“We should dismantle every intelligence agency in this country piece by piece, brick by brick, nail by nail.” — Rep. Ron Dellums (D-Oakland), 1975
The Domain Awareness Center (DAC) is a planned surveillance hub which aims to integrate public and private cameras and sensors all over the City of Oakland into one $10.9M mass surveillance system. After mounting opposition to DAC in 2013 and 2014, The Oakland City Council voted on March 4, 2014 to restrict DAC to a primarily Port-focused operation by removing citywide ShotSpotter maps and city traffic cameras from the system, and requiring any further expansion or information-sharing decisions to come before the Council for approval. Needless to say, this issue is highly controversial, and not only here in Oakland: many US cities, and other cities worldwide, are watching closely to see how Oakland’s example will play out. (If you are unfamiliar with the topic, see this 2-minute overview.)
On July 30th, 2013 Oakland’s City Council unanimously approved a $2M grant for Phase 2 of the DAC, which will be funded by grants from the Department of Homeland Security (DHS), and implemented by the military contractor Science Applications International Corporation (SAIC).
The DAC will aggregate video feeds and real-time data from a number of sources around Oakland. Possible program components for the DAC include integration of closed-circuit video feeds (CCTV) from all over Oakland, including 700 cameras at Oakland public schools and 135 cameras at the Oakland Coliseum complex. Video and data feeds from all over Oakland are to be aggregated and monitored at the DAC, then analyzed with license plate recognition software, thermal imaging and body movement recognition software, possibly facial recognition software, and more.
Note: This is Phase 2 of the DAC. Phase 1 dates all the way back to 2008. 2008 info report
The DAC’s stated intent is to improve the response time and coordination of first responders, rather than as a crime prevention strategy, though neither the city nor the program implementer has provided any data showing that DAC implementation would improve response times for emergency personnel or reduce violent crime.
Analysis of the use of video surveillance by the American Civil Liberties Union concludes, “Meta-analyses from the UK, along with preliminary findings from the US, indicate strongly that video surveillance has little to no positive impact on crime.” ACLU White Paper Surveillance Cameras
Full timeline of DAC developments is below. For the current situation & next steps, scroll all the way to the bottom.
July 9–July 16, 2013: Opposition Builds to the Domain Awareness Center
Phase 2 funding for the Domain Awareness Center (DAC) passed the Public Safety Committee on July 9, 2013 and needed to pass full council to receive funding. Joshua Daniels (@HarryElephante) live tweeted the July 9 Public Safety Committee meeting and Mary Mad (@marymad) followed up with a Chirpstory account of the tweets (here). Steven Tavares (@eastbaycitizen) posted the history and current status of the DAC the following day.
During the July 9 committee meeting city staffers and a representative with the surveillance contractor SAIC delivered a PowerPoint on the planned scope for the DAC. The PowerPoint presentation is below:
Watch the DAC item at the July 9 meeting of the Oakland Public Safety Committee below:
The Oakland Public Safety Committee approved Phase 2 funding for DAC unanimously and with no debate in committee on July 9. The DAC item was then slated for the full council meeting on July 16, 2013, and was put on the council’s “consent calendar” by the Public Safety Committee, which means the committee regards the item as non-controversial and without need for much if any public input.
Prior to the full council meeting, many Oakland residents contacted their councilmembers, especially via Twitter, to tell them they were concerned about the DAC. At the July 16 city council meeting approximately 20 people signed up to speak on the DAC item. As soon as the item was called, District 1 Councilmember Dan Kalb, who said in the Public Safety Committee meeting on July 9 that he found the DAC project “very exciting,” said he would like to hear the public speakers and the staff report, then ask some questions, and possibly take the item off of the consent calendar.
Watch the DAC item at the July 16 meeting of the Oakland City Council below:
Councilmember Dan Kalb first said that he wished his constituents had told him of their concerns earlier, since Oakland residents are notified of things on public agendas 10 days before meetings. He then asked some questions of Renee Domingo, Director of Emergency Services and Homeland Security at Oakland Fire Department (OFD), and Ahsan Baig, Manager of Information Systems for the City of Oakland. District 3 Councilmember Lynette McElhaney asked staff to reiterate that, at present, facial recognition is not part of the capabilities. At the July 9 committee meeting, councilmembers were told that facial recognition technology would be an easy software upgrade by OFD and the implementer of the DAC surveillance program, Science Applications International Corporation (SAIC). Also, the staff report (Oakland DAC Staff Report.pdf ) from OFD Chief Teresa Deloach Reed refers to the military contractor SAIC as an “Oakland-based firm,” even though SAIC is headquartered in northern Virginia, has more than 40,000 employees, and only has a small local office in the Ask.com building in downtown Oakland. [Also note that SAIC is in the news (as of 2013-08-05) for creating new malware which attacks Tor anonymity.] No privacy guidelines or data-retention policies were made available, and it is still unclear what agencies would have access to these video- and data-streams from all over Oakland. City staffers stated that they planned to get the money first, then design protocols, best practices, and decide whether or not they were going to store data and for how long. District 4 Councilmember Libby Schaaf still proposed passage as long as it was added in that if data storage and/or facial recognition was added that the DAC had to come back before the council. District 7 Councilmember Larry Reid then proposed holding this item over, saying that the Oakland Police Department can’t get basic technology like cell phones and radios working correctly, and that he thought it was inappropriate to fund something like this without further discussion. District 6 Councilmember Desley Brooks said that she agreed, that this was something that shouldn’t have been on the consent calendar. She also clarified that this was for a system that wasn’t put in place yet. The item was moved to the July 30 meeting of the Oakland City Council, and put on the non-consent portion of the agenda, which allows for greater debate and input from the community.
One speaker serenaded the meeting in a hooded raincoat and long red bandana with a rendition of “Everybody must get droned.”
July 30, 2013: Oakland’s City Council Unanimously Passes the DAC
50 people had signed up to speak on the DAC item that the council held over, due to public outcry over privacy concerns, from its last meeting on July 16. However, in a seeming attempt to suppress public criticism of the council’s plan to approve the DAC, the item was not heard until nearly midnight, by which time about half of the speakers (including representatives from the National Lawyer’s Guild of San Francisco and the Bill of Rights Defense Committee) had been forced to leave. Public speakers who waited over six hours to speak (including Linda Lye, a staff attorney with ACLU of Northern California) urged the council to veto the DAC item, at least until community-approved privacy restrictions were in place. However, the concerns of Oakland residents, civil rights groups, and privacy advocates failed to sway the Oakland City Council from unanimously approving (6-0) DAC Phase 2 funding. Councilmembers who voted were: Noel Gallo, Dan Kalb, Rebecca Kaplan, Pat Kernighan, Lynette Gibson McElhaney, and Libby Schaaf. (Desley Brooks did not attend the July 30 council meeting, and Larry Reid left the meeting before the DAC item was voted on.)
Phase 2 of the DAC will integrate public and private cameras from all over the city into one mass surveillance system to be analyzed with license-plate-reading technology, biometrics, thermal imaging, and possibly facial recognition technology, without any privacy or data-retention guidelines. The city plans to create privacy policies internally and have the council vote on them no later than March 2014. So far, funding for the DAC has come solely from the Department of Homeland Security (DHS). Phase 2 of the DAC will be implemented by the private military contractor Science Applications International Corporation (SAIC), who faced no competition in the bidding process for Phase 2 since they were selected as the Phase 1 contractor as well. The city still needs to get Phase 3 and 4 DAC grants from DHS to staff and maintain DAC for the first three years (2014–2017). After the first three years, in 2017 all maintenance and staffing costs associated with DAC will become the responsibility of the City of Oakland and will no longer be covered by federal grants.
The Oakland City Council approved Phase 2 of DAC on July 30, but says that it won’t “activate it” 24/7 until privacy guidelines and data-retention policies are developed (internally by the Port of Oakland and city staff) and voted on by the council no later than March 2014.
- Click here for the July 30, 2013 Oakland City Council Agenda
- Click here for contact information for the Oakland City Council
- Letter from the ACLU of Northern California to the Oakland City Council regarding the proposed DAC surveillance project (7/24/13).
- Watch video of the DAC item at the July 30 meeting of the Oakland City Council below:
August 2, 2013: Oakland Unified School District Denies Involvement In Any DAC Discussions
UPDATE August 2, 2013 11:43 AM CT: In an e-mail sent to Ars, Troy Flint, a spokesperson for the Oakland Unified School District said that this relationship was “speculative/hopeful on their part and not the product of any discussions or agreements between the Port and the District.”
“To that point, it’s probably worth noting that, in a 2013 presentation, the Port uses an OUSD logo from three iterations ago that has been out-of-use for nearly a decade,” he added. “I don’t doubt that certain agencies may aspire to the citywide surveillance system that includes OUSD, but that does not mean we have been included in these plans. It certainly doesn’t mean that we have collaborated in them merely because someone has invoked the name of organization.”
November 2013: Updates Since August
Since phase 2 passed City Council on July 30th, Oakland privacy advocates have been organizing around this issue. According to this post on Daily Kos, “The Oakland Privacy Working Group (Facebook) has been meeting semi-regularly to discuss DAC and other privacy concerns in Oakland. It has procured a boatload of information from a Public Records Request about SAIC and the DAC, and is now looking it over.” As you may recall, SAIC is the contractor that’s supposed to build the DAC.
In October, the DAC hit national news with coverage in the New York Times (with a hat tip to OakWiki - great job everyone!).
“Staff recommends that the City Council adopt a Resolution authorizing the City Administrator to award a contract for Phase 2 of the Domain Awareness Center (DAC) project implementation to a vendor from the pool of vendors responding to the Request for Proposal titled ‘City of Oakland/Port of Oakland Joint Domain Awareness Center’.”
Measure T Compliance
In October it came out (how?) that SAIC violated Measure T, Oakland’s Nuclear Free Zone Ordinance (passed in 1988) that prevents the city from doing business with companies that “knowingly engage in nuclear weapons work.” From that same Daily Kos article:
In 1988, Oakland passed a Nuclear Free Zone Ordinance which, although parts of it were found unconstitutional, contained a non-voided provision that
…prohibits Oakland from doing business with firms that “knowingly engage in nuclear weapons work.” Being that SAIC is a multi-billion dollar company ($4B in revenues) that engages in defense work, one can hardly be surprised if some of that work were to touch on nuclear weapons technology.
And, in fact, they have now so acknowledged.
… after the city asked for additional proof of compliance in August, Scott Handley, the firm’s operation contracts manager, wrote it likely had served “U.S. Department of Defense customers that arguably may be categorized as supporting ‘nuclear weapons work’ under the exceedingly broad definition” in the city’s disclosure form.
SAIC emails explaining (non)compliance
The email (from August, 2013) says that a) the person in charge of filling out the forms didn’t understand, b) the Ordinance stemming from Measure T was ruled unconstitutional and c) the division of SAIC contracting to work on the DAC is LSO, a division which does not do nuclear work.
Further, this email (received by public records request), from Deborah Barnes to Ahsan Baig, Renee Domingo and Shelley Darensburg dated August 2, 2013 after it was revealed that SAIC had nuclear ties, in violation with Measure T, indicates that the City had decided to go ahead with the contract anyway:
”You may have been briefed- but just in case, yesterday Renee [Domingo] and Ahsan [Baig] convened a meeting with city and port staff to include our legal, Mayor [Jean Quan]’s office and Karen B. It was determined that Compliance will follow up on the Nuclear Free Zone and Arizona policies and most importantly that we would collective [sic] stand by the decision to award to SAIC.”
November 19, 2013: Amidst protests & hints at Oakland WikiLeaks-style revelations, the Oakland City Council moves forward with Phase II of DAC
After passing the Public Safety Committee on Nov. 12th, on Nov. 19th the full City Council voted on a resolution that would allow the city administrator to pick a new vendor for Phase II of the Domain Awareness Center out of the list of vendors who previously responded to the RFP. This came after revelations that SAIC was out of compliance with Measure T, Oakland’s Nuclear Free Zone Ordinance. This law prohibits the city from doing business with any contractors, companies, and/or consulting firms who knowingly engage in nuclear weapons work.
The companies now being considered as contractors for the DAC include Schneider, Motorola, G4S, & GTSI. It appears a number of these contractors would also violate the anti-nuclear measure (there’s more information on the nuclear industry ties of the other companies in the DAC vendor pool in this Pueblo Lands blog post). If it failed, the city would have to issue a new RFP for vendors for Phase 2. Additionally, because there are timing issues with the Department of Homeland Security grant that the city received to fund the DAC, if the vote failed, the city would have to reapply for the grant. This is why the folks who want to see DAC happen want to pass this resolution.
Oakland privacy advocates geared up to stop the resolution from going forward. There was a rally and “pack city hall” event planned for the night of the vote on Tues. 11/19. More info here. Facebook event here.
More than 60 residents signed up to speak on the DAC item. The item was placed last on the agenda by city staff. It is regular practice for the council to move items with the most speakers up in the agenda, but Council President Kernighan refused to move the DAC item up in the agenda, even though the DAC item had more than twice as many speakers signed up to give public comment than any other item on the agenda that night. The item wasn’t called until nearly midnight, more than 6 hours into the meeting. Dozens of residents waited more than 6 hours and spoke out against the resolution and the DAC. Protests and chants also arose from the crowd at various points. Residents/speakers/protesters also took photos of Renee Domingo to try to make a point about the erosion of privacy.
Watch the DAC item at the November 19 meeting of the Oakland City Council below:
One speaker spoke about emails that would include information relating to the waiver that SAIC received from requirements relating to Measure T and also Deanna Santana’s role in the waiver. Here’s a video of that speaker:
In the end, with members of the crowd chanting “TABLE IT”, the City Council decided to move forward with the vote. For those who couldn’t hear them, this could be seen happening via the teleprompter on the big screen behind the council. The vote on the resolution to move forward with the DAC passed with all City Council members voting for it except Lynette McElhaney. After the vote on the resolution at nearly 1 AM, chants of “Shame” erupted from many still left in council chambers. Council President Kernighan then ordered the police to clear the council chambers completely and only allow members of the press with OPD press credentials into the meeting. Press members lacking credentials were ejected from the “public” meeting.
The hashtag #oakmtg was trending during the meeting & the general feeling from folks using that hashtag (aside from the neutral #oakmtg livetweeters) was disappointment in City Council & unhappiness with the DAC resolution passing.
February 3, 2014: Updates since Nov. 19, 2013
What was the status after the Nov. 19th City Council Meeting?
After the Nov. 19 City Council meeting, a new RFP for a contractor for phase 2 was going to be expedited by city staff (Ahsan Baig, when questioned by councilmember, specifically said that they would be expediting the RFP in order to meet the terms of the DHS grant that’s funding the DAC). It was only going to be offered to the vendors who responded to the previous RFP. Those vendors would have to submit self-audits (yes?) to indicate their compliance with Measure T, the city measure that prevents the city from doing business with companies that are in the nuclear weapons industry.
On Jan. 27, Oakland Privacy Working Group issued a cease and desist to the city
On Jan. 27th, the Oakland Privacy Working Group issued a cease and desist to the City of Oakland. Their press release states: “The Oakland Privacy Group today demanded through counsel that Oakland city government immediately Cease and Desist building the Domain Awareness Center and stop working with military contractors in violation of Oakland’s Nuclear Free Zone ordinance or face a lawsuit.”
On 1/28, Public Safety Committee voted to send new DAC contractor to full council for approval
On January 28, 2014 the Public Safety Committee considered the recommendation to go with Schneider Electric as the DAC Phase II contractor and decided to send it on to full council (again). Below is a supplemental report on DAC that city staff presented at the January 28, 2014 Public Safety Committee Meeting.
Individual speakers at the January 28, 2014 Oakland Public Safety Committee meeting:
CITY/PORT OF OAKLAND (YouTube Videos)
OAKLAND RESIDENTS/ACTIVISTS/ACLU (YouTube Videos)
#OAKMTG #DAC 01-28-14 Alan Brill
#OAKMTG #DAC 01-28-14 Assata Olugbala
#OAKMTG #DAC 01-28-14 Brian Hofer
#OAKMTG #DAC 01-28-14 Eddan Katz
#OAKMTG #DAC 01-28-14 Jesse Smith
#OAKMTG #DAC 01-28-14 John Klein
#OAKMTG #DAC 01-28-14 Joshua Smith
#OAKMTG #DAC 01-28-14 JP Massar
#OAKMTG #DAC 01-28-14 Linda Lye
#OAKMTG #DAC 01-28-14 Miguel Vargas
Full video of the DAC item at the January 28, 2014 Oakland Public Safety Committee meeting:
On Feb. 1, privacy activists held a protest downtown
On Feb. 4, privacy activists held a protest in front of City Hall
Many people, such protest. Check #DAC hashtag for more photos & details. Please add more info here.
February 18, 2014 City Council Meeting
On Jan. 28, the Public Safety Committee voted to send the recommendation for a new contractor for the DAC (Schneider Electric) to the full City Council for approval. The DAC item was scheduled to go before the full city council on February 18, 2014. At the February 18 council meeting ~80 privacy advocates signed up to speak on the item, including speakers from the ACLU, EFF, The Oakland Privacy Working Group, Wellstone Democratic Club, CAIR, Lighthouse Mosque, former city council member Wilson Riles, Jr., Fred Hampton Jr., members of the League of Women Voters, several neighborhood groups, and many others. After nearly 3 hours of public comment and 2 hours of debate the council decided to delay the vote until the March 4th council meeting.
Full video (nearly 5 hours) of the DAC item at the February 18, 2014 city council meeting is below:
At the February 18th meeting members of the council, for the first time really, expressed concerns over the scope and mission of the project, citing disclosures by NSA whistleblower Edward Snowden and using terms like "mission creep" to describe how DAC evolved from a port security program into a mass surveillance system for the entire city. Many members of the council expressed that they would like to see DAC return to its original purpose — to secure the port — and would like to see the plans for surveillance outside the port scrapped. The DAC item will return to city council on March 4th.
March 4, 2014 City Council Meeting
|Councilmember||Voted on the Port-Centric Version (Passed 5-4)|
Dan Kalb- D1
|Pat Kernighan- D2||Yes|
|Lynette Gibson McElhaney- D3||No|
|Libby Schaaf- D4||No|
|Noel Gallo- D5||No|
|Desley Brooks- D6||Yes|
|Larry Reid- D7||Yes|
|Rebecca Kaplan- At-large||No|
|Mayor Quan (tie-breaker)||Yes|
Before the March 4th City Council meeting, city staff issued a supplemental report and a slideshow intended to answer the questions and concerns raised by council at the February 18th meeting. While the report did provide additional information about the purpose and capabilities of DAC components, it still left many questions unanswered, and made clear that some concerns of the council, such as the privacy and data retention policy, potential information-sharing plans with Federal agencies, and cost-sharing agreements with the Port of Oakland, had yet to be settled. Staff noted that three options were available: (1) proceed with Phase II for a Port-focused DAC which kept the Phase I capabilities in place, (2) proceed with Phase II for a Port-focused DAC and remove some city-oriented capabilities which had already been implemented in Phase I, or (3) do not move forward with the DAC project at all.
Since the City Council had made clear on February 18th that a majority of them supported limiting DAC to a Port-centric system until technical and civil liberties issues could be explored further, Mayor Jean Quan apparently read the writing on the wall and released an open letter to the City Council and the Oakland community a few hours before the March 4th council meeting, expressing her support for limiting DAC to the Port of Oakland until privacy concerns could be further explored.
Before the March 4th council meeting began, members of Oakland's Islamic community held a press conference outside City Hall, highlighting how post-9/11 surveillance has disproportionately focused on Muslims and people of color, and arguing that DAC would inevitably enable further persecution.
Although some of the people who signed up to speak were signers of the Declaration of Independence who were sadly unable to make it to the meeting, scores of people did comment on the item, and were unanimously opposed to DAC. The public speakers were notably more diverse both racially and politically than at previous meetings, including numbers members of Oakland's Lighthouse Mosque, Democratic Party activists, former City Councilmember Wilson Riles Jr, civil liberties advocates from the ACLU and EFF, former Occupy Oakland activists, computer security professionals, current Mayoral candidate Dan Siegel, and a nine year old who opined that "DAC stands for 'Destroy All Coolness'." Speakers raised a wide variety of concerns, such as the targeting of religious and racial minorities, the repression of dissent and protest, the surveillance of labor organizers at the Port of Oakland, the vulnerability of DAC to warrantless infiltration by Federal agencies or other malicious actors, and the likelihood of additional financial costs to Oakland's budget due to ongoing staffing, maintenance and lawsuits.
After the public speakers had their say, the City Council turned to discussion of Councilmember Brooks's amendment which would limit the scope of DAC by removing non-Port feeds, but allow DAC to proceed as a Port-centric video surveillance system. Council asked staff some questions regarding whether integration of city police and fire dispatch systems ("CAD") into DAC was an important functionality, and whether or not the Port was adequately sharing costs for all the staff work being done on DAC. Mayor Quan and representatives from OPD, OFD and the Department of Information Technology stated that integrating CAD systems into DAC would be essential to public safety in an emergency. After Council President Kernighan said that she would withdraw her own proposal and support Councilmember Brooks' amendment if it was changed to allow city CAD data to remain in DAC, Councilmember Brooks agreed to the compromise and her motion was voted on.
Councilmembers Brooks, Kalb, Reid and Kernighan voted yes on Brooks's motion to move forward with the Schneider contract for Phase II of DAC but disable most of the non-Port aspects except for the CAD dispatch data. Councilmembers McElhaney, Gallo, Kaplan and Schaaf voted no on Brooks's motion, leaving the council in a 4-4 tie. Mayor Quan had the option of casting a tie-breaking vote, and clearly wanted fewer restrictions on DAC, but after it was made clear to her that no viable alternative motions would be on the table, she voted "yes," allowing work on DAC to proceed in a contract with Schneider Electric, but removing most of the city-focused feeds such as Shotspotter data and city traffic cameras.
Reaction to the vote among DAC opponents was mixed. The majority of people in the audience wanted the city to abolish DAC altogether, and viewed anything less as a failure, or at best a pyrrhic victory because it will allow Oakland and the Port to surveil workers and protesters at the Port of Oakland (which has been the scene of numerous protests over the decades, especially in the buildup to the 2003 invasion of Iraq, during Occupy Oakland, and in labor actions by Port truckers in 2013) and establish a foothold that the city can use to build a citywide surveillance system in the future. Other DAC opponents present saw the March 4th Council vote as a major victory, since it not only added restrictions on future expansion of DAC and required civil liberties safeguards, but also removed most of the city-oriented DAC capabilities which had been implemented under previous contracts, such as the city traffic cameras and shotspotter.
Full video of the DAC item at the March 4, 2014 Oakland City Council meeting:
The hashtag for Oakland city government meetings -- #oakmtg -- trended so highly during the March 4th city council meetings that bots started spamming the hashtag:
May 1, 2014 Domain Awareness Center Ad Hoc Advisory Committee on Privacy and Data Retention
Ad Hoc Advisory Committee appointed by City Council to draft a Privacy and Data Retention Policy has initial meeting.http://oaklandprivacy.wordpress.com/2014/04/28/may-1-city-of-oaklands-first-privacy-committee-meeting/
Status: The committee has been meeting.
Schedule: 2nd and 4th Thursdays at City Hall. Meetings are open to the public.
Blog: Ad Hoc Oak DAC is an unofficial blog. Some of the working papers, minutes, and other documents are shared there.
After the vote on March 4, 2014 to limit the scope of the DAC to the port, Mayor Jean Quan told the media that she plans to bring back the citywide mass surveillance components of the DAC that the council rejected back one by one. We need to watch all council and committee meetings and go through all agendas on a regular basis to look for such actions.
The Oakland Privacy Working Group may still move forward with a lawsuit over issues with Phase 1 of the DAC and other compliance issues with city law, contracts, public records requests, selective enforcement, etc.
- 2013-07-10: Big Brother In Oakland? There Might Be An App Coming For That (Analysis), East Bay Citizen
- 2013-07-18: Oakland surveillance center progresses amid debate on privacy, data collection, Center for Investigative Reporting
- 2013-07-19: A Proposed Citywide Surveillance Center in Oakland is Delayed as Opposition Builds, East Bay Citizen ‖ Controversy Brews Over Proposed Oakland Surveillance Program, KGO Radio 810 ‖ We Are Watching Oakland, Seattle Privacy ‖ CIR Reporter Ali Winston Speaks On Domain Awareness in Oakland, KPFA Radio
- 2013-07-20: SAIC: Oakland’s Border Militarizing, Drone Flying, Nuclear Weapons Engineering Surveillance Contractor, Pueblo Lands
- 2013-07-22: #OakMtg Hashtag Flexes Its Growing Political Muscle (Analysis), East Bay Citizen
- 2013-07-23: Oakland’s Port Surveillance System May Expand to the Entire City, All Gov
- 2013-07-24: ACLU Urges Oakland City Council to Put the Brakes on Surveillance Center, ACLU of Northern California ‖ Letter from ACLU Attorney Linda Lye to the Oakland City Council regarding the proposed DAC surveillance project ‖ Urban Surveillance State Prototype in Oakland Exemplifies “Security” Mission Creep, Truthout
- 2013-07-26: Oakland Surveillance Center Progresses Amid Debate on Privacy, Data Collection, NBC Bay Area
- 2013-07-29: Oakland To Consider Privacy Concerns Over Surveillance Program, Oakland Tribune
- 2013-07-30: Oakland May Pull Together Surveillance Data for Law Enforcement, The California Report ‖ Domain Awareness Center on Reddit (made the front page)
- 2013-07-31: Oakland OKs Money for Surveillance Center, San Francisco Chronicle ‖ Oakland accepts federal funds for controversial vast surveillance setup, Ars Technica ‖ Oakland says yes to surveillance center, no to hammers at demonstrations, Oakland Tribune ‖ Oakland’s centralized surveillance plan faces public outcry, The Verge ‖ Oakland City Council approves controversial surveillance center, KTVU ‖ Amid Cries Of ‘Shame,’ Oakland Approves Funding Citywide Surveillance Program, East Bay Citizen ‖ Oakland OKs First Step “Tools of Violence” Ban, Surveillance Cameras, NBC Bay Area ‖ Phil Matier: Oakland City Council Approves Surveillance Center, KCBS Radio ‖ Criminalizing California, Common Dreams ‖ Nuclear Twist In Oakland’s Surveillance Center Controversy, KGO Radio 810
- 2013-08-01:Oakland Approves Funding Citywide Surveillance Program, KQED News ‖ Oakland’s Creepy New Surveillance Program Just Got Approved, Electronic Frontier Foundation ‖ Oakland Domain Awareness Center Project Status Presentation: May 2013, Public Intelligence ‖ Oakland promises to get data retention and privacy policies in place later, Metafilter
- 2013-08-02: News Panel: Immigration Reform, BART Negotiations, Oakland Surveillance, and FBI Bust, This Week in Northern California
- 2013-08-03 How One U.S. City is Becoming a Surveillance State, Care2 ‖ Oakland’s creepy new surveillance program, Infowars ‖ Seattle Privacy Coalition Discusses Surveillance in Seattle and Oakland, KEXP
- 2013-08-05 Oakland Approves Funds for High Tech Surveillance, Law Technology News
- 2013-08-07 All eyes on Oakland as Oakland has plans for eyes on all, Digital Journal ‖ Oakland City Council accepts federal grant to create Domain Awareness Center, Loss of Privacy
- 2013-08-09 The Surveillance-Free Day (Part III), New York Magazine ‖ One thousand cameras: how centralized surveillance snuck into American cities, The Verge
- 2013-08-12 If I were in charge … of reducing Oakland’s crime rate, The Guardian
- 2013-08-18 Activists Publish Home Addresses of Oakland Councilmembers, San Leandro Talk
2013-08-19 Opinion: Oakland Breaks New Ground in ‘Controversial’ Integrated Incident Management, PUBLICCEO.COM
”Oakland’s long history of civil discourse and protest adds to the need. The Oakland Emergency Operations Center has been partially or fully activated more than 30 times in the past three years to respond to large demonstrations and protests.” – Renee Domingo (August 19, 2013)
- 2013-08-27 Oakland’s Surveillance Contractor Has a History of Fraud, East Bay Express
- 2013-09-09 Does your local government have a “black budget” too?, ACLU
- 2013-09-11 We Are Being Watched, East Bay Express ‖ Oakland’s City Wide Surveillance Network Being Built By Contractor With A History Of Fraud And Little Regard For Civil Liberties, TechDirt
2013-09-17 Domain Awareness Center May Bring Proactive Policing to Oakland, Digital Communities
Lye and the ACLU claim that by building the DAC, the city is setting out to conduct mass surveillance and stockpile information about the public. The city and the police dispute this claim, stating that privacy policies are not yet in place, but policies will ensure that data collection and retention policies will be in accord with the law.
- 2013-10-14 Privacy Fears as Surveillance Grows in Cities, The New York Times ‖ New program sees big data used for local policing, Salon ‖ Oakland dedicating anti-terrorism funding to surveillance supercenter, Russia Today
- 2013-10-21 The Sunny Side of Mass Surveillance, The Atlantic Cities
2013-11-06 Nuclear law forces Oakland to back out of surveillance center contract, Oakland Tribune
A little-known law precluding the city from doing business with companies connected to nuclear weapons makers has Oakland searching for a new firm to complete a surveillance center that has come under fire from privacy advocates.
- 2013-11-06 Wednesday Must Reads: Oakland Kills Deal with Surveillance Contractor; San Francisco Vote Could Be Bad News for Warriors’ Owners” East Bay Express
- 2013-11-15 Seattle Presses Pause on Its Mass Surveillance Plans, The Atlantic Cities
- 2013-11-17 Tuesday: Oakland City Hall to fight the Domain Awareness Center, parkerhiggins.net
- 2013-11-18 Oakland’s Vendor Pool to Complete the City’s “DAC” Mass Surveillance System Is Filled With Nuclear Weapons Contractors, Pueblo Lands
- 2013-11-19 All the Potential Contractors for Oakland’s Controversial Surveillance Center Have Ties to Nuclear Weapons, East Bay Express
- 2013-11-20 Oakland moves forward with surveillance center, San Francisco Chronicle
- 2013-11-21 Oakland Moves Forward With Plans For Orwellian Surveillance Complex, RT America
- 2013-11-26 Chip Johnson seems to think Oakland City Hall belongs to politicians, not the people, Oakland Local
2013-11-27 Oakland Surveillance Contractor Lied On Official Documents, East Bay Express
City staffers appear to have known that the contractor was not telling the truth when it swore under penalty of perjury that it wasn’t involved in nuclear weapons work.
- 2013-12-11 Does Oakland Really Need a High-Tech ‘Domain Awareness Center’? Evidence Suggests Surveillance Doesn’t Do Much to Affect Crime Rates, AlterNet
- 2013-12-13 Oakland’s Domain Awareness Center Will Make Youth Curfews Look Like Weak Sauce, Oakland Local
2013-12-18 The Real Purpose of Oakland’s Surveillance Center, East Bay Express
City leaders have argued that Oakland needs a massive surveillance system to combat violent crime, but internal documents reveal that city staffers are also focused on tracking political protesters.
- 2013-12-19 Just Because You’re Paranoid Doesn’t Mean Oakland Isn’t Building a Terrifyingly Orwellian Surveillance Center, San Francisco Magazine
- 2013-12-30 Oakland looks into more surveillance, drones to fight local crime, Al Jazeera America
- 2013-12-31 Oakland’s spy center: neighborhood safety with an Orwellian feel, Examiner.com
- 2014-01-09 Oakland mayoral candidate Dan Siegel calls for end of citywide surveillance hub, the Domain Awareness Center, East Bay Express
- 2014-01-17 Petition: kill the Oakland “Domain Awareness Center” spy-program, Boing Boing ‖ Oakland finds new vendor to complete controversial surveillance center, Oakland Tribune
2014-01-22 The Hidden Costs of Oakland’s Surveillance Center, East Bay Express
Federal Funds are financing the construction of the Domain Awareness Center, but city documents show Oakland likely will have to pay at least some of the DAC’s $1.2 million in annual operating costs.
- 2014-01-27 Surveillance, an essay on surveillance, race and the DAC by Darwin Bond-Graham on their blog Pueblo Lands.
- 2014-01-28 Public Remains in the Dark about Planned Oakland Surveillance Center, ACLU of Northern California ‖ Proposed Oakland Surveillance Center Hits Roadblock, CBS 5KPIX SF Bay Area
2014-01-29 Nuclear law again threatens Oakland surveillance hub, Oakland Tribune via Contra Costa Times.com ‖ Oakland Should Unplug the DAC, East Bay Express ‖ Oakland's Nuclear Free Zone Law Proving Troublesome for Future of DAC, EBCitizen
“If something is a wholly-owned subsidiary, that’s part of the company,” said Councilmember Dan Kalb. “That’s not for debate.” Kalb also admonished city staff for a passage in the proposed resolution allowing the administration to choose another vendor without council approval.
2014-02-05 Oakland Surveillance Center: Fact or (Science Fiction), KQED News
”People look for technological silver bullets to solve problems, when oftentimes there are very serious policy, legal and societal issues that are really the problems.”
- 2014-02-07 Privacy Activists’ Nuclear Option: Suing Oakland Over Spy Center’s Nuclear Weapons Contractors, Truthout
- 2014-02-13 OPD Documents Expose Grave Potential for Abuse of Domain Awareness Center, ACLU of Northern California
- 2014-02-17 Citizens’ group threatens to sue City of Oakland over new surveillance systems, KTVU
- 2014-02-18 The Testing Ground for the New Surveillance, Medium ‖ EFF Submits Letter Opposing Oakland's Domain Awareness Center, Electronic Frontier Foundation
2014-02-19 Oakland city officials delay vote on new surveillance system, KTVU ‖ Oakland council delays call on surveillance hub, San Francisco Chronicle ‖ Oakland council sours on surveillance system, Oakland Tribune ‖ Oakland Council Backs Away from Surveillance Center, East Bay Express ‖ Privacy Groups Urge Oakland City Council to Scrap DAC; Vote Postponed, Oakland Local ‖ Oakland doesn't want a bloated surveillance center, thank you very much, Privacy SOS || Oakland residents tell city: 'stop the spy center', Al Jazeera
2014-03-04 Letter To Oakland City Council Regarding Proposed Domain Awareness Center, National Lawyers Guild (NLG) || Unchecked Mass Surveillance of the Entire City of Oakland is Not OK, ACLU of Northern California
2014-03-05 Oakland Approves Scaled-Back Version of Disputed Surveillance Center, KQED || Oakland to limit surveillance center to port, airport, San Francisco Chronicle || UPDATE: EFF Fights Back Against Oakland's Disturbing Domain Awareness Center, Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF) || Oakland City Council Rolls Back the Domain Awareness Center, East Bay Express || Oakland council limits surveillance system to port, Oakland Tribune || Oakland votes to limit scope of centralized surveillance program, The Verge || OP-ED: Pull the Plug on the Domain Awareness Center, Dan Siegel (in the Oakland Post)
- City of Oakland DAC Surveillance Project Staff Report
- City of Oakland DAC Surveillance Project Supplemental Report
- Port of Oakland DAC Report
- Professional Service Agreement - City of Oakland and SAIC (pt 1).pdf
- Professional Service Agreement - City of Oakland and SAIC (pt 2).pdf
DAC Contract with SAIC:
(via Public Records Request)
- Domain Awareness Center Purchasing Invoices March-July 2013 (many PDFs)
- City of Oakland Domain Awareness Center Emails (2,584 pages total – OCR Searchable PDFs - December 11, 2013)
- City of Oakland Domain Awareness Center Emails September-December 2013 (357 pages total – OCR Searchable PDFs – January 29, 2014)
- Oakland Domain Awareness Center HP NFZO Violation Exhibits by Joshua Smith (31 page PDF – January 21, 2014)
- Cease and Desist, Debarment Letter Re: DAC Phase 2 Contract 01-27-14 (6 page PDF with active source links)
- ACLU NorCal DAC Letter to City of Oakland Public Safety Committee – Agenda Item #6 01-28-14 (4 page PDF)
- City of Oakland/Fire1/EOC/DAC Sun Oracle Exadata Storage Server – Packing List (16 page PDF)
- Oakland Housing Authority RFP #12-046 Lockwood Gardens Security Camera System (134 page PDF)
- Oakland Housing Authority RFP #12-046 Lockwood Gardens Security Camera System – Addendum 3 (27 page PDF)
- City of Oakland Public Safety Committee 01-28-2014 Agenda (3 page PDF)
Oakland City Council Laws and Procedures
- Oakland City Council - Rules of Procedure
- City of Oakland Sunshine Ordinance
- Oakland Nuclear Free Zone Ordinance
- Brown Act
- Oakland Privacy Blog
- US Senator from Oregon Ron Wyden’s Speech on Domestic Surveillance, Center for American Progress
- United States Senate Committee on Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs: FEDERAL SUPPORT FOR AND INVOLVEMENT IN STATE AND LOCAL FUSION CENTERS (PDF)
- Awards to MTS Related Projects through the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act, 2010 (PDF)
- How Britain exported next-generation surveillance long-form Matter article touches on surveillance in CA (about mid-article) and provides useful context/contrast by showing what other cities/states/countries are similarly doing.
Cryptoparty: A free monthly Internet privacy and security workshop right here in Oakland!
- The Cryptoparty Handbook: A bit of background.
Tactical Tech: These folks help activists manage and secure their tactical communications.
- Security-in-a-box: A great how-to booklet on securing your stuff!
- Privacy-conscious email services
Some people support the Domain Awareness Center, as evidenced by the councilmembers who voted in support of it. Others feel the concerns expressed here are 'overblown' and 'paranoia'. [ They are free to edit; I would suggest a separate page because this one is already unwieldy. ]