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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

  • up.

  • 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