Video: City Council authorize federal funding for facial recognition and fusion center

By Phil Mocek

At the 2:00 p.m. March 10, 2014, Seattle City Council meeting of the full council (agenda), public comment was received from five people regarding Council Bill 118043, which authorized federal funding for facial recognition software and the Washington State fusion center. Each person spoke in opposition to passage of the bill. Because public comment was, as is typical at City Council meetings, limited to 20 minutes, some people who wished to speak were not allowed to do so. After public comment, council members discussed the bill, then voted 7-1 to pass the bill, with Kshama Sawant casting the lone vote in opposition.

A complete video archive of the meeting is available from Seattle Channel for streaming and download. In attendance at the meeting were (in order from left to right as visible in the video) council members Sally Bagshaw, Bruce Harrell, Sally Clark, Tom Rasmussen, Tim Burgess, Jean Godden, Mike O’Brien, and Kshama Sawant.

Council Bill 118043 authorizes acceptance of a financial grant from U.S. Department of Homeland Security under the Urban Areas Security Initiative program, including about $1.2 million for Seattle Police Department, and ratifies and confirms any act made pursuant to the authority of the ordinance taken prior to the effective date of the ordinance. Intended uses of the DHS funding that have been disclosed to the public include purchase of facial recognition software for use by Seattle Police Department staff and further funding of the regional fusion center.

We are unaware of any way to link directly to a point in time in a video hosted by Seattle Channel, so we cached a portion of the video archive of yesterday’s meeting elsewhere.

Following is an index to relevant portions of that video:

  • 06:42 Public comment: Scott Shock
  • 08:41 Public comment: Lee Colleton
  • 14:27 Public comment: Christopher Sheats
  • 17:11 Public comment: David Robinson
  • 19:19 Public comment: Phil Mocek
  • 23:19 Introduction of item #1: Council Bill 118043
  • 24:06 Councilmember Harrell
  • 29:47 Councilmember Bagshaw
  • 31:15 Councilmember Sawant
  • 34:28 Councilmember Harrell
  • 36:40 Councilmember Clark
  • 40:55 Councilmember O’Brien
  • 42:12 Councilmember Burgess
  • 42:23 Rollcall vote

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