Last week, the California ACLU released an alarming report about California law enforcement agencies’ covert use of social media surveillance software. The report compiles records requested of 63 police departments, sheriffs, and district attorneys across the state. The ACLU found over 40% are using the software without any transparency or public disclosure. They also reported law enforcement officers may be using the social media surveillance software in a way that specifically targets activists of color.
The three primary pieces of software cited in the ACLU report are MediaSonar, X1 Social Discovery, and Geofeedia. These tools are marketed to law enforcement agencies as ways to keep track of protesters, particularly protesters and activists of color.
In one email from a Geofeedia representative to the San Diego Sheriff, the software is praised for its ability to aggregate “social media posts from the scene of…
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