Law Enforcement

What you need to know:

Law enforcement across the US, particularly in large cities, are utilizing sophisticated surveillance and crime solving tools like license plate readers, cellphone trackers, drones and facial recognition software, among other technologies.

The US has approximately 70 million surveillance cameras installed- which equates to 4.6 people per installed camera, ranking only behind China in that metric. Most of these cameras are owned by private-sector retail and commercial establishments, however many are joined into networks accessible by law enforcement. Combined with body cameras worn by many police officers and residential security cameras which are starting to be utilized by authorities, it creates a network of ever-increasing eyes on the streets.

In addition, law enforcement officials are increasingly using drones for aerial surveillance as these technologies become less expensive. These drones have high powered cameras attached and have the capability to lock onto and automatically follow targets. These surveillance mechanisms are growingly paired with facial recognition software to track you in real time.

Beyond cameras, they also commonly utilize “Stingrays”, or cell-site simulators, which act as false cell phone towers that trick your phone into giving up their location when you pass by one of these devices. This type of tracking is not subject to a warrant and is commonly used by law enforcement across the country.

Learn More:

Learn about the fight to understand police surveillance methods at the NYPD and with California police

Statistics on the number of cameras in the US

How drones can be used in aerial surveillance

Police using technology to track protestors

The fight over law enforcement use of facial recognition and how a faulty facial recognition match led to the arrest of an innocent man

How facial recognition technology is trying to now adapt to masks

Learn how Stingrays work and how they were used by police to capture a hacker

What to do:

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