Picture of Charles Blain

City Notes

September 20, 2017

Charles
Blain

How Is The NYPD Using Stingray? Don’t Dare Ask

Imagine living in a city where the local police department can refuse information requests from the entity that governs its surveillance policies. Honestly, you don’t have to imagine: that’s actually what happens in most cities, and is currently playing out in New York City. Fifteen of the city’s 50 council members filed a bill requiring the NYPD to turn over specifics of its use of Stingray, a mobile communication interceptor, and other surveillance technology, like scanners, license plate readers, and radiation detectors, to name a few. The council isn’t asking to publicly disclose the intricate operations of the devices, just to hear the procedure about how they are used. This is something that the NYPD has resisted, citing a need to combat crime and terrorism. But it’s bullshit that a taxpayer-funded, locally-governed police department, which has come under fire for unconstitutional use of these devices, can refuse even to answer to those it is accountable to.

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