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June 18, 2020

NEW YORK CITY – Today the New York City Council voted to pass the Public Oversight of Surveillance Technology (POST) Act, which will lift the curtain on the scope and scale of advanced surveillance technology used to track, police, and collect biometric data on New Yorkers. To date, the NYPD has hidden much of this surveillance activity and capability from the public eye and used extensive means to maintain this secrecy. In response, the New York Civil Liberties Union issued the following statement from Executive Director, Donna Lieberman:

“When the POST Act was first introduced, the NYPD assured the public that the legislation was unnecessary, essentially because the department could be trusted to self-monitor its use of mass surveillance technology. That was always untrue, and the events of the last several weeks should forever destroy the myth that the NYPD can police itself.

"The NYPD’s possession and deployment of secret spying devices that include facial recognition technology, x-ray vans, Stingrays, ShotSpotter, and drones, among others, are a threat to the safety and privacy of all New Yorkers. And these technologies pose a unique risk to Black and Brown New Yorkers who the NYPD has subjected to dangerous, invasive policing tactics for decades. Many of these tools have no place in the hands of law enforcement, and more action is needed to curtail NYPD policing and surveillance abuses.

"The POST Act will require the NYPD to share important information about each surveillance tool, including its description, capabilities, guidelines for use, and security measures designed to protect any data it collects. This is a meaningful step to gain transparency of what devices are used and require public scrutiny and oversight regarding their use.”