Digital Privacy

Follow Up Actions to:


Follow Up Action to March 7, 2017 Town Hall (Digital Privacy & Electronic Surveillance: (EFF) The Electronic Frontier Foundation)

From the Electronic Frontier Foundation, Shahid Buttar led participants in a letter campaign to their local Board of Supervisors requesting the sponsorship and support of a comprehensive bill protecting citizens’ right to privacy from electronic surveillance.

Santa Clara’s Board of Supervisors unanimously approved the cutting edge measure, the Surveillance Technology & Community Safety Ordinance, becoming the first county in the nation to institute consistent transparency, accountability and oversight measures for all surveillance decisions. This letter asks San Mateo’s Board of Supervisors to do the same.

Here are the letters which you can download and use to get signatures from your own community, school, places of worship or wherever you can get mass signatures to let our supervisors know that we are serious. We will keep you posted as to when the meeting is and with whom. If you didn’t sign up but would like to be posted about the meeting and/or would like to attend, please email us at [email protected], Subject: Supervisor Meeting Privacy Law

District 1: Sup. David Pine Letter

District 2: Sup. Carol Groom Letter

District 3: Sup Don Horsley Letter

District 4: Sup Warren Slocum Letter

District 5: Sup. David J. Canepa Letter

Unsure of your district? Check here.

Belmont City Council Meeting with ACLU-Northern Peninsula Chapter and Mid Peninsula Human Rights Coalition

A town hall is a great way to know your community, your neighbors, and their concerns. One of the items on the agenda: a Civil Rights Resolution in response to recent anti-Semitic graffiti at Carlmont High School and hate speech directed at a student.

The Civil Rights Resolution was sponsored by Councilmember Davina Hurt and Mayor Charles Stone. The Resolution calls for the community to stand up against bullying and hate crimes; that no city officials, including the police, will not detain or arrest residents based solely on immigration status; and other points committed to safeguarding diversity and reinforcing inclusion. Belmont also revised its Vision statement to include this message of inclusion.

However, organizations like the ACLU, that worked with many communities and been part of legal proceedings where escalating hate crimes and ICE activities destabilized towns felt that the Resolution needed stronger language to have “teeth,” to reassure the community that the resolution also came with enforceable actions on behalf of residents.

Summary of suggestions to amend the Resolution:

1) Clarification that Belmont city officials will only take action based on a judicial warrant, and won’t take action on an administrative document;

2) City won’t release certain data to federal officials;

3) No surveillance of individuals or groups based on protected characteristics;

4) Not give ICE/CBP access to people/places under City control and, if ICE/CBP gets access, ICE/CBP must be clearly identified; and

5) Appoint someone to whom someone can complain if this ordinance is violated. 

Over 25 residents joined with ACLU-Northern Peninsula Chapter and Mid Peninsula Human Rights Coalition to call for these amendments and shared their stories. You can contact us and/or download this handout for your own group for any resolution you support but would like amended: City Council Talking Points in Support of the Resolution.

The spate of hate crimes cropping up even in this small town reminded people of their own family history: ancestors fleeing pogroms in Russia, family lost in the Holocaust, grandparents interred at Japanese internement camps during World War II, and a 9 year old who made the night’s most moving story of how her grandfather fled El Salvador as a boy during the civil war and brought his wife and sons over legally in the course of the next decade:

“I am one girl who gets to stand in front of you today. But for every girl like me, there are many others who are too afraid to go to school for fear of deportation.”

The Resolution passed unanimously with a statement that the amendments requested will be further researched. All city council meetings and town halls of Belmont are available online.