San Jose, Calif. (June 9, 2016) – On Wednesday, the Santa Clara County Board of Supervisors unanimously passed a surveillance technology ordinance that sets the stage to limit the acquisition and use of spy gear by law enforcement and other county agencies. It also highlights a strategy that can be used to take on federal surveillance programs.
Under the new ordinance, local law enforcement agencies in the county must get board approval prior to purchasing new surveillance technology or implementing existing technology in new ways. It also requires any agency using such technology to inventory, standardize and publicly disclose their digital data collection systems, and to establish and enforce safeguards governing data retention and access.
Restore the Fourth initiated the effort to get the ordinance passed with three primary goals in mind.
– Require public debate and a usage regulation before the equipment is deployed
– Require annual reporting of how the surveillance technologies are being used
– Require criminal penalties if these regulations are intentionally avoided
According to National Board Secretary and Chair of RT4 San Francisco Bay Area Zaki Manian, the Santa Clara County ordinance accomplishes all three goals. Passage of the county law sets the stage to drastically limit the use of surveillance technology in the county and to keep the data law enforcement does collect from being widely shared.
“We think that the passage of this law will introduce a firewall against the secret adoption of current and future surveillance technologies like mass biometric collection. Our…