Demand Democratic Oversight of Public Surveillance
SurveillanceReform.org is a coalition of civil society organizations and individuals in Portland committed to enforcing accountability and transparency in surveillance and data management.
What Is the Problem?
Right now, here in Portland, there is no legal framework of any kind to guide or limit the way the city uses surveillance technology or the way that it collects and handles the resulting data. At the same time, Portland has quietly become the 9th-most-surveilled city in the United States.
What Does This Mean?
It means that, right now, city bureaus, including the police, have free-reign to install any surveillance technology they wish. They can do whatever they would like with the data that is generated and share it with any other agency or organization they want, without limitation.
All of this is happening without transparency or oversight of any kind.
At SurveillanceReform.org, we believe that the potential for abuse in a system of this kind is extreme.
It’s Time to Put the People Back in Control
These Are Our Demands:
We need a powerful, civil-rights and civil-liberties focused surveillance ordinance.
This ordinance must include:
Surveillance technologies and data management methods used by our city must be completely transparent.
Any and all risks to civil rights and civil liberties must be carefully accounted for and clearly communicated to Portland residents.
Portlanders deserve to know how we are being watched, why and what is being done with our personal data.
Portlanders must have a say in how data is collected and how we are being monitored.
Independent, legally-empowered and citizen-led oversight is essential.
Proposed surveillance technologies must be democratically-approved and the decisions made by democratically-elected representatives must be fully enforceable.
When decisions are made, Portlanders need to know by whom and how to seek redress if there are problems or abuses.
Any and all data must be kept safe and all sharing must be accounted for.
Surveillance must only occur when there is a clear, necessary purpose. If that purpose isn’t met, or if the purpose doesn’t outweigh the risks, then the surveillance needs to be retired.
What’s Wrong With Limitless Surveillance?
What are the risks that surveillance without oversight carries?
Surveillance affects traditionally marginalized communities the most, because surveillance strategies are often applied unevenly.
Chilled Expression and Assembly
Surveillance chills the way law-abiding people express themselves, especially when something is legal, but unpopular or controversial.
Data persists. Future administrations could use past-surveillance to quell dissent, target dissidents or manipulate the democratic process.
SOURCES FOR FURTHER READING:
ACLU: What’s the Government Doing Targeting Civil Rights Leaders?
REPORT: Disparities in British Monitoring of Black Residents
Automatic License Plate Readers: A Ted Fellow Speaks
ACLU: What’s Wrong With Public Video Surveillance?
Huffpost: Black Lives Matter Targeted, a Reminder of COINTELPRO
Slate: Surveillance Chills Speech, Even With “Nothing to Hide.”
PBS: Muslim Americans and Post-9/11 Surveillance
Sign the Surveillance Reform Letter Now
Your Voice Matters!
We can maintain safety and security without sacrificing transparency and accountability.