The Los Angeles Police Department (LAPD) has ordered its officers to collect information from social media from every civilian they interview, according to a Guardian investigation . This measure would be implemented even to those people who are not dragged or accused of a crime.
The data that the outlet has brought to light in its publication comes from a new report from the Brennan Center for Justice, which analyzes internal LAPD documents. Through this news, The Guardian has shown that this police practice puts the right to privacy in social networks at risk .
Both the National Police and the Civil Guard use technology in their patrols.
“LAPD officers have instructions to record a civilian’s Facebook , Instagram , Twitter and other social media accounts , along with basic biographical information,” the outlet explained. According to the investigation, Los Angeles Police Chief Michel Moore urged his employees to collect the data for use in “investigations, arrests and prosecutions.”
For its part, the report Brennan Center for Justice clarified that the LAPD carried out these practices from the Guide user social networking 2015. “The department encourages monitoring networks social, but has given little guidance and tax supervision minimum on the surveillance of the officers on the platforms ”, assured the non-profit group.
The Brennan Center has learned of this situation through copies of the “field interview cards.” These cards are what the police fill out when questioning civilians. As this information came to light, concerns about civil liberties, invasion of privacy and possible unwarranted mass surveillance of civilians have worsened.
As reported by the Brennan Center, the department’s instructions went further, since the police also had to ask for the social security numbers of civilians. To get them, the LAPD recommended that officers lie to interviewees that they “must provide them” under federal law.
The first tests were carried out in 2019.
Regarding this event, Loyola law professor and immigrant rights expert Kathleen Kim, who worked on the Los Angeles Police Commission, informed The Guardian that she was not aware of any laws that require civilians to disclose their social security numbers.
The news has raised in Brennan Center a series of unknowns related to the monitoring of activist groups. This situation could cause agents to control a person’s connections and friendships, which is a clear invasion of user privacy.
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