Aug 052017
 

With a nod to Terminator’s self-aware computer network, the Solano County Sheriff in Northern California has applied for and received partial funding for Project Skynet, a network of surveillance cameras and automated license plate readers (ALPRs). Project Skynet would install 160 ALPRs and 124 surveillance cameras at 66 locations throughout Solano County. In its response to a request for public records, Daniel Wolk, Deputy County Counsel for Solano County noted, “this is at the proposal stage and specifics, including camera locations, have not been decided upon.”

Map of Phase I Camera/ALPR Locations

Map of Phase I Camera/ALPR Locations

Like the ring of stationary ALPRs around the City of Piedmont, the goal of the project is to capture images and video of all vehicles entering and exiting Solano County. According to a Microsoft PowerPoint presentation prepared by the Solano County Sheriff’s Office, the surveillance cameras would be capable of pan-tilt-zoom and data from the ALPRs and cameras would allow “real time information or years of past history.” The UASI grant application states, “In addition to the direct connection this project has with observing and locating terrorists, it also allows law enforcement to monitor human trafficking. I-80 is a major artery for drugs and human trafficking which are major funding sources for terrorism, from the west coast to the east.”

As with all grant applications to the Urban Areas Security Initiative, the project must have a nexus to terrorism. In its proposal for a Homeland Security Grant, the Solano County Sheriff writes, “We will be able to…locate persons and vehicles associated with terrorist threats, disrupt terrorist financing…” However, given that terrorism is extremely rare, this surveillance network is more likely to be used against pedestrian suspected criminal activity.

The PowerPoint document states, “There are 36 (666) locations, many of which are large freeways and near impossible to watch at once.” “666” is a police code for a county-wide emergency or be-on-the-lookout (BOLO). However, the grant application and approval documents cite 35 locations.

On July 13, 2017, the Bay Area Urban Areas Security Initiative (UASI) Approval Authority approved funding of $104,590 towards the $2 million total cost of Project Skynet.

Bay Area UASI Approval slide

The estimated $2 million cost for Project Skynet is broken down into phases with an estimated cost of $535,000 for Phase I, $568,000 for Phase II, and $895,000 for Phase III. Data from the ALPRs would be stored at the Northern California Regional Intelligence Center (NCRIC), the local joint fusion center that shares license plate reader data with dozens of local, state, and federal agencies.

The NCRIC stores license plate reader data for dozens of local law enforcement agencies and as of April 2015, stored 46.5 million records, which includes license plates and photographs of vehicles, including the occupants and surrounding area with geolocation data.

Oct 252016
 
Harris' Aerial Surveillance System Demonstrated at Urban Shield 2015

Harris Corporation demonstrated its CorvusEye aerial surveillance system at the annual Urban Shield event organized by the Alameda County Sheriff’s Office in 2015. The aerial surveillance system was used as part of a water supply sabotage scenario at Dunsmuir Reservoir in Oakland. The CorvusEye aerial surveillance system was developed by defense contractor Exelis, which Harris Corp. purchased in 2015. According to Harris’ web site, CorvusEye can provide continuous monitoring and tracking over a 2.7 square mile (7 square km) are during the day and 1.2 square miles (3.1 square km) at night. Harris’ CorvusEye is a competitor to the system […]

Oct 252016
 
Militarization of the East Bay Regional Park Police

The East Bay Regional Park District Police received machine guns and a grenade launcher from the U.S. military under the 1033 program. According to documents released in response to a public records request, the East Bay Regional Park District Police received 10 M16 rifles and an M79 grenade launcher in December 2013 and January 2014. The weapons are likely used by the department’s SWAT team, which also has a BATT armored personnel carrier.

Sep 052016
 
Half of Alameda County Sheriff's Office Surveillance Cameras Installed on Private Property

Half of the Alameda County Sheriff’s Office’s 10 surveillance cameras have been installed on private property, including gas stations, a liquor store, and a pharmacy. The cameras are directed toward the street and intersections and do not appear to be intended to provide surveillance of the private property where they are installed. The first two surveillance cameras were installed on the Walgreens building located at 15850 E 14th Street in unincorporated San Leandro. Five more surveillance cameras were installed later in 2007, including one overlooking the Lighthouse Worship Center, one at a 7-11, and one between two houses on Elgin Way. […]

Sep 012016
 

     A broad coalition of local and state advocates are calling upon Governor Jerry Brown to issue an Executive Order directing Attorney General Kamala Harris to take jurisdiction and control over the investigations of all allegations arising out of the involvement of any member of a law enforcement agency with the rape victim identified as Celeste Guap.         Public safety requires public trust.  We find ourselves in the midst of a crisis in public safety. The very police officers that are charged to protect and serve the public have been exposed as engaging in a conspiracy of sex trafficking. […]

May 132016
 
Larkspur Installs License Plate Cameras for Mass Surveillance

Three stationary license plate cameras were recently installed on East Sir Francis Drake Boulevard in Larkpur as part of a Regional Automated License Plate Regional Network (also called strategy and strategic plan) supported by the Northern California Regional Intelligence Center (NCRIC) and funding from the Bay Area Urban Areas Security Initiative. The cameras record images of vehicles and license plates traveling in each direction along East Sir Francisco Drake Boulevard near the intersection with Larkspur Landing Circle. The Central Marin Police Authority (CMPA) applied for the $132,553.96 Fiscal Year 2014 grant as part of a Regional Automated License Plate Reader […]

Apr 052016
 
Northern California Fusion Center Has 3 Covert ALPR Trailers to Loan Out

The Northern California Regional Intelligence Center (NRCIC), the fusion center for Northern California, has three trailers with automated license plate readers that it loans out to other agencies. The trailers are intended to look like speed limit warning signs that prominently display the speed of passing cars but are equipped with cameras that capture images of vehicles passing in both directions. The NCRIC is managed by the San Mateo County Sheriff’s Office, which handles requests for the trailers. The trailer picture was deployed in front of Willard Middle School in Berkeley in October 2015 after a series of attempted kidnappings. […]

Mar 232016
 

Documents show all 11 police officers at the scene “forgot” to activate their body cameras On November 12, 2015, two Alameda County Sheriff’s deputies were captured on surveillance video beating a suspect in San Francisco. The video was provided to the San Francisco Public Defender, which published the video on YouTube on November 13, 2015: The two deputies shown in the video, Paul Wieber, and Luis Santamaria, wrote up their descriptions of the incident four days after arresting the suspect, later identified as Stanislav Petrov. Other deputies, including Shawn Osborne, William Adams, John Malizia, Joshua Miller, Marc Petrini,  Thomas Sterling, […]

Dec 062015
 
Berkeley Borrows License Plate Reader Trailer from Local Fusion Center

As part of an effort to identify a suspect in kidnapping attempts near Willard Middle School in Berkeley, the Berkeley Police Department borrowed an automated license plate reader (ALPR) from the Northern California Regional Intelligence Center (NCRIC), the local fusion center. The ALPR is part of a trailer that at first appears to be just a sign to get drivers to slow down. The ALPR consists of cameras facing cars driving towards and away from the trailer. The trailer uses Willard Middle School to power the license plate cameras and signs, using an electrical power cord that extends from the […]

Sep 072015
 

In 2013, the City of Piedmont, California, spent almost $600,000 to purchase 39 license plate readers covering most of its border with Oakland. With a population of less than 11,000 people, these 39 license plate readers collect photographs and license plates from more than 1,000,000 vehicles every month. The City of Piedmont sends this data to a regional license plate data warehouse at the Northern California Regional Intelligence Center (NCRIC), where it is stored for one year, even if the data does not generate a “hit” as a stolen vehicle, being registered to a wanted individual, etc. The City of […]