A recently released Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) document titled “Domestic Terrorism Symbols Guide” links common protest symbols to “terrorism” — another marker in a common theme of conflating militant protest for social justice with deadly terrorist violence within the United States. Groups like the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) and the Brennan Center have raised warnings about such documents, citing inadequate protections for people’s constitutional rights. In a letter to Department of Homeland Security (DHS) Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas on July 27 (PDF), the ACLU voiced deep concern about the DHS’s “domestic violent extremism” label, standards for collecting and disseminating information to state and local law enforcement agencies, and the impacts these labels can have on disparately surveilled and policed communities.
A United States court held an extraordinary hearing on November 16, where a judge carefully considered a lawsuit against the CIA and former CIA director Mike Pompeo for their alleged role in spying on American attorneys and journalists who visited WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange. Judge John Koeltl of the Southern District of New York pushed back when Assistant U.S. Attorney Jean-David Barnea refused to confirm or deny that the CIA had targeted Americans without obtaining a warrant. He also invited attorneys for the Americans to update the lawsuit so that claims of privacy violations explicitly dealt with the government’s lack of a warrant.
More than four in 10 Amazon workers report being injured on the job, and the number increases to more than half for those who have been working for the company for more than five years, according to a report released Wednesday. Despite Amazon touting the grit of its “industrial athletes,” these widespread and pervasive injuries have, according to the survey, resulted in almost seven in 10 workers having to take unpaid time off from their jobs in the last month because of their pain or exhaustion from working at the company. The report offers stark data of how Amazon, as a mammoth presence in the warehousing industry and customer service, can effectively set an unhealthy bar for the pace of production for its workers
San Diego. California - It sounded smart on paper. In 2016, the San Diego City Council created a new infrastructure project related to its environmental initiatives: Thousands of streetlights would be retrofitted with energy-efficient LEDs. Plus, remote-controlled sensors would produce publicly accessible data on weather, traffic and parking. Considering the energy savings, the $30 million partnership with General Electric would pay for itself. Win-win. But today, the project is an example of how not to create “smart” city utilities. Those sensors included integrated cameras, and no councilmember formally opposed the potential surveillance issues. Most San Diego residents only learned they were filmed indiscriminately thanks to media reports — in 2019.
The New York City Police Department (NYPD) is planning to use surveillance drones to patrol large gatherings, including private parties and barbecues, this Labor Day weekend. “If a caller states there’s a large crowd, a large party in a backyard, we’re going to be utilizing our assets to go up and go check on the party,” Kaz Daughtry, the assistant NYPD Commissioner, said at a press conference. Civil liberties groups and privacy advocates have said that such drone use may violate existing laws that regulate police surveillance in the city. One such law is the Public Oversight of Surveillance Technology (POST) Act, which requires that the NYPD disclose its surveillance tactics at least 90 days prior to implementation.
Minneapolis, MN – High-tech surveillance video and audio communication from a Minnesota State Patrol helicopter, obtained and first published by Unicorn Riot, reveals some of the planning and tactics behind the largest mass arrest in recent Minnesota history. On Nov. 4, 2020, a multi-agency law enforcement operation kettled and arrested at least 646 people during a post-election-day protest calling for then-President Donald Trump to not ‘steal the vote.’ In an exclusive release, viewers are taken inside Minnesota State Patrol’s Bell 407 helicopter, N119SP, to see and hear the operations of authorities as around 700 peaceful protesters marched onto Interstate 94 in Minneapolis.
In September, Israel installed an AI-powered gun at a military checkpoint in the occupied West Bank city of Hebron. Now, that same technology has been deployed at the entrance of the Aida refugee camp in Bethlehem. Across occupied East Jerusalem, you can find surveillance cameras strategically placed on street corners. And throughout the West Bank, Palestinians’ encounters with Israeli soldiers often include not only violence but face-scanning apps designed to capture their personal data. Technology has become integral to our modern lives, but for Palestinians, Big Tech has also become another way Israel enacts control.
Early on the morning of 10 June 2013, Hong Kong time, the journalist Glenn Greenwald and film-maker Laura Poitras published on the Guardian site a video revealing the identity of the NSA whistleblower behind one of the most damning leaks in modern history. It began: “My name is Ed Snowden.” William Fitzgerald, then a 27-year-old policy employee at Google, knew he wanted to help. But he didn’t yet know how. Snowden was arguably the most wanted man in the world. The confidential documents he shared with Greenwald, Poitras and the Guardian’s Ewen MacAskill detailed a sweeping US government surveillance program that was global in reach and involved some of the world’s best known tech companies.
Digital rights groups on Wednesday applauded lawmakers across the European Union after they passed a draft law that would strictly regulate the use of artificial intelligence including facial recognition technology and chatbots, potentially setting a new standard for protecting the public from the misuse of AI—but noted that some provisions could exclude vulnerable people. The European Parliament passed a major legislative hurdle as it voted in favor of the draft rules in the Artificial Intelligence Act, with 499 lawmakers supporting the provisions, 28 opposing, and 93 abstaining from voting.
The Federal Bureau of Investigation has aided a Ukrainian intelligence effort to censor social media users and obtain their personal information, leaked emails reveal. In March 2022, an FBI Special Agent sent Twitter a list of accounts on behalf of the Security Service of Ukraine (SBU), Ukraine’s main intelligence agency. The accounts, the FBI wrote, “are suspected by the SBU in spreading fear and disinformation.” In an attached memo, the SBU asked Twitter to remove the accounts and hand over their user data. The Ukrainian government’s FBI-enabled targets extend to members of the media. The SBU list that the FBI provided to Twitter included my name and Twitter profile.
Police have their sights set on every surveillance camera in every business, on every porch, in all the cities and counties of the country. Grocery store trips, walks down the street, and otherwise minding your own business when outside your home could soon come under the ever-present eye of the government. In a quiet but rapid expansion of law enforcement surveillance, U.S. cities are buying and promoting products from Georgia-based company Fusus in order to access on-demand, live video from public and private camera networks. The company sells police a cloud-based platform for creating real-time crime centers and a streamlined way for officers to interface with their various surveillance streams, including predictive policing, gunshot detection, license plate readers, and drones.
The United Nations officially expressed concern over recent reports of the US government spying on its top officials, including Secretary General António Guterres, and attempting to interfere in their work. The statement came from UN Secretary General’s official spokesperson Stéphane Dujarric on Tuesday, April 18. Dujarric said that the “UN officially expressed to the host country its concern regarding recent reports that the communications of the secretary general and other senior UN officials have been the subject of surveillance and interference by the US government.” He also asserted that the said US actions violate its obligations to the UN Charter and the Convention on the Privileges and Immunities of the UN.
In the two decades since the UK government unveiled its ‘counter terrorism’ strategy ‘Prevent’, campaigners and human rights organizations have consistently documented its impact on racialized and otherwise marginalized communities, and the ways in which public services—including healthcare—have been weaponized in this process. A part of the government’s broader counter-terrorism strategy called CONTEST, Prevent’s stated objective is to “prevent people from being drawn into terrorism.” First implemented in the aftermath of the 2005 London bombings, Prevent was amended in 2011 to deal with “all forms of terrorism and with non-violent extremism.”