Tuesday, January 28, 2014

Questions I wished were asked on privacy, liberty, and surveillance

Today, the Minnesota House Civil Law Committee invited various head law enforcement officials to testify how their agencies do surveillance on Minnesotan's with emerging technologies. Two important functions of legislative oversight is to advance accountability and to raise and ask the tough questions of public officials to see what their activities are particularly on this subject.  A number of questions were asked.

These are some of the questions I WISH they would have asked:

- 4th amendment

Do you believe that a broad pattern of governmental surveillance activity - such as monitoring a person's location information on an ongoing basis - invades a reasonable expectation of privacy, and constitutes a search?

Do such things as license plate reader scans (LPR) and the Kingfish infringe on the protections of the First, Fourth, and Fifth amendments in your view?

With more and more of our private information being shared with third parties, should law  enforcement need a search warrant rather than lower thresholds such as "relevant" to an investigation to get the data?

Do you believe that personal data held by a third party has a right to privacy in 2014, even though 30 year old US Supreme Court court decisions say no?

 - License Plate Readers (LPR)

Does the federal government offer your department any assistance in enhancing or implementing LPR technology?  If so, what form does that assistance take?

Do you share your LPR data with any federal law enforcement agencies or local/state agencies? If so, what is the scope of the data sharing? What do those agencies use that data for?

In some states that have LPR's........they have a centralized database of all license plate scans collected by law enforcement.........they are shared with the Federal government through fusion centers.......what is Minnesota law enforcement thinking on this?

LPR data in some states is being shared with a national private company.......are any of you doing this?  Should this be prohibited?

- Location data

As you know location data about where one goes, where they are going can tell a lot about a person and their associations/interests.......because of ease of technology.....you can get it very easily with a subpoena (lower threshold) rather than a search warrant from T-Mobile.  In 2014, do you think that Minnesotan's deserve a higher expectation of privacy in their very personal data held by third parties?

 - Drones - surveillance

Would your department support the use of small, low-flying drones to serve as platforms for ongoing video surveillance or public areas?

Would your department support the use of those same, small drones to fly at window level in order to observe activities in private homes that might be visible from public areas?

If so, what sorts of regulations would govern the collection and retention of the video feeds that would be gathered?

At what point does your department believe that a warrant is needed to employ video surveillance capabilities in public areas?

Would your department consider the use of high-altitude drones for ongoing video surveillance of public areas?

- Drones - safety regulation

What sort of assurances would your department be able to provide that unmanned aircraft operating in urban areas would be safe?

If your department has considered employing drones, has your municipality considered the civil liability issues posed by unmanned aircraft use?

- Drones - other monitoring

Would your department, in conjunction with your municipality, consider employing drones mounted with cameras and radar guns to measure vehicle speeds, with the intention of using that information as the basis for issuing speeding citations?

- Cell phone location monitoring

Does your department consider the tracking or getting an individual's cellphone location information to be a search under the Fourth Amendment?

As costs come down, would your department consider installing multiple, networked cell phone location tracking devices in your municipality in order to locate persons of interest?

FLIR and infrared technology

Does your department believe that the use of Forward Looking Infrared (FLIR) or other infrared technology to detect heat patterns within a private home or residence constitutes a search?

Does your department have any such technology?  If so, how does it employ such technology?

- Surveillance cameras

Does your department share its live video feeds with other law enforcement agencies, and other parties including federal agencies?

Does your agency record video from its live feeds?  For how long?  To what purpose is this data put?

Does your agency plan on integrating facial recognition technology into its surveillance systems?

- Domain awareness/Predictive analytics

Has your department studied, or otherwise contemplated the use of, so-called "domain awareness" technology that integrates video feeds, Twitter feed monitoring, and other data streams with so-called "predictive" crime analysis software?  (The City of Oakland is considering installing such technology. Rochester Police Department now has the analytics software from IBM.  The City of Minneapolis signed a contract with IBM last year using similar technology)  

Would your department consider such broad-based surveillance schemes to comply with the Fourth Amendment?

Would you live in a municipality in which the government employed such broad-based surveillance activities?

Oversight by the Legislature gives the public a view on important issues, it's not only for the interest of the policymakers.

Oversight hearings on the intersection of surveillance, law enforcement, emerging technologies and our privacy/liberty rights with tough questions gives the opportunity for insight what law enforcement agencies are doing and how they implement their actions.  The hearing today allowed the public an occasion to see what their elected legislators do,  and if their elected officials are doing their jobs.

Today is only the beginning of discussion on the issue of emerging technologies and our civil liberties to be explored by the Minnesota Legislature.  I encourage you to look into the issues and let your opinion be known to your elected officials.

No comments:

Post a Comment