Galveston County Daily News
city’s top attorney is warning island officials not to sign an
agreement police plan to propose next week that would lead to the
sharing of city and personal data with a surveillance company with ties
to Chinese data mining.
city council at a Thursday workshop is set to discuss the installation
and use of Flock cameras on the seawall and, at its meeting that night,
whether to share city and driver data with the Atlanta-based company.
The notion of adding the pole-mounted cameras, which capture such data
as license plate information, vehicle descriptions and movements when
linked to other cameras, raised questions about privacy for residents
and sensitive information held by the city.
was unclear Friday how many cameras the city might install on the
seawall but discussion over how that data could be shared worries City
Attorney Don Glywasky.
“I have my concerns about placing an entire population under surveillance,” Glywasky wrote in the warning to city officials.
council Friday received Glywasky’s letter and recommendation. It was
too early to know how the council feels about the measure, Mayor Craig
Brown told The Daily News on Friday afternoon.
the proposed agreement, it might be necessary for a party in the
agreement to provide the other with certain information considered
proprietary or confidential, Glywasky wrote.
information could include: material data; systems; procedures and other
information that isn’t accessible or known to the general public; as
well as information on hardware; software; business plans or
opportunities; business strategies; finances; employees; and third-party
proprietary information, according to the agreement.
“This is simply unthinkable,” Glywasky wrote.
proposed agreement also potentially contradicts police promises of
privacy as the department, in a separate initiative, seeks information
about private surveillance cameras, Glywasky wrote.
The police department Wednesday released a statement
asking residents with front-door Ring cameras to register and share
their footage with the police to help with investigations. In its
release, the department said it would “never” share this information
outside the city.
Flock agreement would contradict that promise, Glywasky warns. It also
would subject all the collected data to the Open Records Act, giving any
person the right to access the information through a request.