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Daily News Roundup for Wednesday, April 13, 2016

by Flickr user Kenneth Freeman, used under CC BY-SA 2.0 // Cropped and resized
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Here's what's happening in the Bay Area, as curated by KALW News:

Oakland Cops Quietly Acquired Social Media Surveillance Tool // East Bay Express

"Without public hearings or civilian oversight, the Oakland Police Department acquired a powerful social media monitoring tool called Geofeedia in 2014 and has used it to conduct surveillance on large public gatherings, possibly including political protests. OPD's acquisition and use of the social media monitoring software, out of public view, occurred in spite of the city's recent establishment of a permanent privacy commission. The privacy commission was created earlier this year in the aftermath of OPD's controversial attempt to build a city-wide surveillance hub called the Domain Awareness Center (DAC) and is supposed to conduct oversight of OPD's acquisition of surveillance technologies. But civil libertarians say OPD's decision to acquire Geofeedia's software on the sly violates the spirit of the privacy commission.

"Furthermore, some worry that police monitoring of social media could have harmful effects on democracy. "If people worry that law enforcement will be monitoring social media, that will exert pressure for them not to post," said Matt Cagle, an attorney with the American Civil Liberties Union of Northern California."


City of San Francisco says it's illegal to live in a box // SF Gate 

"Last month, the story of a 25-year-old man who's living inside a plywood box parked in his friend's living room became the latest installment in San Francisco's crazy housing market.

"In a city where the average rent for a one-bedroom apartment is currently $3,590, Peter Berkowitz's tale of paying only $400 a month in rent and squeezing into some 32-square-feet of space became the stuff of legend."


Jerry Brown: ‘I can clean up’ sentencing problems he created // The Sacramento Bee

"Gov. Jerry Brown, condemning the tough sentencing law he signed as governor nearly four decades ago, declared Monday “the problems that I create; I can clean up.”

"“You create a problem you figure out how to solve it,” Brown told crime survivors at a conference in Sacramento coinciding with National Crime Victims’ Rights Week. “If politicians would do that we’d be in a lot better place.”"


More black arrests over unpaid fines, fees found in SF // SF Gate

"While African Americans make up less than 6 percent of San Francisco’s population, they account for nearly half of all people arrested for not paying traffic-related fines or fees, according to a new report written by a consortium of legal groups including the Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights.

"The report, released Monday, found large racial disparities among those police arrest for not paying a traffic ticket, failing to appear in court regarding a traffic infraction, or driving with a suspended license in San Francisco."


'What happened in World War II is happening again': Immigrant detention centers through the eyes of a therapist // LA Times

"The metal fence was what she noticed first, miles of tall barrier topped by barbed wire strung across the south Texas pastures — just like the internment camp nearby where she had been held as an infant.

"And on the other side of the fence, again, 71-year-old Satsuki Ina saw mothers and children: this time, Central Americans."


How Signature-Gathering Draws Big Bucks In Election Season // Capital Public Radio

"They call to you from street corners or in front of the supermarket: Signature-gatherers, asking you to put your name down to help a measure qualify for the November ballot.

"At a small folding table in the aisle of a mall, Roscoe Downey spreads out 11 different ballot initiatives."