Category Archives: IT

Surveillance technology ordinance headed to adoption on Monday

After several months of work, this morning the Council moved forward an update to the city’s ordinance regulating use of surveillance technology by SPD and other city departments.

What started out as a fairly simple task, extending the current rules beyond hardware to include software and web services, turned out to be a nearly intractable set of complex issues. In the end the ordinance’s sponsor, Council member Gonzalez, settled for addressing just a subset of the issues in what she referred to this morning as “phase one.”

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Council continues discussion of surveillance technologies

The City of Seattle’s parking enforcement division uses automated license plate readers to identify cars (and drivers) with multiple parking tickets so they can boot or impound the vehicles as necessary. SPD uses that same data to identify stolen cars, as well as those wanted in relation to specific criminal activities. Back in 2012, New York City took it further: they used cameras on street light poles to track people coming and going from mosques — an act that most people think stepped over the line of acceptable surveillance.

How the City of Seattle acquires and uses surveillance technology — and the data gleaned from it — was the topic of a Council hearing this morning, one of a series in the ongoing process of updating the city’s laws on surveillance.

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Harrell pushing for expanding public Wi-Fi in Seattle

Wednesday afternoon in his Education, Equity and Governance Committee, Council President Bruce Harrell pushed the Seattle IT department to go farther and faster in investigating public Wi-Fi as an alternative to municipal broadband in key areas of the city.

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City still covering up last week’s privacy leak

Eight days ago, city employees discovered a second vulnerability in the new NCIS billing system for Seattle Public Utilities and Seattle City Light, which exposed customers’ private information. The city still has not publicly disclosed this incident, in violation of its own policy.

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NCIS team finally admits it had another privacy issue

After 24 hours of radio silence, SeattleIT, Seattle City Light and Seattle Public Utilities have finally admitted that they did in fact have another issue with their new NCIS billing system that caused some customers to see other customers’ bills, and led them to take their e-billing system offline.

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