It took me lower than 10 seconds to search out out my native police division has entry to the Amazon Ring Neighbors app and that they’ve been sporting Axon physique cameras force-wide since 2014. I used the Atlas of Surveillance, which the Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF), in partnership with the University of Nevada, Reno’s Reynolds School of Journalism, has up to date to incorporate a searchable, interactive database of nationwide police surveillance.
It has a cleaner, easier interface than these COVID-19 dashboards we verify day-after-day, and it exhibits you at a look the place police are utilizing physique cameras, drones, automated license plate readers, the Ring/Neighbors app, digicam registry, facial recognition, cell-site simulators, gunshot detection, predictive policing, “video analytics/computer vision,” fusion centers, and real-time crime facilities.
The Atlas goals to present the general public perception into how it’s being surveilled by the police. In a press release, the EFF stated the Atlas contains “several thousand data points” on some 3,000 legislation enforcement departments and workplaces throughout the U.S.
A chilling stat: According to the Atlas, the U.S. has 130 “law enforcement tech hubs” which might be capable of course of “real-time surveillance data.”
The mission has been underway for a yr and a half, primarily counting on lots of of University of Nevada, Reno journalism college students and different volunteers who’ve collected, combed by means of, and aggregated information from “news articles, government meeting agendas, company press releases, and social media posts,” per the press launch.
The Atlas is just not excellent; the data for my county is mislabeled, for instance. A bordering state has a county by the identical identify. When I regarded up what my county Sheriff’s workplace is as much as, I discovered that the listed info was truly for the opposite county. Fortunately, as a result of every itemizing within the Atlas presents hyperlinks to sources — on this case, a information report from the opposite state — it was simple to find the error.
And it’s simple to report. You can contribute to the Atlas for Surveillance so as to add info, or in my case, report an error. It took solely a few minutes.
A publicly accessible and searchable police surveillance database, like this Atlas of Surveillance, offers common residents — and journalists — wealthy, simply comprehensible, and critically essential information at a time when police surveillance is a lightning rod subject.
In the wake of the police killings of Breonna Taylor and George Floyd, and the following police violence in opposition to these protesting systemic racism, calls to defund police proceed to develop louder. In Minneapolis, the place police killed Mr. Floyd, the town council has already begun radical moves against its police force. Detroit may function a take a look at case for the failures of AI-powered police surveillance, and present grassroots and nationwide political opposition to it might result in a monetary reckoning. Facial recognition use by legislation enforcement is prohibited or below a moratorium in a number of U.S. cities, and a few members of Congress have referred to as for restrictions on facial recognition by legislation enforcement and federal authorities businesses. An investigation in Canada successfully pressured facial recognition vendor Clearview AI to chop ties with the Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP). And Microsoft, Amazon, and IBM have all, to levels, stepped away from the facial recognition enterprise.