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Berkeley will eventually vote on the Data Protection Regulation to make it a digital city

Photo: John Moore (Getty)

Berkeley, California, became the nation's first sanctuary in 1971. Tomorrow, the city council will prepare to clarify what 2019 should mean with a regulation aimed at putting private companies under pressure Immigration and Customs Enforcement.

Following a similar policy adopted last year in Richmond, California, the Sanctuary Contracting Ordinance (SCO) would "award city contracts to sellers acting as ICE data brokers or those offering extreme review services , prohibit. "Extending the idea of ​​the protected area to data protection. "This is not a new concept for Berkeley, it's just a new goal," author of the decree, Brian Hofer, told Gizmodo, "the data is where the risk lies."

One of the vendors is likely to be affected by Westlaw, a legal research tool that "collects data on 90 million arrest records and 22,000 booking dates per year" as well as information about the likelihood of this person's legal status, said Council member Kate Harrison. "This is information that ICE uses to deport people directly from prison." According to a first analysis by the city manager, LexisNexis could be a suitable alternative to Berkeley's needs. "Westlaw has an opportunity to consider," said Harrison, "would you like to sign a contract with the local government, or would you like to sign a contract with the ICE?"

The SCO does not separate existing contracts, it only prevents these companies from renewing their renewals or securing contracts in the future. Westlaw would have about three years to consider Harrison's ultimatum.

The scope of the regulation may be narrower than might be expected, and beyond Westlaw there seems to be some confusion about which providers would be affected at all. A memo from city manager Dee Williams-Riley, received from the New York Times and Gizmodo, shows the significant impact of the migration from Amazon Web Services to Berkeley. Councilperson Harrison also cited Microsoft as a possible target, but was unclear as to whether it was in the crosshairs of the SCO.

Microsoft and Amazon employees were critical of their company's willingness to support the ICE mission. However, none of the companies has, according to public knowledge, carried out extreme checks or direct data transfer. "[Web] Storage in and of itself is not harmful to humans," said Hofer, saying that he considered his former stubborn stance against the ICE "completely impractical." While it has been called a "float," it's one A step in the coalition-building process that drove nearly identical state-wide laws introduced last week into the California Legislature. To put it another way: "This is one of the few tools at the local level with which we can influence federal immigration policy."

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