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Street-Level Surveillance

A Guide to Law Enforcement Spying Technology

EFF’s “Street-Level Surveillance” project shines light on the advanced surveillance technologies that law enforcement agencies routinely deploy in our communities. These resources are designed for members of the public, advocacy organizations, journalists, defense attorneys, and policymakers who often are not getting the straight story from police representatives or the vendors marketing this equipment.

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Whether it’s sophisticated location tracking, ubiquitous video recording, or the instant analysis of our biometric data, law enforcement agencies are following closely behind their counterparts in the military and intelligence services in acquiring privacy-invasive technologies. Just as analog surveillance historically has been used as a tool for oppression, policymakers and the public must understand the threat posed by emerging technologies to successfully defend civil liberties and civil rights in the digital age. 

Every day, the threats to our rights expand as police use surveillance technologies to compile enormous databases filled with our personal information. On top of the damage to our Fourth Amendment rights, these technologies can be used to spy on citizens engaged in First Amendment activities or deployed disproportionately against marginalized communities. And they are prone to abuse by rogue officers for personal reasons, while technological errors and vulnerabilities can also have damaging repercussions for those who interact with the criminal justice system.

The resources contained on this site brings together years of research, litigation, and advocacy by EFF staff and our allies, and will continue to grow as we obtain more information.

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