On Monday, July 13th, the Electronic Frontier Foundation put out a press release (available here) announcing the launch of their Atlas of Surveillance. The Atlas, created in partnership with the Reynolds School of Journalism at the University of Nevada, Reno, is a searchable database of the specific surveillance technology law enforcement agencies across the country have access to.
A user can search for a particular region and the database will produce a list of police departments in that area and the surveillance technology available to them. Users can also search for a specific technology to see how widespread the use of that technology has become. Data was collected on a number of surveillance technologies including drones, body-worn cameras, face recognition, cell-site simulators, automated license plate readers, predictive policing, camera registries, and gunshot detection sensors. Data was also collected on which police departments have partnerships with Amazon’s Ring camera network. A glossary is available on the site with a brief description of each of these technologies.
The database was developed through crowdsourcing and the collection of data journalism over the span of eighteen months. The Atlas may be useful to attorneys interested in determining which kinds of surveillance technologies are in use in the jurisdictions where they work and how law enforcement is able to surveil suspects. The Atlas of Surveillance is currently live and available here to the public at no cost.