We’re working to implement the Community Control Over Police Surveillance (CCOPS) principles in the Portland Metro Area. The purpose of the CCOPS is to ensure transparency and public input in the acquisition and use of surveillance systems by law enforcement and to require City Council approval for all purchases of surveillance-related products and services.

Our goals:

The CCOPS principles are available here.

Corporate Surveillance

We’re working to rein in the collection of user data and its use for purposes other than which it was shared. Most Internet companies today employ an advertising revenue model, where if you’re getting a service for free, you’re usually the product. In exchange for the informative or entertaining content that companies provide to website visitors, they collect personal information about those guests, such as what people read, what they clicked on, or what they bought. Often, this information is then combined with details collected about the users offline, such as credit card purchases they’ve made.

Some physical stores detect WiFi and/or Bluetooth signals emanating from customer mobile phones and use that information to track customers around the store, learning how much time they spent in each department or section of the store.

In attempts to make our cities smarter and more efficient, increasing amounts data will be collected in our urban areas. Before putting such systems in place, we need to consider the many ways that our data can be collected and used and must take care in protecting that information.

Among other methods, individuals may be tracked via:

While these tools and techniques are not necessarily nefarious, without proper planning and oversight, they could create opportunities for misuse of personal data.

Biometric Privacy

We’re working to get protections in place for biometric data. With the increased use of facial recognition and other systems that record body measurements, there must be safeguards to ensure that this highly personal, difficult to modify data is not misused and is not used without our knowledge and consent.

A number of companies and government agencies have grand visions of how biometrics can be used to gather data and to streamline processes.

Examples include:

While some uses of these technologies may be desirable, a face or fingerprint is not easily changed like a password or credit card number. We need to ensure that individuals have the ability to give consent to having their biometric data being collected and to the ways the collected data will be used before data is amassed.

Our goals: