Tag Archives: Tracy Rosenberg

SB-1421; When Will We Get The Records?

By Tracy Rosenberg (Oakland Privacy and The Aaron Swartz Day Police Surveillance Project)

SB 1421 isn’t perfect…But even with its limitations, the bill provides more law enforcement personnel transparency than has been possible in California for decades.

When then-governor Jerry Brown signed Senate Bill 1421 in October of 2018, police misconduct records were expected to start flowing on January 1.

That isn’t what’s happened, although small quantities of records have started to come out from certain cities, including Burlingame, Oakland and Berkeley.

To recap, SB 1421, one in a long line of bills that for more than a decade have tried to crack open California’s restrictive police officer’s bill of rights, turned records of investigations and discipline after incidents of lethal force or sustained incidents of sexual assault, evidence planting or lying, into public records that could be gotten with a public records request.

SB 1421 isn’t perfect. It freezes records when there are internal investigations going on and when lawsuits are in progress, which can cause lengthy delays before there is public transparency. And in cases where sexual assault, perjury and evidence-planting allegations aren’t sustained internally or in a court, records will still be sealed. But even with its limitations, the bill provides more law enforcement personnel transparency than has been possible in California for decades.

Even this modest of a change was met with outrage and rebellion by many of the state’s police unions, which have relied on the obscurity of misconduct proceedings to protect member cops from accountability for the crimes they commit.

Police unions ran into court all over California, asking for stays and injunctions in San Bernardino County, Ventura County, Los Angeles, Orange County and in Contra Costa County. Because you can’t unrelease a record after it has already been released, the courts have had to issue temporary stays while considering the issue, but at the now four courts where the cases have been fully argued, Contra Costa, LA, and now Orange County and San Diego, the police unions have lost big.

Arguing that cops involved in lethal incidents or caught lying and/or planting evidence relied on their investigative hearings hidden from view has drawn skepticism from judges, who have continued to insist that the public’s right to know outweighs the police right to hide and that illegal and criminal behavior from the police is not protected behavior that the State should help to conceal.

All the lower court rulings have been appealed, so there will be a few more months of legal jousting, but in the end, the records are going to flow. At least the ones that are left, since a few enterprising police unions have been convincing their City Councils to revise document retention protocols in order to pitch them. The first and second district of the Court of Appeals have upheld the lower court decisions releasing misconduct records and the California Supreme Court has resisted every request to intervene so so far it is public records 6, police unions 0. Those results are expected to be the same in any further legal suits.

For more background on SB-1421, here are a few references:

  1. SB-1421 Peace officers: release of records. (California Legislative Information Page) https://leginfo.legislature.ca.gov/faces/billTextClient.xhtml?bill_id=201720180SB1421

  2. ACLU Northern California: Lifting the Veil of Secrecy: Police Misconduct & Use of Force (SB 1421) Author: Sen. Nancy Skinner (D-Berkeley) https://www.aclunc.org/our-work/legislation/lifting-veil-secrecy-police-misconduct-use-force-sb-1421

  3. KQED’s California Report, January 2, 2019: State Supreme Court Denies Attempt to Block New Access to Police Misconduct, Shooting Records https://www.kqed.org/news/11715442/state-supreme-court-denies-attempt-to-block-new-access-to-police-misconduct-shooting-records

Early Bird Passes Now Available For This Year’s San Francisco Event

New! Saturday’s Hackathon Schedule!

(From left to right) (Top Row) Aaron Swartz, Cindy Cohn, Brewster Kahle, (Bottom row) Barrett Brown, DJ Spooky

Get your “Early Bird All Access Pass” Here

After Tuesday August 14th at Midnight, Get your Tickets here

These Early Bird Passes are only available until midnight on August 15th.

Hello everyone in Aaron Swartz Day-land. We are expecting a full house this year for our San Francisco Hackathon and subsequent Reception & Evening Event. This will be our largest event to date, and many of our speakers are flying in from out of town.

For these reasons, in order to supplement our finances for this year’s grand extravaganza, we have decided to sell some “Early Bird All Access” Passes.

So, until midnight on August 15th, you can buy an “Early Bird All Access Pass” for only $20! (For up to 100 passes, while they last.)

Each “Early Bird All Access Pass” Includes:

1) Admission to both days of the Hackathon ($25 value) (Don’t panic. No one will be turned away for lack of funds. See the note at the bottom of this announcement :)

2) Admission to Reception and Evening Event ($50 Value)

3) Admission to After Party – 10:30 pm-2am ($20 Value)Location TBD

8pm – Evening Event – Special Guests Speaking or Performing (or both):

DJ Spooky (Multimedia Artist, DJ/Musician, Author, Historian, Educator)

Barrett Brown (Author of the upcoming book: My Glorious Defeats: Hacktivist, Narcissist, Anonymous: A Memoir, Pursuance Project, Journalist, Former Political Prisoner)

Lisa Rein (Aaron Swartz Day, Creative Commons, The Swartz-Manning VR Destination, ASD Police Surveillance Project, ASD Solar Survival Project)

Daniel Rigmaiden (Cell Phone Surveillance Expert, Exposed Stingray to the Public)

Cindy Cohn (Electronic Frontier Foundation)

Brewster Kahle (Internet Archive)

Steve Phillips (Pursuance Project, Noisebridge)

Mek Karpeles (Open Library, Internet Archive)

Plus More Special Guests – We will be making daily updates here!

HACKATHON INFORMATION:

Saturday & Sunday – 10am – 6pm

New This Year: On site VR, Robotics & 3-D Printing Demonstrations.

Hackathon Speakers Confirmed So Far (Many more coming):

Barrett Brown (Author of the upcoming book: My Glorious Defeats: Hacktivist, Narcissist, Anonymous: A Memoir, Pursuance Project, Journalist, Former Political Prisoner)

Steve Phillips (Pursuance Project, Noisebridge)

Cyrus Farivar (Author of “Habeus Data,” Technology Journalist, & Radio Producer)

Daniel Rigmaiden (Cell Phone Surveillance Expert, Exposed Stingray to the Public)

Tracey Jaquith (Internet Archive)

Tracy Rosenberg (Oakland Privacy.net, Media Alliance)

Dave Maass (Electronic Frontier Foundation)

Matteo Borri (Robots Everywhere LLC, NASA (Mars Rover Contractor), ASD Solar Survival Project)

Lisa Rein (Aaron Swartz Day, Creative Commons, The Swartz-Manning VR Destination, ASD Police Surveillance Project, ASD Solar Survival Project)

Mek Karpeles (Open Library, Internet Archive)

Get your “Early Bird All Access Pass” Here

After Tuesday, August 14th at Midnight, TICKETS HERE

Above: Lisa Rein and Barrett Brown at San Francisco’s Noisebridge Hackerspace.

As always, please write aaronswartzday@gmail.com if you need a free ticket. There are student discounts too, but you need to write us first to get the code.

 

Summer Update: The Aaron Swartz Day Police Surveillance Project

See Tracy Rosenberg, Daniel Rigmaiden & Lisa Rein discuss the Solar Survival Project – LIVE, on November 10, 2018 at the San Francisco Hackathon.

TICKETS HERE

We’ll be posting “Summer Updates” all week regarding our endless hackathon projects that we kept going from last year’s event.

The first is our new quick tutorial with templates for our Aaron Swartz Day Police Surveillance Project – or #ASDPSP.

These templates enable you to compel the Police and Sheriff Departments for a given City and County to hand over all documentation on all known surveillance equipment. (Including documentation and information regarding all software used and any data it collects and stores.)

If you’re wondering what the situation is exactly with all of the surveillance equipment (and the data about the public that is being collected via this equipment) – in most major cities across the country –  you’ll want to read my latest interview with Tracy Rosenberg of Oakland Privacy.org, entitled “The Aaron Swartz Day Police Surveillance Project #ASDPSP – Reports Back: Here’s #WhatWeFound In Sacramento.

Tracy created the templates, and explains even more about the different types of equipment our templates ask about.

Here are the first two detailed interviews with Tracy on this topic:

Interview with Oakland Privacy’s Tracy Rosenberg On The Aaron Swartz Day Police Surveillance Project

How a little “working group” stopped Oakland from becoming a mini-fusion center for the Department of Homeland Security.

The Aaron Swartz Day Police Surveillance Project  is all about developing a larger strategy for determining what types of surveillance equipment a city’s police and sheriff departments have already purchased and whether or not a surveillance policy is in place to monitor that equipment – regulating how that equipment is used against their citizens.

This project started during Aaron Swartz Day 2017’s Sunday hackathon. Before that event was even over, it was clear that it had been really successful and we were all very pumped and had decided to just keep going until next year.

The results of doing so are just starting to pour in, and I’m going to be doing my best to give you the full story – both here on the Aaron Swartz Day website, and over on Mondo 2000, over these next few months, leading straight into this year’s event.

We just added two new templates (Zip file of all templates in .PDF, Zip file of all templates in .DOC) to our tutorial – one for Police Departments (City) and one for Sheriff Departments (County) – that include the use of facial recognition software, since it came out recently that Amazon has been literally giving away its facial recognition software to law enforcement, in the hopes of getting a number of early implementations. Not a bad marketing strategy, and we’re not saying the software shouldn’t be used; just that there should be a surveillance policy framework in place that regulates how it can be used against citizens.

Special thanks to Muckrock, without which this project would not be possible.

 

 

Tracy Rosenberg Explains How to Compel Police & Sheriff Departments To Admit What Surveillance Equipment They Already Have

See Tracy Live at this year’s San Francisco Hackathon!

TICKETS HERE

Lisa Rein has written a pair of articles in Mondo 2000 with Tracy Rosenberg from OaklandPrivacy.org.

Tracy explains the importance of the Aaron Swartz Day Police Surveillance Project, and its mission of filing public records requests en masse, in order to retroactively determine what kinds of surveillance equipment and software a city’s Police and Sheriff Departments already have.

We will have a complete tutorial with templates and step-by-step instructions, so you to start doing this yourself, next week.

For now, please read these articles to get a better idea of why this project is so important, for all of us, right now.

How a little “working group” stopped Oakland from becoming a mini-fusion center for the Department of Homeland Security.

(How The Occupy Oakland Privacy Working Group became Oakland Privacy)

 

and

Interview with Oakland Privacy’s Tracy Rosenberg On The Aaron Swartz Day Police Surveillance Project