San Francisco police department use private camera network to surveil BLM protests


According to records obtained under a freedom of information request, the San Francisco Police Department used the camera network belonging to downtown Union Square Improvement District to spy on protesters during the end of May and early June 2020. The high-definition cameras, manufactured by Motorola brand Avigilon, can zoom in on a person's face and are linked to a software analysis system. Motorola is expanding its tool lineup to make it easier for police to gain access to private cameras and licence plate readers. Union Square BID is one of a number of special assessment districts in SF that are run by private non-profits though operating public services and funded by public money. They jointly operate about $4 million worth of cameras, adopted using funding provided by cryptocurrency mogul Chris Larsen.

Writer: Dave Maass and Matthew Guariglia

Publication: EFF blog