Welcome to Surveillance City

This week’s Notes from the Emerald City will be somewhat truncated this week due to my extremely heavy workload. But I did want to put out something since there’s an important public meeting on Monday!

Surveillance City

Seattle is embarking on a process to attempt to massively expand surveillance in the city by attempting to procure 3 new technologies: CCTV, acoustic gunshot technology (AGLS) like Shotspotter, and Real Time Crime Center (RTCC) software, a cloud based surveillance tool that centralizes data from multiple surveillance tools. There are multiple concerns about these technologies, including their ineffectiveness, their cost, their chilling effect on civil rights, and their negative impact on marginalized and vulnerable communities. 

I am in the process of writing an article exploring these technologies in more depth and hopefully explaining what they are and their possible consequences in a way that is easy to understand. So look for that soon at the Urbanist.

In order to procure these technologies, the City first needs to go through a Surveillance Impact Report (SIR) process, which includes a Racial Equity Toolkit (RET). Right now Seattle is trying to rush through the SIR, and there are many ways you can get involved!

    • You can sign on as a group or individual to this letter.
    • You can attend this month’s two public meetings that are part of the SIR process and give public comment (either in person or remote): 
        • Monday, February 12 from 12-1pm @ City Hall
        • Tuesday, February 27, from 6-7pm 
    • You can fill out survey forms for each of the three technologies. Possible talking points are here and hopefully my upcoming article will also help folks wrap their heads around what we’re talking about here.

King County Youth Jail

I wrote a piece for The Urbanist about Executive Constantine pushing back the timeline for closing the youth jail. 

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