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How Domestic Spying Tools Undermine Racial Justice Protests

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How Domestic Spying Tools Undermine Racial Justice Protests
Photo caption: A police officer and Black Lives Matter protesters in Atlanta. Image credit: Raymond Richards / Shutterstock.com. Article by Allie Funk | Freedom House.

In March 1991, officers of the Los Angeles Police Department brutally beat Rodney King. A nearby resident, awakened by the sound of helicopters and sirens, filmed the incident using a home video camera. He then passed the footage to a local news station, which broadcast it around the country and the world, forcing a reckoning with the realities of racism and police violence in the United States.

The officers’ behavior was not new, but the method of its capture was. Nearly three decades later, protests against police brutality and racism are taking place in cities across the world after a Minneapolis Police Department officer killed George Floyd in an incident captured on cell-phone and surveillance videos, and shared globally on social media platforms. Indeed, the rapid development of digital technology and social media has produced immensely powerful tools for organizing, assembling, and demanding justice. But this same technology, alongside advances in artificial intelligence, has also opened up new possibilities for intrusive government surveillance and other violations of Americans’ basic rights. […]

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