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Police departments are stepping up surveillance and adding drones to their tech collection. How closely does your local department monitor you? Here are some search sites you can browse.
of the atlas of monitoring is a searchable database project by the Electronic Frontier Foundation. It shows which surveillance technologies are being used by law enforcement agencies across the United States, including drones, automatic license plate readers, and facial recognition.
The pilot program began in 2019 as a collaboration between EFF and the University of Nevada’s Reno Reynolds School of Journalism.
Information comes from public records, crowdsourcing, data journalism, news articles, social media posts, press releases, and volunteer outreach. As of November 2022, the Atlas of Surveillance will have 10,000 data pointshas at least partial data on 5,500 law enforcement agencies in all 50 states and most territories and districts.
The Atlas of Surveillance site states that its information is only as good as its source and government agencies can withhold information.
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While it is impossible to verify the facts of every data point, each data point is reviewed by multiple journalism students and staff. Let’s take a closer look at what it shows.
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Types of surveillance used nationwide
Are you nervous that there are cameras on every street corner? Are you worried about your face being constantly scanned against a database of who knows who? Some people become
Atlas of Surveillance allows you to search and view a database containing the following monitoring examples:
- Automatic license plate reader: Fixed-position or police-car-mounted cameras that track license plates.
- Body-worn camera: A video camera attached to a police uniform.
- Camera registry: A voluntary register of security cameras that people have installed on their property. Do you want the police to have access to your personal security cameras at all times? Hear my take on this experimental program.
- Base station simulator: Fake cell phone towers were used to spy on people’s phones.
- Drone: An aircraft used by police to collect aerial footage.
- Face recognition: Software that identifies people from their faces.
- Fusion Center: An intelligence center that enables information sharing between local, state, tribal, territory, and federal agencies.
- Gunshot detection: Acoustic sensors attached to streetlights and buildings that passively listen for gunshots.
- Predictive policing: Software that suggests areas and people that need police attention.
- Real Time Crime Center: Police analyze surveillance videos, intelligence, and other data from these hubs.
- Ring/Neighbor Partnership: Many police departments have partnered with Ring. Have a ring camera?Here’s How Police Get Your Footage Without Your Authorization.
- Video analysis: Computers automatically analyze video footage and feeds.
An atlas is a map containing over 10,000 data points across the country.go to atlasofsurveillance.org/atlas start.
- Toggles data points in the legend on and off and zooms in and out as needed.
- Click on a data point to see detailed information such as the technology employed, the department that uses it, a system summary, and source links.
See what’s happening in your area
Want to refine your search?go to atlasofsurveillance.org/search Access searchable databases. after that:
- Enter a US city, county, state, or institution to search update.
- click More information about any result to get more information about the technology, the institutions using it, the vendors, etc.
- Select or deselect the data you want to display from the list on the left.
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