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Community Control of Police Spy Tech

Posted By: RumorMail
Date: Thursday, 20-May-2021 13:08:35
www.rumormill.news/172729

In Response To: Total Tyranny: We’ll All Be Targeted Under The Government’s New Precrime Program (RumorMail)

By Nathan Sheard and Adam Schwartz

All too often, police and other government agencies unleash invasive surveillance technologies on the streets of our communities, based on the unilateral and secret decisions of agency executives, after hearing from no one except corporate sales agents. This spy tech causes false arrests, disparately burdens BIPOC and immigrants, invades our privacy, and deters our free speech.

Many communities have found Community Control of Police Surveillance (CCOPS) laws to be an effective step on the path to systemic change. CCOPS laws empower the people of a community, through their legislators, to decide whether or not city agencies may acquire or use surveillance technology. Communities can say “no,” full stop. That will often be the best answer, given the threats posed by many of these technologies, such as face surveillance or predictive policing. If the community chooses to say “yes,” CCOPS laws require the adoption of use policies that secure civil rights and civil liberties, and ongoing transparency over how these technologies are used.

The CCOPS movement began in 2014 with the development of a model local surveillance ordinance and launch of a statewide surveillance campaign by the ACLU affiliates in California. By 2016, a broad coalition including EFF, ACLU of Northern California, CAIR San Francisco-Bay Area, Electronic Frontier Alliance (EFA) member Oakland Privacy, and many others passed the first ordinance of its kind in Santa Clara County, California. EFF has worked to enact these laws across the country. So far, 18 communities have done so. You can press the play button below to see a map of where they are.

The CCOPS movement began in 2014 with the development of a model local surveillance ordinance and launch of a statewide surveillance campaign by the ACLU affiliates in California. By 2016, a broad coalition including EFF, ACLU of Northern California, CAIR San Francisco-Bay Area, Electronic Frontier Alliance (EFA) member Oakland Privacy, and many others passed the first ordinance of its kind in Santa Clara County, California. EFF has worked to enact these laws across the country. So far, 18 communities have done so.

These CCOPS laws generally share some common features. If an agency wants to acquire or use surveillance technology (broadly defined), it must publish an impact statement and a proposed use policy. The public must be notified and given an opportunity to comment. The agency cannot use or acquire this spy tech unless the city council grants permission and approves the use policy. The city council can require improvements to the use policy. If a surveillance technology is approved, the agency must publish annual reports regarding their use of the technology and compliance with the approved policies. There are also important differences among these CCOPS laws. This post will identify the best features of the first 18 CCOPS laws, to show authors of the next round how best to protect their communities. Specifically:

The city council must not approve a proposed surveillance technology unless it finds that the benefits outweigh the cost, and that the use policy will effectively protect human rights.

The city council needs a reviewing body, with expertise regarding surveillance technology, to advise it in making these decisions.

Members of the public need ample time, after notice of a proposed surveillance technology, to make their voices heard.

The city council must review not just the spy tech proposed by agencies after the CCOPS ordinance is enacted, but also any spy tech previously adopted by agencies. If the council does not approve it, use must cease.

The city council must annually review its approvals, and decide whether to modify or withdraw these approvals.

Any emergency exemption from ordinary democratic control must be written narrowly, to ensure the exception will not swallow the ru
le.

Members of the public must have a private right of action so they can go to court to enforce both the CCOPS ordinance and any resulting use policies.


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