New York State Police is Increasing Social Media Surveillance
People live their lives online more than ever before, and New York State Governor Kathy Hochul and State Police are ramping up their social media surveillance.
According to a report by Chris Gelardi of WSHU, over the last decade the New York State Police have bought programs that allow them to go through social media information, including Twitter, Facebook and Instagram. Some of these programs can even access internal data for Twitter, Facebook, Instagram and other websites.
Albert Fox Cahn, executive director of the Surveillance Technology Oversight Project, told WSHU "When these systems are used without any public accountability or oversight, it really raises my alarm bells. You can use this technology for everything from tracking social media mentions of your own organization for PR purposes to conducting widespread warrantless surveillance."
According to the report, law enforcement agencies used the technology, including internal data, to identify people during the Black Lives Matter protests in 2020, which led to some social media companies cutting off access to the program. But not all of the technology companies had their access cut off so State Police were able to enter into a new contract with other companies to obtain the same information.
One of these programs, "Dataminr," was used during the Black Lives Matter protests to locate protesters using social media and is a program that has access to Twitter's internal data.
State Police Spokesperson Beau Duffy told WSHU "These software services and told have helped eliminate individuals from suspicion and convict others for serious crimes. We follow all laws when it comes to gathering evidence to ensure anything relevant to a prosecution can withstand legal scrutiny and be used in court."
Another one of the programs that State Police purchased is called "ShadowDragon." This company claims that its program can predict crime, which should set off alarm bells for most people.