Journalists and watchdog nonprofits are still reporting that police agencies stonewall attempts to discover how they’re using taxpayer funds to employ high tech surveillance tools. Departments routinely fend off freedom of information requests by citing the need to protect suppliers’ trade secrets or competitive positions or to avoid affecting contracts or collective bargaining. Those seeking the information say the public should know about how the tools are used to check for “algorithmic bias and threats to civil liberties.” (Vox, February 5, 2020, by Rebecca Heilweil)
The Brennan Center for Justice, February 3, 2020, recently filed public records requests in Boston, New York City, Los Angeles and Baltimore to secure insight into police departments’ social media monitoring. The Brennan Center is concerned that this monitoring could disproportionately affect the young, poor and politically active.