The Chula Vista City Council approved a new policy earlier this month that serves as a guide for all city department privacy protection and data management processes as well as the use of technology in City operations and services.
The policy comes in response to public push-back after a San Diego Union-Tribune investigation that revealed the Chula Vista Police Department has allowed other policing agencies to access data it has collected from license plate readers. This was due to the city’s unreported partnership with the company Vigilant Solutions.
According to the Union-Tribune, the partnership began in 2017 after the CVPD purchased $79,000 worth of surveillance equipment and an annual $10,000 subscription to the company’s Law Enforcement Archival Reporting Network, or LEARN database.
The policy passed by City Council aims to boost awareness and transparency of surveillance gear so residents can better understand how the city protects their data, and establish a commission focused on technology privacy and innovation to help guide implementation.
Under the policy, there will be facilitated discussions between residents and the city to help better understand the data collection, use, and management services, gather input and develop measures to protect against illicit use of the city’s technology systems and related data.
The city hired the public relations firm Maddaffer Enterprises on Jan.18 to support the Technology & Privacy Task Force in the development of the policy.
In April 2022, the Chula Vista City Manager Maria Kachadoorian appointed 12 individuals to the Chula Vista Technology & Privacy Advisory Task Force (Task Force), including residents with expertise in technology, education, law enforcement, small business, and civil rights. They created the framework for the policy.
During the Nov. 8 City council meeting, task force members and residents urged the city to hire a chief privacy officer. Instead, Chula Vista will have an advisor function that could be carried out by “one or more City staff members or consultants with privacy and technology expertise,”
Kachadoorian approved the majority of the policy elements, except for hiring a chief privacy officer due to budget considerations.