Oakland moves forward with massive citywide surveillance center despite protest
By End the LieOakland, California will be moving forward with their plans to build a citywide, centralized surveillance center, despite a great deal of protest from residents.
End the Lie reported on Oakland’s “Domain Awareness Center” in July of this year and it seems the many concerns surrounding the federally funded project remain intact.
The Oakland City Council agreed in a 6-1 vote to move forward with the center, even after the meeting was repeatedly disrupted by Oakland residents. The Nov. 19 meeting ended only after police cleared out the council’s chambers.
While the center began as a federally funded project aimed at fighting potential terrorism at the Port of Oakland, it has now widened to the entire city.
After the latest vote, a new contractor will be hired to design and assemble the center.
The current contractor, Science Applications International Corp. (SAIC), was pulled from the project after it was found to be connected to nuclear weapons.
“A 1988 city law restricts Oakland from doing business with companies considered to manufacture nuclear weapons,” SF Gate reported last month.
Yet the local residents seemed totally opposed to the entire project.
“I don’t want to live in a city that is testing this giant surveillance system, because I believe it is going to be used to criminalize normal existence,” Magdalena Kazmierczak, a West Oakland resident, said.
The center has already been allocated $10.9 million in federal grant money by the city.
In addition, the city plans to apply for $2.6 million in additional funds in order to create new law enforcement positions, Reason reports.
Local residents are not alone in their opposition to the center. The San Francisco-based Electronic Frontier Foundation and the American Civil Liberties Union of Northern California both voiced opposition to the project.
The groups said that there are currently no privacy guidelines in place or limits on what data the city can collect and retain as part of the center.
Reason raises an interesting point in noting that earlier in 2013, the county sheriff was seeking to buy a drone.
It seems that the county has a great interest in surveillance, though the attempt to buy the drone appears derailed for now.
While the county may not have their own drone any time soon, they will soon have a massive 24/7 surveillance center pulling innumerable data feeds and other sources, whether Oakland residents like it or not.
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