Week Of Digital Action (June 24 - 28)
I hope you can join us and our partners for a week of digital action supporting the New York City Council’s Public Oversight of Police Technology (“POST”) Act. The bill requires the NYPD to create privacy safeguards for its growing arsenal of military-grade spy tools. We know that these tools are targeted against communities of color, immigrant communities, and Muslim New Yorkers, and that civilian oversight is long overdue.
The ask is minimal: please join groups around the country in posting about the POST Act every day next week (June 24th – June 28th). For those of you based in New York City, please also consider having members reach out to their councilmember. To make outreach as easy as possible, we’ve included a media toolkit and unbranded infographics below.
(feel free to add your own organization’s logo to the unbranded graphics, subject to the Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 4.0 International creative commons license).
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.
In 2018, Council Member Vanessa L. Gibson introduced “The Public Oversight of Surveillance Technology” (POST) Act, which requires the NYPD to disclose how it utilizes electronic surveillance tools. The NYPD has built up an arsenal of cutting-edge, military-grade spy tools without any public notice or debate. From hidden surveillance cameras that use facial recognition technology to watch and track where we go, what we do, and who we meet with 24/7, to automated license plate readers that can monitor everywhere you drive, the NYPD’s Orwellian surveillance technology should disturb every New Yorker. And we know, based on past NYPD conduct and nationwide trends that when these technologies are used, they are used primarily against communities of color, poor communities, certain ethnic and religious communities, political activists, and vulnerable groups like undocumented New Yorkers.
The POST Act does not stop the NYPD from using these tools—no matter how problematic they might be—but it does create an opportunity to learn about if they are being used and how they are being used, and provides the public with information it can use to push back against technologies and uses it does not approve of. Far from being a way to undermine the NYPD, civilian surveillance oversight has enhanced trust in law enforcement in other cities. Let’s make sure that New Yorkers’ private information is kept safe from federal agencies such as ICE by advocating for, posting about, and passing the POST Act.
It’s time for New York City to join the thirteen other jurisdictions—like San Francisco and Seattle—that have already adopted local surveillance oversight laws.
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.