Report: How police surveillance tech reinforces abuses of power

The UK organisation No Tech for Tyrants (NT4T) has published an extensive report on the use of surveillance technologies by the police in the UK, US, Mexico, Brazil, Denmark and India, in collaboration with researchers and activists from these countries. The report, titled “Surveillance Tech Perpetuates Police Abuse of Power” examines the relation between policing and technology through in-depth case studies.

These examples range from ‘smart’ streetlights that also record pedestrians in San Diego, the Danish police collecting ever more data on citizens, UK police officers stalking ex romantic partners through law enforcement databases, and police in India that want citizens to give them access to their camera’s via an app. NT4T states that:

Police use of technology exacerbates abuse – continuing longer histories of racism, sexism and colonialism in policing institutions around the world. Our report highlights how the recent rise in adoption of advanced technologies has created a dangerous environment where police can assert control or authority on a much larger scale.

These international cases connect directly to examples of police surveillance in the Dutch context. Both Amnesty and Fair Trials wrote on the Dutch cases such as the Top600 and the Sensing Project. Amnesty wrote an article titled Netherlands: End dangerous mass surveillance policing experiments and Fair Trials wrote a report titled Automating Injustice detailing several Dutch examples (see our previous piece).

Besides these extensive case studies, the NT4T report makes a considerable effort in accessibly conceptualising the interaction between surveillance technologies and police abuse of power. Finally, the report emphasizes the point that the abuse of such technologies should not be seen as isolated ‘bad apples’ or a problem with technological bias. Rather, NT4T argues from an “abolitionist” perspective, calling for a world without policing.

See: New Report: Surveillance Tech Perpetuates Police Abuse of Power at No Tech for Tyrants.

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