Business / Economy

COMMENTARY: Which California city will be the next surveillance ‘police’ state?

How technology has invaded our lives and privacy, civil liberties, civil rights, and anonymity

Mass Surveillance "…eventually be broadened out to include surveillance of normal citizens" – for what purpose?

The Center for Investigative Reporting (CIR) is a non-profit news organization dedicated to investigative journalism. Its mission is to inform and empower the public and hold the powerful accountable. CIR investigates stories that expose scandals or corruption in government and corporations- in order to move citizens to action. The work of CIR is fact-based, nonpartisan and driven by the truth.

According to the CIR, “The Center for Investigative Reporting and KQED teamed up to take an inside look at the emerging technologies that could revolutionize policing – and how intrusively the public is monitored by the government. The technology is forcing the public and law enforcement to answer a central question: When have police crossed the line from safer streets to expansive surveillance that threatens to undermine the nation’s constitutional values?”  The Center also reported, “New technologies are revolutionizing crime fighting, consumer tracking and public services in local communities – and raising uneasy questions about a loss of privacy and civil liberties.” 

For example, in the city of Chula Vista, Calif., the police department instituted a no-consent or permission needed policy to take a picture of your face in order to confirm identity. Chula Vista police officers already have used mobile facial recognition technology on individuals “suspected," not charged or proven guilty with a crime. After the facial photograph is taken, it is sent to a center and a response is provided in seconds.

This is a growing, disturbing development in so-called local “community” policing, and as part of a memorandum of understanding in order to received the federal funding, the police, with the approval of the city council, provide the captured personal information of its residents to the Department of Homeland Security — the captured facial physical attributes, palm prints and the iris of your eyes as a facial identifier. State of Surveillance reveals the extent of the intrusive violation.

Here are some Web resources related to the topic:

Barack Obama’s Secret Terrorist-Tracking System, by the Numbers

The Intercept "Watch List"


Intrinsic Physical or Behavioral Characteristics

CIA apologizes for snooping on Senate staffers

 CIA Snooping on US Senate


Luis Burguillo

As a student of the media and journalism, I am interested in utilizing the medium in order to assure that the residents of the City of Hollister and San Benito County are alerted, informed and educated on the official actions of their elected officials who are sworn to preserve, protect and defend the US constitution and Bill of Rights. More importantly, their engagement in the political process will hold the leaders accountable for their actions/decisions and lead to an improved governance.