Morning Report: Smart Streetlights Are Now Accessible Only to Police

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Morning Report: Smart Streetlights Are Now Accessible Only to Police

Streetlight cameras in downtown San Diego / Photo by Megan Wood

Last year, VOSD’s Jesse Marx reported that in addition to recording transit and mobility data, the city’s smart streetlights were also becoming tools for police, even though police access wasn’t part of the public discussion when the program was approved. 

Now another bombshell: The mobility and transit data captured by the devices has been turned off as the city renegotiates its contract with the tech provider. That means the smart streetlights are now exclusively a tool for law enforcement. 

“The city’s Sustainability Department requested that Ubicquia shut down the entire smart streetlights system because officials didn’t want to incur additional costs for the service until the City Council signed off on a new agreement,” Marx reports. “The company, in turn, according to the mayor’s office, offered to keep the video footage accessible to the San Diego Police Department at no cost.” 

The mayor’s office accepted the offer. 

The City Council is set to discuss the financing plan for the streetlights program on Tuesday. The city’s Rules Committee is also set to consider the creation of a new privacy advisory commission on Wednesday that will make recommendations on the use and acquisition of devices capable of watching and listening to the public. 

Coronavirus Has Made Things Even Harder for Haitian Migrants

The pandemic has left many migrants in limbo, unable to come into the United States and unable to make a living in Tijuana.

In this week’s Border Report, VOSD’s Maya Srikrishnan looks at what this has meant for the Haitian community. Haitians in Tijuana have been struggling to find jobs during the pandemic, which has hit the city particularly hard. In the meantime, the United States continues to deport Haitian asylum-seekers back to Haiti. That includes families with children and people who have tested positive for the virus.

Also in our biweekly border news roundup: water weirdness in Baja California, journalists and human rights organizations are calling out Baja California’s governor for his attacks on the press and more. 

Gov, Mayor OK New Outdoor Business Rules

About a week after San Diego officials urged Gov. Gavin Newsom to tweak state rules to allow salons and barbershops to operate in outdoor spaces, the governor announced Monday he’d be doing just that. 

“In new guidance issued Monday, after conflicting messages from government entities last week, the state clarified that salons could operate outdoors,” the Los Angeles Times reports.

Mayor Kevin Faulconer signed an executive order Monday allowing salons, gyms and churches to expand into private parking lots, City News Service reports.

County officials, meanwhile, had more grim news to share: Though the county has a goal to investigate 70 percent of new coronavirus cases within 24 hours via contact tracers, it’s currently only investigating … 8 percent. The county is hoping to add hundreds of additional tracers.

  • Chris Van Gorder, CEO of Scripps Health, told U.S. News & World Report that some Scripps hospital employees went to casinos after they reopened, and that others went out to dinner in Little Italy in a group. “They know better, and they got sick,” he said.

In Other News

The Morning Report was written by Sara Libby and Maya Srikrishnan, and edited by Jesse Marx.

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