US law enforcement uses surveillance technologies to track Capitol insurrectionists


Following the January 6 invasion of the US Capitol Building, federal law enforcement used a wide variety of surveillance technologies to track down participants, including facial recognition, licence plate readers, policy body cameras, and cellphone tracking. While many of the people being tracked and charged are members of white supremacist groups, human rights organizations such as ACLU and EFF are concerned that the level of surveillance was excessive and poses a threat to peaceful protests. For example, even when federal agents had numerous images of a participant from Snapchat videos they posted, they nonetheless tracked his car from his home to the protests. ANPR use in particular is expanding across the US and statistics suggest it's used at least 1 billion times a year, unconnected with a crime in the vast majority of cases. Body-worn cameras are also proliferating and have been used to identify and arrest Black Lives Matter protesters. Critics are also concerned that surveillance is replacing real time police work.

Writer: Hannah Harris Green

Publication: The Guardian

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