Adding to a small, but growing list of organizations that publicly oppose construction of Oakland’s Domain Awareness Center, or DAC, the Electronic Frontier Foundation sent a letter today to city councilmembers calling on them to halt the project.
The council is scheduled to vote on a resolution at tonight's meeting that would allocate $1.2 million for the DAC, and approve contract negotiations with Schneider Electric to complete the project. And if the city administrator can't reach an agreement with Schneider Electric to finish the surveillance center, the resolution allows for city staff to immediately approach another potential contractor. The previous contractor that completed the first phase of the DAC project, Science Applications International Corporation (SAIC), lost the contract after it was revealed that it is a nuclear weapons contractor. SAIC therefore violated Oakland's Nuclear Weapons Free Zone Ordinance when they signed affidavits swearing they carry out no nuclear weapons-related work.
The EFF is a respected voice in public policy debates on civil liberties, technology, and security. Its staff and board members include lawyers, technologists, and also academics affiliated with Harvard, UC Berkeley, and Carnegie Mellon University. Like many civil liberties organizations, the EFF has increasingly focused on issues related to government surveillance and policing as law enforcement and federal agencies carry out controversial spying programs and build more intrusive surveillance infrastructures.
The EFF joins the ACLU of Northern California in opposing the project, and a coalition of Oakland residents called the Oakland Privacy Working Group.told an audience that the city council is "engaged in willful ignorance," in allowing the DAC to move forward. "They are beefing up their intelligence activities. Oakland is the guinea pig for what's going on," said Siegel, referring to federal funding for construction of the DAC, and presumably federal access to the center's data. would not open. "Until you figure out the questions of individual liberties, how they'll be protected, how long that data will be kept, for what purpose it will be used, I don't think we can open that center," said Parker.