Do you have a minute to help us map how police are using handheld devices to collect biometric data, like your facial features or iris patterns? OK, how about 30 seconds? If you type fast enough, we bet you can get it down to 10 seconds.
Just tell us (EFF and MuckRock, that is) where you want us to look—say the Truth or Consequences Police Department or the Kalamazoo Department of Public Safety—and we’ll file a Freedom of Information request for you. You don’t even need to give us your name.
If you’re ready, click here. If you still need a little more convincing, read on.
As part of our new Street-Level Surveillance Project, we are working with MuckRock to make it incredibly easy to file a public records requests to expose how police are using spy technology in our communities.
As many EFF members remember, we teamed up with MuckRock in 2012 to launch the first-ever drone census, in which people like you helped us file more than 200 requests with local jurisdictions about their use (or interest) in purchasing unmanned aerial vehicles. The information we turned up influenced debate in city councils and state legislatures around the country.
This time around, we’re focusing on mobile biometric technology. These are devices or mobile apps that police use to collect and analyze physical characteristics of people they encounter. Police have used this technology to collect and analyze fingerprints, faces, tattoos, irises and DNA, which they often deposit into enormous databases. Sound creepy? Well here’s what’s scarier: most of our research is piecemeal, barely scratching the surface. What we need is comprehensive data and lots of records.
As we noted earlier, it only takes a few moments to fill out the form. And don’t be shy about submitting multiple jurisdictions for us to target. It helps if you can spend a few more minutes doing a bit of research, for example, searching for news stories that may help us narrow our request, but that’s optional. You can also file the public records request yourself, either through MuckRock, another service, or the old fashioned way by mail.
Now, are you ready? Are you wishing you’d filed five of these instead of taking the time to read this whole blog post? Then, let’s do this.