December 11, 2013
Oakland, California, a city known as a hotbed of progressive politics, is about to deal a major blow to its residents' privacy rights in a very high-tech 21st-century way. Recently, Oakland City Council approved the next phase in building a Domain Awareness Center (DAC) for domestic surveillance. This push for high-tech surveillance comes in the midst of growing evidence that suggests it has little effect on crime rates, according to recent studies from organizations like the ACLU and the Urban Institute.
On July 30, Oakland City Council unanimously approved a $2 million grant from the Department of Homeland Security for Phase 2 in building the surveillance system. The total project will cost $10.9 million through DHS grants.
Science Applications International Corporation, a military contractor, was selected as the company to build the surveillance system earlier in the process. Recently, however, it was revealed that Science Applications International Corp. was connected to nuclear weapons. Oakland's Nuclear Free Zone Ordinance, passed in 1988, prohibits the city from doing business with companies that "knowingly engage in nuclear weapons work".