Letter: Opposition to Surveillance Cameras

(The following are remarks by Francesca Wright at the City Council Meeting)

Tonight I am representing Yolo People Power: Envisioning Liberty and Social Justice and Yolo ACLU.  We would like to comment on the two surveillance items on the agenda.

Yolo People Power strongly urges the Davis City Council to reject purchase of additional remote cameras and automatic license plate readers to monitor automotive access to the City of Davis.  We oppose these technologies on the following basis.

  1. First and foremost, no evidence has been provided that such technology prevents crime.
  2. Secondly, investing in a massive data collection system clearly is an invasion of privacy and can be misused by overzealous policing. As described by the ACLU, it is “a warrantless tracking tool, enabling retroactive surveillance of millions of people.”
  3. Thirdly, you created and selected a hard-working team of volunteers to serve on the Davis Police Accountability Commission. This community body has reviewed and unanimously rejected the proposal.  If you are going to appoint commissions, please listen to them.  They are your electorate.
  4. If you select to ignore the advice of the PAC, decide to contribute to massive public monitoring, and invest thousands of our public dollars in an unproven technology, please place auditing and oversight of the technology in the hands of the Davis Police Auditor, not the Police Chief as the Chief has proposed. I direct you to page 07B-12, section (j).

The timely electronic sharing of policing data through the Accurint Virtual Crime Center may have merit in some situations.  The PAC offered a set of questions which we expect you will ask staff to address prior to deciding.  If you approve this item, we strongly urge you to do so only after updating the use policy to assign auditing and oversight to the Davis Police Auditor.

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Disclaimer: the views expressed by guest writers are strictly those of the author and may not reflect the views of the Vanguard, its editor, or its editorial board.

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    1. Bill Marshall

      Listening to commissions’ recommendations is one thing… and very important…

      Acting in lock-step with recommendations from a commission, something very different… very important not to do that…

      Key is to listen to all the ‘voices’ and recommendations, then use independent judgement before acting.

      1. Ron Oertel

        Key is to listen to all the ‘voices’ and recommendations, then use independent judgement before acting.

        Wow – wouldn’t have thought of that.  Thanks for sharing.

  1. Keith Olsen

    I would bet that if the council conducted a survey on how its citizens felt about the cameras they would find that they had no problem with them.

    1. Alan Miller

      The same citizens that willingly put personal information about themselves on social media, ready for harvesting by the next fascist regime? – – yeah, probably so.

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