Demand Accountability for California’s Gang Databases

Innocent Californians are being added to gang databases that lack basic oversight safeguards. Last year, we successfully passed a first round of reforms for these systems, but far more needs to be done to protect our rights.

It’s time to demand California finish the job. Tell California Gov. Jerry Brown to sign A.B. 90 to enhance transparency and oversight for shared gang databases

Law enforcement agencies in California maintain several shared databases to keep tabs on street gangs, the most notable of which is the statewide repository, CalGang. Police argue these systems are necessary to fight crime, though in practice they present a blight on our civil liberties. Last year, the California State Auditor found the databases to be riddled with errors, containing records on individuals who should never have been included in the first place and information that should been purged a long time ago. This is as problematic for public safety as it is for individual rights.

The legislation will codify new standards and regulations for operating a shared gang database, including audits for accuracy and proper use. The bill would also create a new technical advisory committee comprised of all stakeholders, as opposed to just representatives from law enforcement. Further, the legislation would ensure that CalGang database administration is supported by empirical research findings in developing criteria for inclusion in the database and how long the information is retained.

Speak out now to bring much needed reforms to California’s gang databases.


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