Starting Privacy Advisory Commission reporting for 8/05/21. They'll be discussing DPW's proposed ALPR/video surveillance project on illegal dumping, and OPD will be submitting 2 years of ALPR reports its behind on, as well as proposed usage policy--all late.
They're having a lot of technical issues so far, and taking a few minutes to get on top of that and establish quorum.
The meeting begins with open forum, Asata Olugbala only commenter, talking about the lack of provision of same programs and protections for Black residents as undocumented residents.
They're on to the DPW surveillance/ALPR item. Chair Hofer begins by advising the DPW rep that the item can't go forward as the law doesn't allow City surveillance technology with facial recognition technology. Gives DPW opportunity to present anyway, despite
DPW and the provider, Verkada, are arguing that the technology isn't specifically facial recognition. Casey Keller, the Verkada rep, says the system is "very different", in that it's not tied to a third party database
Keller says it's "face matching", which would match facial features to other faces in the current database. Keller also says that feature would be turned off. But Chair Hofer responds that is the definition in the legislation, says intent of legislation is to discourage the tech
Hofer says there's other missing components in the proposal, including the proposed contract. Hofer says they can go thru the process and use it as a teaching opportunity. But he says the facial recognition part, despite the argument by Verkada, makes it DOA.
Staffer Joe Devries says that Council has provided the funding for a video surveillance anti-dumping program, so they should go through the process so that DPW can learn what to expect, training
Victoria Chac is the DPW city staffer
Chac says that there are areas that DPW wants to get the bodies input on. Chac says that no more than 4 DPW staff would have access to the system, including herself as the super-user. Only DPW operations manager, Frank Foster, would have that level of access.
Per Hofer's request, Chac summarizes why surveillance/ALPR tech would help DPW achieve its goal on curbing dumping. Chac says that there is currently an enforcement program of four officers, she says the cam/ALPR system would "demonstrate the City's resolve by ID'ng, prosecuting"
Chak says that cam/ALPR system would capture evidence, identify dumpers in process of dumping, and then investigative work by enforcement officers [EEOs]. The system is based on a surveillance cam with additional ALPR. Staff would want them city wide at "chronic dumping hotspots"
Chac says the system would be put on city lightpoles, signals, transit shelters.
David Ferguson assistant director at DPW, says DPW tried a similar system in 2001 but the system wasn't good at capturing identities. He says the magnitude of dumping is three to four fold from ten years ago--DPW is looking for more tools to discourage dumping.
Hofer notes Verkada suffered a significant security breach HACK 👀. He asks if there's been add'l security features since then. Verkada's Keller says they were on the road map to implement better security, but were attacked before they implemented. He says they're in place now
Commissioner Chloe Brown says to be able to judge benefits to drawbacks, they need more data on scope of illegal dumping. She also says Commission would need specific locations, there could be sensitive geographic locations to put the cameras with unintended consequences.
[IMO, council has a really bad habit of budgeting surveillance systems that aren't going to pass muster at Commission, when they could simply consult with them first]
Commissioner Henry Gage asks for the 2000-era camera failings that caused the program to prove ineffective then. Chac says the cams only operated 10% of the time, challenges with connectivity on a cell signal and power issues.
Chac says that the marketplace didn't have a "comprehensive out of the box solution" as they do now.
Gage asks if the old system could identify vehicles involved in dumping. Anthony Voucher with AMS dot Net says that they were the provider of the components of the 2000-era system. He says they only had 22 Gigs of data, then the service would slow down
Voucher says there was an ALPR system back then too, as well. He says ALPR was able to improve when they switched to ATT&T, but he says that he doesn't really know how well the system did in capturing perpetrators. But connectivity was never high enough for video capture
Gage says that the original system from the 2000s isn't very objectionable with its targeted ALPR for hotspots. He says there should be a vendor out there that doesn't include what's objectionable in the Verkada system, such as face matching/recognition.
Gona read this asap. Pretty ridic to show up with a vendor that just had a big data breach
Devries says one of the drawbacks of the 2000-era system is that there was no way to hold people accountable based on the dumping infraction, because the system didn't get into DMV or OPD. It would be sent to collections, no one would pay it.
Devries says that the DPW staff and Environment Unit at DA now have their ducks in a row to be able to bring civil penalties and prosecute. He says the bigger perpetrators especially can be better focused on.
Commissioner Tomlinson says that this sounds like the red camera system. Tomlinson asks what would trigger the camera to activate in a dumping situation. Rep says that it's constantly recording. Tomlinson, responds that's the rub,
Tomlinson says the 24/7 recording is the "heartburn" for them, and there's no trigger from illegal activity.
Hofer says that video and ALPR may have two different data retention periods. Chac says that it would be helpful to be able to eliminate the volume of data captured regardless.
Hofer asks how often someone is going to be looking at the video, issuing citations, which could reduce the retention period.
Verkada rep. Apparently, something I hadn't understood til now is that the City already had Verkada system placed at the previously defunct camera locations from 2000-era. So they are in operation now in Oakland in a limited way, collecting the data [I obscured the data]
Hofer says that the impact report didn't specify that pan tilt zoom, but Verkada says that it's a virtual, using software.
From what I heard, the Verkada system is already in operation, but not in an enforcement capacity in 4 separate locations. Um...
What the holy hell, this is also Verkada, the proposed DPW surveillance/ALPR provider
Commissioner Katz says that areas that will be hotspots are also homeless encampment areas, which will have constant surveillance. It also captures pedestrians [really good point about homeless encampments]
Verkada says that there is a 'privacy screen' option, area of capture that blocks recording.
Couple of issues coming up, first of all signs will warn people from dumping in those areas, people often obscure license plates, switch or take them off. Chac says that this just one tool to prevent dumping.
Hofer says that they don't have a "trial feature" for the ordinance, and the pilot they just used violates the ordinance. Wow, if I hadn't asked this during the meeting, the commissioners wouldn't have realized
Just to clarify, it appears the DPW and Verkada were operating the system before it was approved in two sites where the previous DPW surveillance system was in operation. The report to PAC did not specify that it was being used in a trial period. Very troubling.
So the Verkada/DPW system has to go back to the drawing board. They can come back with a plan that responds to the criticism of the PAC
We're now on to the OPD's ALPR reports and use policy.
Again, because it's become necessary, the OPD's ALPR system was on line before the PAC was in existence and has been operating without proper reporting or use policy. They are bringing two years of required annual reports from 2019 and 2020 tonight.
OPD's Figueroa says that they are creating a database tracking system to track requests from outside agencies for ALPR reports to be able to comply with annual report obligations.
A Commissioner asked if the new auditing system OPD wants to use will capture which "hotlist" that ALPR license plate get hits from. The tech says he assumes its being recorded, but doesn't know for sure.
Chair Hofer says that he prefers that none of the items OPD have brought go forward tonight. He says there's many "red flags". He says the PAC voted for a moratorium on ALPR's, Council sent OPD back to PAC to comply with reqs. Hofer says they haven't in this packet
Figueroa says that OPD added the info that they had interpreted needed to be included. Hofer says "we're on the way to litigation", he says that he's not comfortable having the discussion publicly, the missing info hasn't been provided
Hofer's red flags: "FBI has unfettered access to the data, which violates the ordinance; two year retention policy; claims that other agencies can have unfettered access due to MOUs"
Hofer says there's a trust issue, OPD keeps saying their giving the PAC what they've asked for, and it's not the case. He says OPD should go back to the City Attorney and help OPD look at the Council video on what they were required to come back with.
Devries asks PAC to set up an ad hoc to look at the reports before they come back to help OPD meet the requirements. He says OPD is trying [smh]. Hofer says he as questions about capacity from Commissioners for an ad hoc.
Hofer says that the day after the Public Safety Committee meeting in May, he met with the OPD command staff and they promised they would come with all the required info and they haven't. "begging for years for the info isn't productive"
Hofer says the City Attorney has to start weighing in on OPD's side to let them know whether or not they are meeting legal requirements. Hofer implies the Commissioners are also getting burnt out on the OPD's lapses.
PAC Chair Hofer has implied several times that he intends to sue the department over the required data issue.
Hofer says that they combine things in the reports that don't belong together, such as data from different years. He says its misleading and confusing. He says OPD also asks for blanket waiver on race demographic data, which is inappropriate
Hofer says that OPD is also proposing to adopt a new system for ALPR. Hofer says they haven't brought a contract and they say that the provider can't provide certain data. Hofer says that the new system is DOA if that's the case.
Commissioner Oliver says he agrees with Hofer. He says it's l ike "you guys really don't care." [Oliver is a former OPD officer, btw]. Oliver says that even some in the reporting of "examples" incorrectly expresses facts about direction, location.
Rarely mentioned. Oliver was forced out of OPD and his wife is currently suing OPD/City for retribution for her role in whistleblowing on Celeste Guap
Hofer says he had asked for factual basis OPD provided for defense of ALPR system--he had asked for OPD's claimed 147 examples of ALPR leading to successful search. He says it took years, he had to PRA it, and when he finally received it, there was only one. "It's always wrong"
Hofer says the OPD always seems to be guessing at the law instead of going to the City Attorney to remove the doubts.
Commissioner Suleiman says "it's really hard when you can't trust whether you're getting the full picture". She mentions the "trial period" that slipped out with DPW and Verkada, she says it's going on with OPD. She says she doesn't know if the body can fulfill its purpose
Hofer has publicly stated publicly that Commissioners are demoralized and exhausted, and that so far appears to be true. Suleiman says "this isn't sustainable"
Hofer moves to continue the OPD annual impact report and use policy to next meeting. He says he will poll Commissioners to see if they want to participate in the ad hoc. The motion passed unanimously.
Just before this @mlacabe thanked Hofer and Commission, and said this was a "shitshow". OPD doesn't take the ordinance seriously. He mentions that OPD had a cell site simulator in secret for years. He said OPD eventually takes the ordinance seriously

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