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Portland City Council work session on Surveillance Technologies and Digital Justice

Council Work Session
Work session on surveillance technologies and digital justice. City Council work sessions do not include time for public testimony. Their main goal is an open presentation and discussion on public interest topics in Portland.
Portland City Hall
9:30 am 11:30 am


This work session will provide City Council with the context for impacts of surveillance technologies in local communities, describe how other cities have developed policies to regulate their use, and discuss the overall strategies for developing the City of Portland’s comprehensive surveillance policy.

City commissioners have highlighted the importance of creating a Portland that nurtures responsible technology and serves all Portlanders, making public spaces safe for all, nurturing entrepreneurship and innovation of technology that helps all communities thrive. 

This work is a continuation of the City of Portland’s Privacy and Information Protection Principles and policies that ban face recognition technologies.

The Smart City PDX team, in collaboration with the Office of Equity and Human Rights, will convene a group of policy experts on municipal surveillance technologies and privacy ordinances. The work session will include advocates and Portland residents sharing impacts of surveillance on civil rights, particularly on black, Indigenous, immigrants and refugees communities.

General Content

  • Best practices and policies on surveillance technologies from other cities

  • Impacts of surveillance technologies in civil rights and civil liberties

  • Why are Surveillance Technologies a Digital Justice and Human Rights issue?

  • Process and policy for procurement and use of surveillance technologies and information.

  • Importance of including the community in surveillance governance and oversight


Council members, Office of Equity and Human Rights policy staff, Smart City PDX team, experts on equitable technology, public policy, information and surveillance including lived experience of being surveilled.


City Council members will interact with national and local experts working on surveillance technologies and digital justice policies and advocacy and learn emergent strategies for effectively implementing surveillance technologies policies based on anti-racism, equity and human rights. 

City Council members will provide input and feedback to the Smart City PDX and the Office of Equity and Human Rights ongoing effort to develop a comprehensive Surveillance Policy for the City. 

This discussion will provide common language and perspectives on privacy, surveillance, digital justice and digital rights can become the foundation for a more humane and robust approach to technology and information in the City of Portland.

Council materials and testimony

View the record of materials from the work session.