Updated May 20, 2019
Public Oversight of Surveillance Technology (POST) Act
Status: Introduced, pending committee hearing
Key issues: First Amendment, NYPD, Privacy, Surveillance, Police Practices.
Jurisdiction: New York City Council
Bill Number: Int 0487-2018
Bill Sponsor: Vanessa L. Gibson
This following is intended to provide policy-makers, journalists, and the public resources on the POST Act.
New Yorkers worry about how the Trump administration uses its powerful surveillance tools, whether to target marginalized communities under the pretext of national security, to openly enforce immigration laws, or threaten a free press. New Yorkers shouldn’t have to worry about the NYPD helping Trump with his surveillance agenda…but we do.
For years, the NYPD has built-up an arsenal of cutting-edge, military-grade spy tools without any public notice, debate, or oversight. The POST Act brings much-needed civilian review to NYPD policies, letting elected lawmakers know the types of surveillance conducted on New Yorkers and how that information is kept safe from federal agencies, including ICE.
Existing tools include “stingrays”, fake cell towers that can track New Yorkers’ location and data traffic. Unlike the FBI and a growing list of police departments across the country, the NYPD has no public policy to explain how stingrays can be used, where they can be targeted, and what happens with the data from the thousands of bystanders who are caught up in their use.
Other known tools include X-ray vans that use ionizing radiation to see through walls, vehicles, and even clothing. Automatic license plate readers can monitor a car’s location throughout the city, sharing that database with other agencies and private vendors. Additionally, the Domain Awareness System takes data from those tools and countless other systems tocreate a real-time log of millions of New Yorkers.
Statement of Albert Fox Cahn, Esq. Before the Committee on Technology New York City Council for a Hearing Concerning, Oversight - Commission on Public Information and Communication’s Collaboration in Developing City Information Policies and Promoting Governmental Transparency.