The Oakland City Council this week approved the construction of a Domain Awareness Center, a joint city and Port of Oakland data hub that will consolidate hundreds of camera feeds and surveillance tools across the city.
The center will link dozens of traffic and surveillance cameras with police and fire dispatch systems, Twitter feeds, crime maps, gunshot-detecting microphones and alarm programs, some of which currently are not automatically accessible to police and firefighters.
Acknowledging concerns about the program, council members required that footage not be recorded or stored at the center until after privacy safeguards are adopted next spring. Additionally, the surveillance feeds only will be from city and port cameras.
Footage from schools, the Oakland Coliseum complex or outside agencies such as Caltrans, would not be streamed unless approved by the council.
Council members said they stood to lose a $2.2 million federal grant if they delayed their decision.
Several other cities including Chicago, Memphis and Houston have developed similar intelligence hubs, often with federal anti-terrorism funds.
In another action on Tuesday, the council also approved a ban at protests on items such as hammers and spray paint cans, which vandals could use as weapons.