A Twitter feed titled “Minnesota Contact Tracing” revealed how police are using contact tracing to identify and arrest protesters. “Minnesota Public Safety Commissioner John Harrington says they’ve begun contact tracing arrestees.”
Recently, 100 human rights groups warned that an Apple/Google contact tracing app could be used as a cover to identify activists and minorities.
An increase in state digital surveillance powers, such as obtaining access to mobile phone location data, threatens privacy, freedom of expression and freedom of association, in ways that could violate rights and degrade trust in public authorities—undermining the effectiveness of any public health response. Such measures also pose a risk of discrimination and may disproportionately harm already marginalized communities.
So despite all assurances to the contrary, it appears that 100 human rights groups were right; law enforcement can and will use contact tracing to identify protesters.
As NBC News noted, contact tracers also use geofencing to help identify protesters.
“Geofencing” captures the social media posts of people entering a specific area. The technology locates any cellphones that cross into the area by locking onto their geolocation systems, and then records social media posts and sometimes other data from the phones.
Time exposed how the military (National Guard) uses a classified system called “Secret Internet Protocol Router” or SIPR to monitor protesters.
Big Tech’s hands are dirty with federal money paying for new ways to monitor Americans.
A recent Business Insider article describes how police use Big Tech to monitor activists and protesters the moment they walk out their door.
Law enforcement agencies have made full use of high-tech surveillance tools as protests sweep the country following the death of George Floyd. A predator drone operated by Customs and Border Patrol circled above protesters in Minneapolis.
Buzzfeed News warns,
law enforcement has a wide breadth of surveillance technologies that could be used to monitor and target protesters — including controversial facial recognition software Clearview AI, license plate readers, body cameras, and video analysis tools.
Both of these articles reveal a frightening array of Big Tech surveillance devices being used by police nationwide.
Minneapolis police and the Minnesota Fusion Center are also using Clearview AI, BriefCam, Ring doorbell cameras, Axon police body cameras, ShotSpotter and license plate readers to create an intimate view of people’s lives.
BuzzFeed’s article also revealed how police use Arxys “Milestone” software which uses video detection and analytics to identify people.
The Minneapolis Police Department said in a surveillance white paper that it uses Arxys [Milestone] software — a video management tool that claims to offer “video motion detection” and “video analytics” — to analyze CCTV footage.