SoylentNews is people

Title    EFF's Atlas of Surveillance Database Now Documents 10,000+ Police Tech Programs
Date    Wednesday November 23, @05:29AM
Author    janrinok
from the dept.

Runaway1956 writes:

The Atlas of Surveillance has now hit 10,000 data points. It contains at least partial data on approximately 5,500 law enforcement agencies in all 50 states, as well as most territories and districts.

This growth is a testament to the power of crowdsourcing: UNR Reynolds School of Journalism students and other volunteers have completed more than 2,000 micro-research tasks through our Report Back tool, which automatically generates assignments to look up whether a particular agency is using a particular technology. We've also worked with students and volunteers to capture and process new datasets and file hundreds of public records requests.

However, this milestone sadly also reflects the massive growth of surveillance adoption by police agencies. High-tech spying is no longer limited to well-resourced urban areas; even the smallest hamlet's police department might be deploying powerful technology that gathers data on its residents, regardless of whether those residents are connected to a criminal case. We've seen the number of partnerships between police and the home surveillance company Ring grow from 1,300 to more than 2,000. In the two years since we first published a complementary report on real-time crime centers — essentially police tech hubs, filled with wall-to-wall camera monitors and computers jacked into surveillance datasets — the number of such centers in the U.S. has grown from 80 to 100.

All this might have gone unnoticed had the Atlas of Surveillance project not been keeping track.

Our project began with two main goals.

The first was transparency. For years, national journalists and researchers struggled to get a grip on how certain surveillance technologies were spreading across the country, and we'd often field calls seeking help. Our best methods for gathering this information were to send out public records requests en masse or to simply "Google it." Similarly, we'd often get calls from local reporters, activists, and policymakers who were trying to understand all the different technologies used by their local police and sheriffs. By building the Atlas of Surveillance, we provided them with a resource that could become the first stop on any quest to learn more about police technology.

Our second goal for the Atlas of Surveillance was engagement. We didn't just want to build this internally: We wanted to involve a broader community so that more people could dig in and learn about the techniques and challenges for researching surveillance. This was largely made possible by partnering with the Reynolds School at UNR, where we have taught students at all levels how to do this research, from simple search-engine assignments to full-fledged FOIA requests to data scraping.

Original Submission


  1. "Runaway1956" -
  2. "Original Submission" -

© Copyright 2022 - SoylentNews, All Rights Reserved

printed from SoylentNews, EFF's Atlas of Surveillance Database Now Documents 10,000+ Police Tech Programs on 2022-11-30 01:41:08