Home > #OWS, discrimination, modeling, rant, white privilege > The Police State is already here.

The Police State is already here.

April 27, 2015

The thing that people like Snowden are worried about with respect to mass surveillance has already happened. It’s being carried out by police departments, though, not the NSA, and its targets are black men, not the general population.

Take a look at this incredible Guardian article written by Rose Hackman. Her title is, Is the online surveillance of black teenagers the new stop-and-frisk? but honestly that’s a pretty tame comparison if you think about the kinds of permanent electronic information that the police are collecting about black boys in Harlem as young as 10 years old.

Some facts about the program:

  • 28,000 residents are being surveilled
  • 300 “crews,” a designation that rises to “gangs” when there are arrests,
  • Officers trawl Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, YouTube, and other social media for incriminating posts
  • They pose as young women to gain access to “private” accounts
  • Parents are not notified
  • People never get off these surveillance lists
  • In practice, half of court cases actually use social media data to put people away
  • NYPD cameras are located all over Harlem as well

We need to limit the kind of information police can collect, and put limits on how discriminatory their collection practices are. As the article points out, white fraternity brothers two blocks away at Columbia University are not on the lists, even though there was a big drug bust in 2010.

For anyone who wonders what a truly scary police surveillance state looks like, they need look no further than what’s already happening for certain Harlem residents.

  1. April 27, 2015 at 8:53 am

    The police state started with the black community but has extended to the poor community. It’s a class war and the police are being used to keep all poor people in line, in jail and out of the voting lines.


  2. April 27, 2015 at 9:40 am

    Think if that much money and personpower were invested in schools, after-school programs, mentoring, and teachers instead of cyberspys and robocops.


  3. April 27, 2015 at 10:05 am

    Really? Your answer to the current police state is the current police state with some technocratic fixes? And to make things more equitable, the state should expand its Drug War surveillance? Um….


    • April 27, 2015 at 10:14 am

      Not what I meant, but interesting that you read it that way. I don’t think we’d be treated like this if everyone way treated equally.


      • nnyhav
        April 28, 2015 at 11:53 am

        … but did you mean to imply the Gibsonian continuation of the post title, i.e. “– it’s just not evenly distributed.”


        • April 28, 2015 at 11:55 am

          Yes, that’s fair. But I wouldn’t have intended to imply that it’s a good thing!


  4. Min
    April 27, 2015 at 6:26 pm
  5. April 29, 2015 at 12:23 am

    Just read “Little Brother” by Cory Doctorow – so apt! He describes this type of thing in 2008


  1. May 1, 2015 at 3:49 pm
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