The current faulty policy “allows use of the device without a warrant in the event of any threat of bodily injury without meeting the law’s requirement that the bodily injury be “serious,” and the policy does not indicate by job title the personnel authorized to use the device and access the data from it,” according to an Oakland Privacy news release.
On March 24, the city council unanimously approved the $706,018 purchase from KeyW Corporation for the simulator, with a vehicle and equipment installation into the vehicle included in the cost. The city signed a non-disclosure agreement with KeyW Corporation, which restricts technical information about the simulator. The agreement also requires the city to notify the corporation prior to the fulfillment of any public records requests regarding the device and its purpose.
The police staff told the Vallejo Times-Herald the simulator would only capture unique SIM card identification numbers, otherwise known as IMSI, and not specific telephone numbers.
“As a long time resident and business-owner, my experience is the City of Vallejo and the Vallejo Police Department regularly disregard the laws around transparency and civic engagement,” said Dan Rubins, member of Oakland Privacy, in the group’s news release. “Now, during a severe health and economic crisis that is already causing a $12M budget shortfall, they want to spend almost $1M to buy a powerful and unnecessary surveillance device while they write its use policy in secret. Their actions flout transparency and procurement regulations that give people a forum to raise these issues that impact all of our civil liberties.”
The city outlined three different sources for the simulator’s funding, reported the Vallejo Times-Herald: $400,000 from the city’s general fund, $204,000 from various law enforcement grants, and $162,000 from asset forfeiture.