Spy Hard with a Vengeance

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Description This talk will cover the reign of surveillance that has secretly taken over the United States, and offer suggestions on how we can fight back. It’s the story of how the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) tried to create a fusion center in Oakland California. In particular, I’ll be sharing details of the Oakland privacy policy I helped create in response to this intrusive spy system. My hope is to teach the framework we created, shed light on how these issues affect both Americans and Europeans, and how businesses and governments can find a balance between security and privacy.
Website(s) https://oaklandprivacy.wordpress.com/, https://www.eff.org/deeplinks/2015/02/oakland-considers-privacy-policy-its-domain-awareness-center, https://oakdac.wordpress.com/
Type Talk
Kids session No
Keyword(s) social, political, security, safety
Tags policy, surveillance, department of homeland security
Processing village Milliways
Person organizing Aestetix
Language en - English
en - English
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Subtitle How one city stood up to the Department of Homeland Security
Starts at 2015/08/16 14:00
Ends at 2015/08/16 15:00
Duration 60 minutes
Location Milliways

In the years since 9/11, the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) has, sometimes secretly, funded information fusion centers in major cities. Often run and operated by private companies with little to no public oversight, these fusion centers gather data from sources including license plate readers, surveillance cameras, social media websites, and more. In addition, many centers incorporate technologies like facial recognition software, and have little regard for data retention and/or data sharing limitations.

In August of 2013 (during OHM!) the public learned that the DHS was working to create such a fusion center in Oakland, California, called the Domain Awareness Center, or simply DAC. Living up to its name as the last refuge of radicals in America, the citizens of Oakland fought back. After nine months of non-stop protests at City Hall and elsewhere, the Oakland City Council created a citizen appointed ad-hoc committee to craft a privacy policy for DAC, requiring completion of the policy before moving forward. While most of the committee members were lawyers, I was appointed to the committee as a technical expert.

In early 2015, after nearly a year of discussion and debate, our committee released the first privacy policy of its kind in the United States. This represents a significant step towards curtailing privacy violating surveillance systems run by both the DHS and NSA, and also gives a framework by which other cities, including cities outside the US, can begin to discuss what a reasonable balance of security and privacy should be. Given that so many of the surveillance panopticons are lurking in the shadows, crafting one with limitations and transparency adds a lot to the ongoing debates.

This talk will cover all of the above and more. I’ll cover some of the background of what has been happening in the US since 9/11, why Oakland has served to be both a brilliant and disastrous choice for DHS to approach, some of the challenges we ran into during the process, and will explain specific details within our policy that help preserve protected activities like free speech.