Wyden seeks inquiry into government surveillance of Black Lives Matter protesters

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Oregon’s U.S. Sen. Ron Wyden joined with two other Democratic lawmakers Thursday to urge an independent federal agency investigate allegations that government agencies have been conducting surveillance of recent Black Lives Matter protests.The letter by Wyden, U.S. Reps. Anna G. Eshoo, D-Calif., and Bobby L. Rush, D-Ill., was sent to the U.S. Privacy and Civil Liberties Oversight Board. The board was created in 2007 to “ensure that the federal government’s efforts to prevent terrorism are balanced with the need to protect privacy and civil liberties,” according to the mission on its website.They urged the board conduct an inquiry looking into, among other things: the use of a single-engine Cessna Caravan, owned and operated by the U.S. Marshals Service, that was flying over Portland on June 13 with a camera attached taking still pictures of the protest crowd; alleged intelligence reports compiled on journalists covering protests in Portland and the Federal Protective Services’ examination of cell phones seized from protesters arrested.In response to Congressional questions, a federal official from the Marshals Service said the plane that flew above Portland in June only took photos but the images did not contain “personally identifiable information of …

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