Hello, this is Maty C from cohort two.
tldr the Boston City Council will soon be considering a ban on the use of face surveillance in the City. A second ordinance creates transparency and accountability with regards to city agencies sharing information with police and other law enforcement agencies (including ICE). LFP can submit written testimony in support of both ordinances. I’ve done this with my library union for the state surveillance moratorium. Hit me up!
If you’d like to know more read on:
Recently attended ACLU of Massachusetts web meeting regarding two surveillance ordinances that will soon be considered by the Boston City Council. The meeting brought together organizations from across the city such as Boston Teachers Union, Unafraid Educators, Student Immigration Movement, Muslim Justice League and others.
The first ordinance, cosponsored by Councilors Michelle Wu and Richard Arroyo, would ban the use of face surveillance technology by City agencies (including for example Boston Public Schools, Boston Police Department and Department of Transportation) and the use of any information derived from face surveillance technology by authorities. The ordnance also creates a private right to seek enforcement of this ban.
The second ordinance is often referred to as a ‘Community Control Over Police Surveillance’ (CCOPS) ordinance and would be a local law that would give the City Council control over the acquisition and deployment of surveillance technology in our neighborhoods and relevant practices. Currently, BPD and other city agencies are acquiring invasive technology with no oversight and in secrecy. This ordinance would put a democratic check on procurement of technologies and returns control and oversight of surveillance practices to the City Council.
An important section of this ordinance includes a provision pertaining to information sharing among Boston Public Schools, Boston School Police, and Boston Police Department; and between them and the federal government. Boston School Police (BSP) are informally sharing ‘incident reports’ with police, who go on to share student’s information with BRIC (Boston Regional Intelligence Center) and then other Federal law enforcement agencies. This ordinance will create oversight and accountability with regards to the sharing of student information with police, and clearly define reporting criteria.
This provision in the CCOPS ordinance aims to create:
Clear criteria: Defines clearly what qualifies as a legitimate use of a report so that routine school matters don’t go to law enforcement
Transparency and communication: Mandates informing students and families before their information is shared with the BPD
Oversight: Requires oversight at the school, district, and community level (through a Community Information-Sharing Oversight Board)
Accountability and training: Requires training for all Boston School Police and school administrators on these new protocols
The Student Immigration Movement and Unafraid Educators and the Muslim Justice League are the awesome partners working on this with the ACLU-MA.
Between these two ordinances, an affirmative vote on each in the City Council would ban the use of face surveillance in Boston, give the City Council oversight of surveillance technology acquisition and policy, and introduce new policies that would mandate transparency, define criteria for information sharing and create a community oversight committee to audit the sharing of student information with police. The City Council will convene soon to consider these ordinances.
What can we do?
•submit written testimony in favor of the ban and CCOPS. ACLU-MA will be offering templates we can build on or use for inspiration shortly.
•Testify in the online City Council hearing in support of the ordinances
•Share out information about the ordinances on social media
•Call or write each of the city councilors in support of these ordinances
LFP can collaborate to create written testimony and submit it to the coordinators at ACLUM, who will deliver to the Council. I can share out to those who are interested the two union testimony documents that we submitted, one for the state moratorium and one for this city face surveillance ban (we need to update our letter to include the second ordinance). Let’s do the thing!