STOPping Mass Surveillance

There’s a big difference between mass surveillance and targeted surveillance based on a court-approved, limited-scope search warrant. But advances in technology have made warrant-less, dragnet surveillance exceptionally easy and stunningly effective. Local law enforcement agencies have deployed several types of surveillance systems in our communities, but have strongly resisted calls for transparency and oversight. Furthermore, police have simply bypassed the need for a warrant and pesky Fourth Amendment rights by just buying surveillance data from private companies. My guests today – Albert Fox Cahn and Evan Enzer, from the Surveillance Technology Oversight Project (S.T.O.P.) – will explain what’s going on, why it’s a danger to our privacy rights and democratic principles, and what we can do to fix it.

Interview Notes

Further Info

Table of Contents

Use these timestamps to jump to a particular section of the show.

  • 0:00:33: Interview setup
  • 0:03:26: What is the Surveillance Technology Oversight Project?
  • 0:07:57: What are the most common mass surveillance technologies?
  • 0:10:15: How does Shot Spotter work and what are the dangers?
  • 0:13:02: Do these technologies actually reduce crime?
  • 0:14:38: Is law enforcement required to disclose info on these systems?
  • 0:17:35: How transparent is the funding around these projects?
  • 0:19:21: Who has access to this surveillance data?
  • 0:21:20: 9/11 revealed a lack of data sharing – what’s the right balance?
  • 0:22:42: Is privately obtained surveillance data subject to 4th Amendment rights?
  • 0:23:53: What is the “third party doctrine” and how does it apply here?
  • 0:26:15: How does purchased data differ from data obtained via warrant?
  • 0:27:56: How does the practice of “parallel construction” work?
  • 0:29:22: What is my legal right to privacy when in public spaces?
  • 0:31:09: What are my legal rights to “surveil” law enforcement?
  • 0:32:44: How are police using copyright law to curtail video taping?
  • 0:34:13: Who watches the watchers? Is there any oversight of mass surveillance?
  • 0:36:52: How do you uncover surveillance use and abuse?
  • 0:38:45: How can we mitigate consumer surveillance tech?
  • 0:41:53: Are there any tools or techniques to mitigate public surveillance?
  • 0:46:22: What’s the solution here? How do we rein in mass surveillance?
  • 0:50:06: How can people get involved in the fight against mass surveillance?
  • 0:51:51: Interview wrap-up
  • 0:54:51: Looking ahead