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There’s a thread that runs through police violence against Black people and connects to overpolicing, onerous and problematic tactics like facial recognition, AI-powered predictive policing, and federal agencies’ surveillance of protestors. It’s almost a loop; at the very least, it’s a knot.
For months, American citizens have tirelessly protested against police violence, largely in response to the police killings of George Floyd and Breonna Taylor. Numerous reports allege that federal agencies have conducted surveillance on protestors. According to some members of Congress, this is creating a chilling effect on First Amendment rights: This week, Representatives Anna Eshoo (D-CA) and Bobby Rush (D-IL), along with Senator Ron Wyden (D-OR), sent a letter asking the Privacy and Civil Liberties Oversight Board (PCLOB), an independent federal agency, to investigate those reports.
“The act of protesting has played a central role in advancing civil rights in our country, and our Constitution protects the right of Americans to engage in peaceful protest unencumbered by government interference. We are, therefore, concerned that the federal government is infringing on this right,” reads the letter’s introduction.
Specifically, they want the PCLOB to investigate:
The federal government’s surveillance of recent protests
The legal authority …
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