We all want to live in democratic communities, and we value government accountability. When police acquire and use surveillance technology in secret, without public approval or debate, it undermines democracy, transparency, and accountability for everyone.

The ACLU-CT supports the intent of Senate Bill 870, which would regulate the use of drones by law enforcement. However, we urge the committee to amend the current language to strengthen its privacy protections and add additional provisions regulating the use of other types of surveillance technology. The legislature must establish statewide regulation of surveillance technology, including drones.

Right now, police agencies in Connecticut use many surveillance technologies, including facial recognition software, live
stream video feeds, acoustic sensors, video synopsis software, and social media monitoring technology. They are spending millions of dollars to acquire and use it. People only learn about that technology when police decide to advertise it or honor a Freedom of Information request, not through democratic processes.


The unchecked use of surveillance technology can make our state less safe, violate people’s privacy, chill protesters’ rights, and disproportionately hurt people of color, immigrants, and low-income people. Connecticut residents deserve meaningful democratic control over law enforcement surveillance, particularly at a time when the rights of people of color, immigrants, LGBTQ people, political activists, religious minorities, and others have been violated by government surveillance nationwide.

 

Status

Pending

Session

2019

Bill number

S.B. 870

Position

Needs amendments

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