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Why Privacy Needs All of Us

One American city has gone further than any other in creating a workable solution to the current inadequacy of surveillance law: Oakland, which has pushed a pro-privacy public policy along an unprecedented path. Its Privacy Advisory Commission acts as a meaningful check on city agencies — most often, police — that want to acquire any kind of surveillance technology.

Candidates: Sheriff

Sheriff Ross Mirkarimi is facing two challengers in his bid for re-election: Vicki Hennessy, who spent three decades in the department and served as interim sheriff in 2012 (after Mayor Ed Lee suspended Mirkarimi over a domestic-violence case involving the new sheriff and his wife) and John Robinson, a retired sheriff’s commander.

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Without long-term support, human trafficking survivors at risk of re-exploitation

Some who flee captive labor conditions end up with low-wage jobs, insecure housing
People trafficked into the country receive temporary government and nonprofit social service benefits after rescue or flight from captivity: shelter, health care, counseling, employment and legal help. But once these benefits term out, counter-trafficking specialists worry that victims, who generally have little work experience and weak social and family networks, could fall back into labor conditions as exploitative as the ones they fled. As a victim of international labor trafficking, Lili Samad received government help to stay in the U.S. But she is among hundreds of trafficking survivors each year who end up, months after getting help trying to build a new life, living in marginal housing and working in low-wage jobs.

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Mien farmers cultivate their own garden in East Oakland

In the heart of East Oakland’s Fruitvale neighborhood, the Peralta Hacienda Historical Park is an incongruous reminder of California’s Mexican past: 6 acres of open space in a sea of single-family homes. What was once a massive ranchero now features a Victorian house surrounded by carefully tended vegetable gardens. Ben Glickstein is director of outreach here. He says back in 1820, Antonio Peralta had big agricultural dreams for this stretch of land that slopes down to Peralta Creek. “And we’re still using this for agriculture, for food, here in the middle of this pretty urban neighborhood.”

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ACLU sues federal immigration agency to halt shackling immigrants in court

Detainees file into San Francisco immigration court linked together like a chain gang, bound at their wrists, waists and ankles. A metal chain or seatbelt-style restraint is wrapped around the detainees’ waists and connected to their wrists with a link to the detainee in front of them. The detainees often must  sit four to a bench and remain bound to each other throughout the court proceedings. While sitting bound, they are limited in movements, and the restraints prevent simple tasks, such as taking notes during the proceeding.  

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After anti-trafficking team shifted focus to prostitution arrests, police retool investigations

Special victims unit to take a new victim-centered approach to human rights violations 
The little-noticed use of San Francisco’s human trafficking task force to arrest street prostitutes over the summer underscores a sharp nationwide debate on how local law enforcement can help rescue victims of economic and sexual slavery. Until October, the city’s anti-trafficking team operated out of the San Francisco Police Department’s vice crimes unit. With the help of a federal-state grant, the team racked up more than 15 investigations of suspected traffickers. But in the spring it altered its tactics, making large-scale arrests of dozens of prostitutes in the Polk Gulch neighborhood, in response to complaints from neighbors.