CC.2 Week 8: police surveillance, more privacy tools

  • Which police technologies were familiar to you? Which were new? What have you seen in use?
  • What technologies are in use in your community? Which do you think are the greatest concern to your community?
  • What reform or abolition efforts are happening in your community?

I started listening to this EFF podcast that I find really interesting…and terrifying! :sweat_smile: Anyway, this episode in particular is worth a listen. I found it when reading the article assignments from Week 8.

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Stingrays were new to me, but license plate readers, body cameras, and CCTV cameras were more familiar to me because I’ve seen them around. I had also heard about a partnership between Amazon and the police but hadn’t heard that it was specifically Ring.

@alison , I’ve been thinking about what you said about there possibly being a correlation between neighborhoods that install Ring and development that leads to gentrification / displacement. I also haven’t read anything about this but am curious to know more – wonder if it coorelates with which neighborhoods tend to have NextDoor, Neighborhood Watch signs, etc.

In KCMO and surrounding areas, there were Ring/Police partnerships, gunshot detection, predictive policing, and a fusion center (vomit), just to name a few. KCMO is one of the few cities that does not have local control of their police department, so it’s much more difficult to push for even meager amounts of change. Recently, Rick Smith (horrible man, police chief) was ousted due to community pressure from orgs working for both police reform and abolition. A statement from Black Rainbow (local abolitionist org) sums this up.

Other orgs working for abolition and/or reform locally are MADPMO (Missourians for Alternatives to the Death Penalty), Liberation Lit, Operation Liberation, and more. KC Tenants works specifically on issues related to housing, but their platform continually aligns with abolitionist principles (divest/invest) and they frequently call for removal of police budget funds to pay for housing initiatives (Ex: People’s Housing Trust Fund.)

It was this piece in Gizmodo that got me thinking about the idea in more depth: https://gizmodo.com/ring-s-hidden-data-let-us-map-amazons-sprawling-home-su-1840312279

I asked the authors for the data that they had on Philly and they sent it to me. There were a lot more entries in the most gentrifying neighborhoods. I meant to look into it more, specifically by finding out whether developers or homeowners associations or the like were involved. Then the pandemic happened and I dropped the idea. I should pick it back up again.

That is amazing work!

KC Tenants is such a great organization and so exemplary of how we can be working across issue lines/connecting all of these crises together. Thanks for sharing about your local context Miranda!

Just can NOT make this stuff up. Dunwoody is city I live in. But the GA State Univ police did this training too. I’m so done.

Finally! I really have to start answering the prompts before falling into rabbit hole of articles Alison shares.

Which police technologies were familiar to you? Which were new? What have you seen in use?
I was familiar with drones, police body cams and license plate readers. Most of the other technology we read about this week, floored me! Surveillance enabled light bulbs?!

I googled Stingrays and GA. Surprisingly, these things have been in use in the county I just moved from since 2010! That county spent $200,000 in total for all the equipment, software and training. (County where Larry Flynt was shot, Harry Potter was banned and Barbara Mackle was buried alive.)

What technologies are in use in your community? Which do you think are the greatest concern to your community?
In my immediate community, they are using drones, automated license plate readers, Ring Neighbors Partnership and police body cameras. If we use my work and leisure area footprint, those three counties combined would add Stingray, gunshot detection, and facial recognition.

I believe the greatest concern my community faces is being unaware of how much surveillance has increased and indifference in changing that.

What reform or abolition efforts are happening in your community?

There’s more protest than I was aware of before this course. It seems you have to intentionally search for news on those topics. Apparently, there was a big brouhaha over the 80-acre, $90 million police training facility currently being built. I completely missed that story!