For nearly a year, the ACLU of Northern California – Sonoma County chapter has been working on getting a Surveillance Technology Oversight & Community Safety ordinance passed in the City of Sebastopol. At the heart of the proposed ordinance is the basic principle that communities should know about and control what surveillance technology the police are using. Many such technologies are highly invasive and discriminatory, particularly against immigrants, activists, and people of color. 

Overreaching police surveillance technologies pose a threat to our fundamental rights that would lead to over-policing, abuse, and discrimination. We must ensure that our First Amendment rights are protected, especially given ongoing government retaliation against Black and Brown activists.

Our draft ordinance is modeled on a sample from the ACLU of Northern California, and is similar to legislation that has been adopted in other cities and counties. Over the past several months, we’ve been meeting with representatives from the Sebastopol Police Department to receive their feedback on the proposed ordinance, and on October 4, 2022 the Sebastopol City Council is scheduled to discuss the draft at their meeting. 

If we care about reproductive justice, if we care about stopping police violence, if we care about protecting activists – then we must do everything we can right now to bolster privacy protections, not build more surveillance. Stay tuned to our website, social media pages, and email blasts for more information about this campaign and how you can help stop the spread of invasive and discriminatory police surveillance practices.

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