In May of 2019, San Francisco made headlines for passing the nation's first municipal ban on the use of facial recognition technology. In April of 2021, San Francisco could make national headlines again, for undermining their surveillance law.
Unless we stop them.
Here's what happened, In the spring of 2020, after cities erupted in Black Lives Matter protests after George Floyd was killed by Derek Chauvin's knee on his neck, San Francisco's Police Department secretly asked the Downtown Business Improvement District if they could have a remote live link to their private camera network to spy on the protests. No one knew, not the supervisors and not the public. That link was kept open for more than a week.
After being uncovered by a public records request last fall, participants in those protests filed a lawsuit Williams vs San Francisco alleging a violation of their rights and SF law, and the broad coalition that supported the ordinance asked the Supes to make sure this would never happen again.
But the current proposal does the opposite: it directly authorizes the secret borrowing of surveillance tech and limits it with meaningless caveats about the tech having to be "used" and the use having to be "regular" instead of intermittent.
In short, these amendments would gut the ordinance so any surveillance equipment could be borrowed without the knowledge of the public and the Board of Supervisors as long as the claim is made that the equipment wasn't used.
That's not surveillance transparency. That's secret surveillance.
We can stop this, but the rules committee of the San Francisco Board of Supervisors needs to hear from you. Now.
Email the Rules Committee to;
Say NO to weakening the ordinance to accommodate SFPD's lawbreaking.
Say NO to betraying the SF communities that worked to enact SF's historic 2019 ordinance.
Say NO to directly and intentionally targeting activists and protesters.
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