The New York Police Department (NYPD) has some of the most technologically advanced surveillance systems and equipment in the world, and a local politician wants to pass a bill that would allow everyone to know all about it.
The bill, proposed by New York City councilmember Dan Garodnick, would force the NYPD to disclose information on every piece of high-tech equipment it has acquired, such as Stingrays, which track cell phone locations, or license plate readers, or X-Ray vans that can see through walls and vehicles.
The reasoning behind this ingenious idea for allowing terrorists and criminals to know how they are being surveilled is, according to Garodnick, that “the NYPD built up a massive war chest of technology with no public oversight, so far.”
If Garodnick has his way, the NYPD will have to issue an “impact and use” policy for every piece of surveillance technology it owns or buys in the future, and wait a full 45 days after issuing its guidelines before implementing the new piece of equipment.
Garodnick contends that “civilians are in charge of the police force — not the reverse. Surveillance technologies are too frequently not only used in secret, but they are acquired in secret. The public deserves the right to understand why certain law enforcement decisions are being made. Removing a layer of secrecy can help build trust between communities and our police department.”
Of course, Garodnick doesn’t seem to grasp that in implementing this “impact and use” policy for all NYPD technology, it would also entail describing the capabilities of the surveillance technology to anyone interested in knowing more about it.
On top of this, Garodnick wants restrictions placed on usage, as well as a set of outlined safeguards in place to ensure that information collected remains private.
To add more liberal regulation to NYPD policing tactics, and in the wake of politicians’ fears of President Trump’s immigration roundup in the sanctuary city, Garodnick’s bill wants the department to disclose whether it lends its equipment and surveillance information out to federal agencies.
H/T: NY Daily News
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