By Jessica Romo
As law enforcement and government surveillance technology continues to become more and more advanced, it has also become harder for everyday people to avoid. Law enforcement agencies all over the United States are using body-worn cameras, automated license plate readers, drones, and much more—all of which threat people’s right to privacy. But it’s often difficult for people to even become aware of what technology is being used where they live.
The Electronic Frontier Foundation has three interactive tools that help you learn about the new technologies being deployed around the United States and how they impact you: the Atlas of Surveillance, Spot the Surveillance, and Who Has Your Face?
The Atlas of Surveillance
The Atlas of Surveillance is a database and map that will help you understand the magnitude of surveillance at the national level, as well as what kind of technology is used locally where you live.
Developed in partnership with the University of Nevada, Reno’s Reynolds School of Journalism, the Atlas of Surveillance is a dataset with more than 5,500 points of information on technology surveillance used by law enforcement agencies across the United States. Journalism students and EFF volunteers gathered online research, such as news articles and government records, on 10 common surveillance technologies and two different types of surveillance command centers.
By clicking any point on the map, you will get the name of an agency and a description of the technology. If you toggle the interactive legend, you can see how each technology is spreading across the country. You can also search a simple-to-use text version of the database of all the research, including links to news articles or documents that confirm the existence of the technology in that region.
Who Has Your Face?
Half of all adults in the United States likely have their image in a law enforcement facial recognition database, according to a 2016 report from the Center on Privacy & Technology at Georgetown Law. Today, that number is probably higher. But what about your face?
Face recognition is a form of biometric surveillance that uses software to automatically identify or track someone based on their physical characteristics.