B2 High-Intermediate US 132 Folder Collection
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The death of George Floyd after a white police officer knelt on
his neck for nearly nine minutes, was caught on camera by not
one but several witnesses as they begged officers to let Floyd
The footage following so many incidents of systemic racism and
police brutality filmed in recent years ignited protests around
the world. This for us to stand up in George's name and say,
'get your knee off our necks.'
To have our dear brother George Floyd's murder televised.
No one in their right mind, regardless of their ethnic identity
, could deny that.
So that's where surveillance works in our favor.
That our people new to survey.
They knew to bear witness.
They knew to record because no one ever believed them if they
told their story. As hundreds of thousands joined the protests,
cameras on both sides ignited debates over privacy and the right
to photograph. In the 1950s, news cameras expose the brutal
horror of legalized racism in the form of segregation.
Seventy years later, it is the cell phone camera that has
exposed the continuation of violence directed at
African-Americans by the police.
Law enforcement flew drones over protests in Minneapolis and New
York. Facial recognition software is being used with some police
body cameras. Law enforcement can use signals from your cell
phone or automatic license plate readers to follow your
movements. Images of unity or chaos spread across social media
in an instant. Every time they turn on social media, they get to
see in real time vivid HD pictures of Black pain.
In the age of surveillance, we wanted to find out how police are
tracking protests, how the data is used, and how cameras on
every officer and in every pocket have fundamentally changed the
way we protest.
Police surveillance of the Black community is not new.
From 18th century ordinances that required slaves in New York to
carry lanterns after dark to the FBI wiretapping of Dr.
Martin Luther King Jr., to stop and frisk policies that
disproportionately target people of color.
We have lived a certain level of surveillance since we lived on
these shores. And they're walking around waiting for you to do
something wrong, a reason to jump in.
What's different with the surveillance of recent protests is just
how powerful the technology has become.
The mentality is often, let's put the technology out there, let's
use the surveillance, and then we'll deal with the problems
after the fact. And so often the problems after the fact have
been substantial and they've been problems that have been borne
disproportionately by communities of color.
Surveillance of these protests has involved multiple federal
agencies using groundbreaking tech from private vendors.
You see vendors bragging that they can identify hundreds of
people from a single photograph.
Right? Or identify people as they walk by a camera.
There's also things like drone technology and the integration of
drone technology with face recognition.
Four days after George Lloyd was killed in Minneapolis, Customs
and Border Protection flew an unarmed Predator drone over
protesters there. DEA, CBP and ICE do not have a role in this,
and they should not be using their surveillance technologies and
militarized equipment to combat protesters.
This increased presence of these officers is something that, you
know, not only chills individuals right to protest and makes
them more afraid, but it's just not contravention overall feel
of safety in the community. In an e-mail, CBP told CNBC that it
has resources deployed in several states at the request of law
enforcement in order to protect our communities and ensure that
the rights of Americans to peacefully protest are protected.
The drone was deployed to feed live video to law enforcement on
the ground to aid in situational awareness.
You want to have pinpoint accuracy if somebody is throwing things
at the police. You don't want the police to have a broad based
response and then go after everyone in front of them.
So having cameras and having video footage is going to help the
police identify who the bad people are.
Protesters have also reported drone surveillance in New York,
where the NYPD's Technical Assistance Response Unit operates a
fleet of 14 surveillance drones with thermal sensors to detect a
person's heat energy.
I've literally been at a protest staring kind of eye level at a
drone. So I know that my face is on camera.
But a lack of transparency makes it hard to identify exactly what
tech each jurisdiction is using to identify and track
protesters. When you think about surveillance technologies, in
the vast majority of cases, they're required secretly.
They're not approved by publicly elected city councils or
legislative officials.
Often we find out about them, you know, decades after they've
been deployed. Street level surveillance tools are also rapidly
advancing and remain largely unregulated.
The government has made so many, so many partnerships with
private surveillance tech vendors.
Big platforms like Clearview A.I., which is this giant facial
recognition platform which scrubbed a bunch of images from the
internet and are currently using them to run against people's
faces in real time.
Another example is cell site simulators or Stingrays used by law
enforcement to track precise location.
So your phone rather than going to a cell phone tower will ping
off this piece of surveillance technology and it will be able to
identify maybe who is in the area, how many phones are in the
area. It'll be able to link your phone to a certain location at
a certain time.
There's currently no federal law protecting the privacy of adults
in public spaces. But one Supreme Court ruling did deal with
this issue. Carpenter v.
USA, which just came out in 2018, said that kind of aggregate
tracking of people's location through cell phone data
constitutes a violation of privacy.
Movement of protesters can also be tracked using a number of
other tools. Stingray data can be combined with the number of
other things like face recognition, which can identify you at a
protest or an automated license plate reader.
If they know that they're going to be maybe followed home by
some of this technology so that police can learn where they
live, people are going to be afraid to participate in our
democracy, in politics, as is our First Amendment right to do
so. That EFF has a tip sheet for how to spot street level
surveillance talk like this and others, including tattoo and
iris recognition software and acoustic gunshot detection
systems, which record the sound and location of a shot and alert
law enforcement.
Surveillance very often, it doesn't leave a very visible paper
trail for us on the outside.
It takes a lot of investigative journalism.
It takes a lot of accountability.
It takes public records requests to figure out exactly the
extent of the surveillance that we're seeing now.
So we might not know what's being deployed right now for a
little while. While surveillance tech remains fairly unregulated
for now, legislation is showing up at the local level.
And 35 members of Congress signed a letter in early June asking
federal authorities from the FBI, CBP, DEA and National Guard to
stop spying on Americans who are peacefully protesting.
One of the best ones is CCOPS, Community Control Over Police
Surveillance, which would, among other things, give citizens of
a town more control over what surveillance measures police are
buying, what they're deploying.
At police departments in some cities, facial recognition software
is now integrated into the body worn cameras that have been in
widespread use for years.
A 2016 study found that half of American adults are in a law
enforcement facial recognition database.
So far, a handful of cities have banned the use of facial
recognition software, and statewide bans of its use with body
worn cameras are in place in Oregon, New Hampshire and most
recently, California.
Companies are also chiming in.
In June, both Amazon and Microsoft announced they won't sell
their facial recognition software to police until stronger
regulation is in place.
And IBM announced it's getting out of the facial recognition
business altogether. Axon who is a manufacturer body cameras
has said that they will not integrate face recognition into body
cameras given, you know, many issues, including the privacy and
civil rights concerns.
Body cameras are were intended to be tools of accountability.
To turn them into surveillance cameras now targeted at the very
communities they were intended to protect is certainly not how
they're supposed to be used, not how they should be used and how
they should be permitted to be used.
We want to make sure that all our troopers are equipped with body
worn cameras, and one of the primary reasons is to ensure the
safety of not only our troopers, but the community at large.
We want to ensure that there is accountability on our end and
what we are reporting is the most accurate information.
Connecticut state troopers wear body cameras, but they're not
equipped with facial recognition software.
In Connecticut and elsewhere, police have acted in ways to mend
trust, showing solidarity with protesters.
The police have a fiduciary responsibility to protect the
protesters as well.
Once they walk up onto the highway, you'll really have to stop
traffic because you need to keep the protesters safe.
And if you acknowledge the pain of the protesters, then that's
mostly what we want.
Stop ignoring our pain.
Stop ignoring the plight that we go through.
As a mother of Black kids, something has to change.
When you're interacting with the public, you're either doing one
or two things, either building the trust that they have in our
police agency, or diminishing that trust.
While cameras are nothing new.
The fact that they're on many police officers and in almost
every pocket has a profound impact on protesting and policing.
For many of us who've been living this life, we understand it's
reality have always been here.
There's enough video out there of seeing white face hurting
Black bodies. And there's enough video up there of seeing Black
faces, quote, looting.
So it's perpetuating stereotypes and fear.
Still, the ability to record from almost any cell phone has
shifted the power dynamics.
There is power because we had been disempowered in so many ways,
our ability to pick up and record for ourselves.
And it's being validated by others around the world of African
ancestry who are having the exact same similar experiences.
The videos of peaceful protesters being sprayed with teargas,
essentially, and having rubber bullets used on them before
curfew and at a time when people were just peacefully
protesting, I think has prompted a lot of public officials to
not just sort of ask what happened, but it has made it
impossible for them to pretend like nothing wrong happened.
In 1991, a witness recorded on his camcorder as four LAPD
officers beat Rodney King.
The line of demarcation with policing and video was the Rodney
King situation.
And people in Los Angeles said for the first time ever,
'finally, we've got video proof of what we've been complaining
about for generations.
So clearly now the system is going to do the right thing.' And
they didn't. Experts say that filming changes nothing
if those caught on camera aren't held accountable.
Citizens are now policing the police because we've seen that the
police cannot police themselves.
We want levels of accountability.
And if police officers aren't arrested, charged and convicted,
then there's not going to be a change in policing.
Even when we've had the camera and we've clearly seen what we
saw, somehow that law enforcement person was not held
accountable. And psychologists like Jackson point out the
instant gratification of sharing images to social media also
changes how we protest.
Why? Why am I under arrest, sir?
For those who carry cameras professionally and journalists like
CNN's Omar Jimenez documenting the protests, the heightened
tensions have led to an unprecedented number of arrests and even
violent clashes with law enforcement.
To see reporters being arrested on live TV, it's just shocking in
this country. And it's because people are blindly following
orders, blindly following directions.
The solution, Boyd suggests, is different training.
Police training for 400 years has been flawed and we trained from
the perspective of the police.
So what if we start studying policing from the perspective of
the community? Because law enforcement is not required to
disclose how they use the data collected by surveillance,
experts are making educated guesses about what comes next.
Eventually, they're going to start collecting video footage and
people that they recognize, they're going to try to prosecute.
Lack of trust around how data is used has been heightened since
Google and Apple announced big plans for Covid-19 contact
tracing, a perception that wasn't helped when Minnesota Public
Safety Commissioner John Harrington compared their methods of
analyzing those arrested at protests to contact tracing.
We have begun analyzing the data of who we've arrested and begun
actually doing what you would think is almost very similar to
our Covid. It's contact tracing.
The data being analyzed in this case was used to determine that
many of those being destructive came from outside the state.
And they're out here instigating, they are the rioters, the
leaders who are moving from one space to the other to change the
game, to make a noise out here, to distract the meaning.
We have people who are rioting intentionally to cause harm.
Law enforcement has a right to arrest them.
Footage from businesses closed circuit TV cameras can catch
people looting after the fact or track down terrorism suspects
like those responsible for the Boston Marathon bombing in 2013
and the 2005 London bombings.
Whether it be CCTV footage or footage from people's Ring cameras,
I mean, there were probably even times when protesters' footage
from their cell phones pushed on social media probably captures
the faces of somebody that police want to confirm were at a
protest. Any footage out there can be used by the police.
At the 2004 Republican National Convention, the NYPD filmed
protesters. Later, the footage was used to determine charges
against the protesters they had arrested.
It was very central, actually, to the litigation about the
protests and about this practice they had of like kettling
people on the block and then not get and then allegedly giving
order to disperse and then arresting everyone on the block, which
was the subject of intense litigation for many years.
During the Freddie Gray protests in Baltimore in 2015, an ACLU
report found that law enforcement used a tool called Geofeedia
to trace people's locations using public social media feeds.
In that instant, they said that they were scanning the protest
looking for people with outstanding warrants.
And there were instances that suggested that they then followed
up. Obviously, a massive First Amendment concern.
Another criticism of surveillance is the way it's used against
undocumented protesters, particularly when federal authorities
like Immigration and Customs Enforcement are involved.
ICE has targeted people who they know to be protesters,
particularly given the current administration is tweeting things
like, you know, threatening to shoot people who are protesting.
I think that it's definitely clear that they're going to use
every weapon at their disposal, certainly including ICE.
Questions around surveillance have led to organizations like the
ACLU putting out tips on how to protect your privacy while
protesting. Make sure you've encrypted your device.
Make sure that their device has a strong password.
I think that what we have to push towards is a world where people
can feel free to go to protests and express themselves without
worrying that they're going to be targeted by surveillance.
As surveillance tech reaches new levels of intensity, civil
rights activists say protesters are justified in being afraid
their privacy is being violated.
Why are there law enforcement officials, you know, in full riot
gear? Why are there drones flying up ahead?
These are protests against police brutality that have largely
been peaceful. Why is there this sort of increased militarized
presence that should not exist in this context?
One reason is that President Trump called for mobilization of the
military to quell the protests, declaring himself the president
of law and order. As we speak, I am dispatching thousands and
thousands of heavily armed soldiers, military personnel and law
enforcement officers.
And in a tweet that was censored by Twitter for inciting
violence, he said, 'when the looting starts, the shooting
starts.' Debates over solutions to privacy concerns, meanwhile,
are running strong. Should photographers blur the faces of
protesters, for example?
I think if you are a protester, though, and you are filming what
police are doing at the protest, I think you absolutely should
be careful, though, what else you get in that photo.
And to think about other protesters' privacies.
Signal, the secure private messaging app is sending out free
Encrypt Your Face masks.
Masks prevent facial recognition and the spread of Covid-19.
Wearing sunglasses, covering up tattoos and wearing generic
clothing makes tracking even harder.
Those calling for defunding of police want the millions spent on
surveillance to go into community resources instead.
There is a longstanding movement of people who have been trying
to block huge expenditures on surveillance technology, whether
it's drones or helicopters or Stingrays or other surveillance
technology, which is tremendously expensive.
And we want those funds to be invested in the things that we
know keep our communities safe.
In the age of surveillance, the real question remains: will tech
help or hurt in the pursuit of a more just society?
It's just a tool. So it's like if you use a hammer to hammer in a
nail, it's good. If you use a hammer as a weapon, it's bad.
So it just depends on how you choose to use the technology.
So surveillance, unfortunately, is part of our life.
It's like anything else, we can be fearful of it or we can try
to make it work for us and be intentional on how we protect
ourselves in that context.
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How Police Track Protesters With High-Tech Surveillance Tools

132 Folder Collection
day published on June 24, 2020
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