Secret surveillance of the City

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#1 RShack


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Posted 26 August 2016 - 07:15 PM (Scroll halfway down...)


* A report by Bloomberg Businessweek earlier this week revealed that since January, Baltimore police had used aerial surveillance technology developed for military use to secretly monitor the city. [Bloomberg Businessweek / Monte Reel]


* This isn't the first time Baltimore has been surveilled — the FBI sent planes to monitor the skies over the city during its protests last spring — but everyday monitoring by local police is a new frontier. [Ars Technica / Sean Gallagher]


* The funding for the surveillance system (a Cessna plane with wide-angle lenses) came from Houston billionaires Laura and John Arnold, who are up-and-coming philanthropists interested in, among other things, criminal justice reform. [WSJ / Scott Calvert]


* But the Arnolds weren't revealed as the donors until this week — despite Maryland law about out-of-state donations — because the grant was funneled through a local foundation. [Baltimore Sun / Justin Fenton and Doug Donovan]


* At the Atlantic, Conor Friedersdorf argues this is a fundamental violation of community trust — basically a fireable offense for the police. [The Atlantic / Conor Friedersdorf]


* But Matthew Feeney of the Cato Institute points out that it might not be a violation of the Constitution, at least as interpreted by the current Supreme Court — which has often shrugged off law enforcement surveillance as just something a person can expect in everyday life. [The Hill / Matthew Feeney]


* The US isn't nearly as far down that path as Britain, which has not only ubiquitous surveillance cameras but, now, highly trained facial recognition detectives to watch the footage and bust repeat petty offenders. [The New Yorker / Patrick Radden Keefe]


* Supreme Court justices tend to understand tech's threats to privacy when it happens to things they themselves do. If surveillance tech stays in places like Baltimore, it might not seem too big an imposition. [Vox / Dara Lind]

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