Despite the guarantee of the Fourth Amendment, U.S. law enforcement and intelligence agencies have made a habit of spying on the citizenry. But in the 21st century, the internet and the ability of computers to store and process vast amounts of data has allowed the government to collect vast amounts of data about each of us.
Government surveillance goes well beyond the NSA/FBI mass surveillance programs revealed by Edward Snowden in 2013. The Drug Enforcement Agency’s automatic license plate readers have been recording our travel for decades; the FBI’s domain awareness program records where we travel, record has been recording license plates for decades, Fusion Centers and Joint Terrorism Task Forces (run by DHS and the FBI respectively) gather information.
Over a billion people around the world use the messaging tool WhatsApp. It’s a great tool to communicate with friends and family around the world, and one reason why it’s so popular is because of the company’s strong commitment to user privacy.
In response to revelations that the FBI and DHS have been spying on Black Lives Matter, Occupy, anti-pipeline activists and peace and solidarity activists, individuals and 131 civil society organizations asked the House and Senate Judiciary Committees to find out the true extent of improper spying.
An audit by the Inspector General shows that 79% of LAPD Suspicious Activity Reports were written on non-whites