Kalifornia Kops Surveillance Secrets Revealed: ACLU Exposes Routine Police Harassment And Observation
So you say that, as an American citizen and/or a freedom-loving person you are apprehensive about how much of our data is being scooped up by Big Brother? Especially since the high water mark of the Snowden revelations has rolled back leaving the law virtually unchanged and the same bent law enforcement types running things?
You say you wonder if we’ll ever know the whole truth about how big data corporations and law enforcement sift through all that information we have left behind us in the cloud?
Well, there’s good news and bad news.
First the good news: we now know a lot more about how law enforcement watches us on social media.
The ACLU has obtained thousands of pages of law enforcement documents that reveal in depth how California law enforcement agencies have been routinely purchasing social media surveillance software. The civil liberties group filed open records requests with 63 law enforcement agencies across the country’s most populous state and found that at least 20 of them are in possession of social media monitoring software.
Aaannd that’s the bad news. You are being watched, as the show says, and they’re not telling anyone about it.
“We found no evidence in the documents of any public notice, debate, community input, or lawmaker vote about use of this invasive surveillance,” the ACLU writes. “And no agency produced a use policy that would limit how the tools were used and help protect civil rights and civil liberties.”
And before the police and their knee-jerk defenders start weeping tears for how they simply “need all the tools available to fight crime” or some such nonsense, keep in mind that several of these software tools “…have been marketed in ways to target protesters,” according to the ACLU’s report. One such tool that is currently being used or has been used by at least 13 law enforcement in California, called Geofeedia, includes marketing materials that reference unions and activist groups as “overt threats.”
Not only that, their materials suggest ways the program can be used to target activists of color.
Believe it or not, it gets worse. In Fresno there is a program being used called Beware, that connects 200 police cameras as well as 800 camera feeds from schools and traffic cams to a $600,000 nerve center where cutting-edge software examines billions of data points including arrest reports, property records, commercial databases, deep web searches and social media postings.
Using this data, the software assigns a “threat-score” to citizens who have no idea they are even being observed in such an intimate way, and alerts police to “potential danger.”
So, yeah. Just because you’re paranoid…
We should all take a moment to read and share this story (original linked below). And then contact our own state’s ACLU chapters and ask them to undertake a similar records request before this becomes America with a “k.”
That is, if it isn’t too late already.