In the last 20 years, crime rates in the United States have steadily and significantly declined. Despite this, government spending on surveillance technologies for domestic law enforcement—technologies like GPS tracking devices, stingrays, biometrics, drones, and cameras of all kinds—has increased exponentially. These technologies are becoming more and more sophisticated every year, and the data collected using them is aggregated, stored, and shared across government agencies.
At the same time, it’s often very difficult for the public to learn how these technologies work and how and where they’re being used. Law enforcement agencies at the federal, state and local level—and the companies manufacturing and selling the technologies—are less than forthcoming about how surveillance technologies operate. In fact, they are often are actively hiding the truth about the purchase and use of these technologies from the public. And in many cases surveillance tools are being used first in poor, immigrant and minority communities—the very communities that have less access to resources to challenge their use.
Since EFF started 25 years ago, we’ve fought in courts and legislatures against the proliferation of domestic surveillance technologies, and we’ve worked hard to educate the public and lawmakers. We’ve done innumerable public talks, written hundreds of blog posts about these issues, and partnered with other advocacy groups and defense attorneys to spread awareness about Street Level Surveillance.
EFF’s Street Level Surveillance Project unites our past and future work on domestic surveillance into one easily accessible portal. Under the “technologies” tab, you’ll find all the materials we have on each individual technology gathered into one place, including infographics and FAQs. Under the “resources” tab, we have gathered a variety of resources, including “know your rights” information, material for community activists and advocacy organizations, resources for defense attorneys, and information on filing public records act requests. Under the “legal” tab you’ll find information on EFF’s work in the courts and legislatures, and the “news” tab gathers our blog posts covering Street Level Surveillance technology.
We invite you to look through the resources, learn about surveillance technologies and their impact on our communities, and talk to your local government about limiting or stopping their use.