Oakland City Council unanimously passed the city's "Rules for Surveillance", the country's most stringent police surveillance oversight law.
The law provides for a "Privacy Advisory Commission" and directs police to produce an annual report with fine-grained details of how surveillance technology was used. The Privacy Advisory Commission must be notified any time the city and its police seek funding or appropriations to procure any new surveillance technology. The city is also barred from entering into nondisclosure agreements with surveillance technology providers that would impair this transparency -- a key provision, doubtless inspired by the Harris Corporation's practice of binding police departments to secrecy over its Stingray cellphone spying devices, a bizarre attempt to thwart transparency that culminated with Federal agents raiding local police departments to seize evidence before it could be introduced in open court, which would have revealed the existence and characteristics of Stingray devices.
Now, prisoners instead will have to submit a request to purchase books — a limit of five per order — through an ordering system in which they must pay exorbitant prices and don’t have the option to buy cheaper used paperbacks. In addition, prisoners must pay a 30 percent tax plus shipping cost, according to prisoners and memos distributed in at least three BOP facilities. Under the new protocol, a book purchased from Amazon for as little as $11.76, with shipping included, could cost more than $26....
“An inmate’s contact list may not possess another inmate’s immediate family member, friend, or contact located on the inmate’s approved list,”... adding it will make exceptions for “attorneys, clerks of the court, and other contacts approved on a case-by-case basis.”...
Advocates say that the rule will cut off prisoners from communicating with advocates, pen pals, family members, friends, and journalists who are in touch with multiple prisoners in one facility.
“This will prevent us from assisting prisoners or learning about the very abuses we are discussing now,” Povah said. “It’s as if they want to cut prisoners off from the outside world altogether.”
Backlog “implies that the untested rape kits were in a queue awaiting testing by overburdened labs.... That does not reflect the reality across the United States. In fact, untested rape kits were often simply discarded in warehouses, trash depositories, or storage closets with no intention to ever test the contents of the kits.”