape ordinances to limit assistance between police and federal immigration officials and the local police data that the city shares with federal law enforcement agencies.
“We are trying to cut the data pipes to ICE,” Hofer said. “We want people to know and apply what Oakland has already proven, and that is the simple phrase of ‘community control.’ We can have control over our personal data.”
Justice Department officials have pledged to review the actions of Mayor Libby Schaaf, who warned immigrant communities of upcoming raids. The Department of Justice has since cut all forms of assistance between law enforcement and federal immigration agents. Schaaf has said she is willing to go to jail in defense of her city’s policies.
Read more in the Los Angeles Times.