February 8th Meetup – Crafting Public Policy Governing the Use of Police Body Cameras

Our speaker this month will be Kathy Mitchell. Kathy is a volunteer with the Texas Electronic Privacy Coalition working to require police to get a warrant to access cell phone location data. She was a policy analyst on Open Government issues for Consumers Union for several years and led public advocate negotiating of the last major rewrite of the Public Information Act. In 2006, she was the PAC Treasurer for a Prop that would have opened police misconduct records if it had passed. She has been in the trenches for more than 20 years trying to make sure the public can see government records and hold government accountable while protecting that same public from government intrusion in the form of unwarranted surveillance.

Kathy will be discussing the privacy and data retention issues surrounding the coming widespread use of Police Body Cameras both in Austin and at large. Very soon, Austin police officers will be equipped with video cameras (body cams) that will always be on during encounters with the public. But the city has yet to finalize a policy around data collection, data privacy, data retention/expunction and public access. There is a strong interest in public access, especially for video related to misconduct or incidents in which a civilian is hurt or killed. There is also a strong interest in privacy for everyone who may be the subject of body camera video. This talk will walk through some of the options that are on the table for an APD body camera policy that encourages accountability while also protecting privacy. We will also discuss the process by which such a policy could be enacted, and what will happen if we enact no policy at all.

A good resource for attendees to read beforehand: http://calibrepress.com/2016/01/barriers-to-officer-worn-video-the-ten-per-cent-challenge/

Legislation authorizing body cams and setting the legal framework for Texas: 84(R) SB 158 – Enrolled version – Bill Text

City of Austin APD Bodycam page

COA body cam vendor RFP, now closed but downloadable: COA Financial Services

Current body cam policy to be replaced by one that addresses key issues: http://austintexas.gov/sites/default/files/files/Police/APD_Policy_2015-2_Issued_5-1-2015-updated.pdf (Go to policy 303 at page 125.)

Other references:

https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/the-watch/wp/2016/02/05/a-new-report-shows-the-limits-of-police-body-cameras/

https://www.brennancenter.org/analysis/police-body-camera-policies-privacy-and-first-amendment-protections

Our Latest Meetup – The ACLU – Protecting Your Privacy With Regards To Emerging Technologies

Time: Monday, September 21st, 7:00pm-9:00pm, Capital Factory

Our speaker this month will be ACLU organizer, advocate and lobbyist Lesley Ramsey. Lesley will talk about the ACLU’s work on privacy and technology and their upcoming conference in Austin on these topics.

Lesley Nicole Ramsey has spent the last fifteen years working as an organizer, advocate and lobbyist on issues including civil rights, health care, reproductive justice, fair wages, labor rights, fair trade, tax policy and voting rights. She worked five Texas legislative sessions as a lobbyist and advocate, including two years as the Chief Lobbyist and Executive Director of the Texas Association of Planned Parenthood Affiliates. More recently she served as the Executive Director of the Texas Civic Engagement Table, an organization created to increase the effectiveness of progressive organizations by helping them expand their reach into lower income communities and communities of color, and increase voter turn out in those communities. She was also a founding board member of the Lilith Fund, Texas Women’s Coalition and the Religion and Labor Network of Texas. Lesley has a Master’s Degree in Journalism from The University of Texas at Austin.

Our talk this month will also be co-hosted with 501 Tech Club. 501 Tech Club is a monthly gathering of people working on nonprofit technology in the Austin area. Their gatherings are opportunities for anyone interested in helping nonprofits use technology to get together and talk shop in a fun, informal setting, with their name referring to the fact that most of them work primarily with and for 501(c)(3) nonprofit organizations.

501 Tech Club is also our sponsor this month, and they have graciously donated beer and snacks for meeting attendees to enjoy.

April Meetup: Law Enforcement Body Cameras

For our April meetup, we invited APD Commander Ely Reyes, activist Debbie Russell, and community organizer Andrew Bucknall to lead a discussion on the push for law enforcement officers to wear body cameras, examining the implications for civil liberties, privacy, public safety, and police accountability.

Video Now Available

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