Civilian Oversight of Police Surveillance Technology


As law enforcement applications of cutting edge surveillance technology grows, police oversight agencies must keep pace with the practical implications of an array of sophisticated hardware & software tools that raise questions about the balance of privacy and public safety.

Many forms of police surveillance technology collect information on individuals regardless of whether they’ve committed a crime, and can make mistakes that negatively impact innocent people. An agency’s use of this technology can be shrouded in secrecy. Surveillance information can be misused by unethical personnel and is vulnerable to breaches by malicious external actors.

On February 23, 2021 NACOLE welcomed Dave Maass for a technical overview of surveillance technology such as drones, license plate readers, facial recognition, and cell site simulators (Stingrays) and a discussion of how police agencies around the U.S. are using this technology and how use by individual agencies is documented through records such as usage logs.