The New York City Police Department spent over $ 159 million supervision systems and maintenance since 2007 without public oversight, according to newly published documents. The Legal Aid Society (LAS) and the Surveillance Technology Oversight Project (STOP) received documents from the NYPD, which includes contracts with suppliers. They show that the New York police spent millions face recognition,, predicting police work technical and other surveillance systems.
The NYPD purchased through the Special Expenses Fund. It was not necessary to obtain approval from the New York City Council or other city officials before signing the contract, such as Wired reports.
STOP and other privacy groups lobbied for the Law on Public Oversight of Surveillance Technology (POST), which last year and requires New York City police to reveal details of its public surveillance infrastructure. The Special Expenses Fund was abolished after the law was passed. The LAS and STOP threatened to sue if the NYPD did not explain the details supervisory practices.
Among the documents are contracts for Palantir, American Science and Engineering (which offers X-ray vans that can detect weapons in vehicles 300 meters away) and Idemia Solutions, which provides biometric services, such as face recognition.
NYPD too signed a contract with KeyW Corporation for Stingray cell tower simulators. Stingrays, also known as international mobile phone subscriber identity catchers, fake mobile towers to entice mobile phones to connect to them. Devices can then collect data sent by the phone, such as location. The NYPD has previously admitted to using Stingrays more than a thousand occasions between 2008 and 2015
“For years, the NYPD has been hiding its oversight fund from the public, not to protect us, but to protect its essence,” said STOP CEO Albert Fox Cahn. in a statement. “These technologies are expensive, invasive and just don’t work. But New York City police not only spend millions on untested technologies, but endanger black and brown communities. High-tech mistakes are often just the first step to fake arrests, wrong closures, and family abductions due to a faulty algorithm. ”
“No police administration or federal agency has gone to the level of depth and transparency regarding law enforcement tools used in this area as the NYPD has done in its publications of the Postal Act,” an NYPD spokesman said. Wired in a statement.
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