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Police departments are stepping up their surveillance, adding drones to their tech collection. How closely does your local department monitor you? Here’s a searchable website you can use to see.
Atlas of Surveillance
The Atlas of Surveillance is a searchable database project from the Electronic Frontier Foundation. It shows which surveillance technologies — such as drones, automated license plate readers, and facial recognition — are used by law enforcement agencies across the U.S.
The pilot program began as a collaboration between the EFF and the University of Nevada’s Reno Reynolds School of Journalism in 2019.
The information comes from public records, crowdsourcing, data journalism, news stories, social media posts, press releases, and volunteer assistance. As of November 2022, the Atlas of Surveillance has 10,000 data points, with at least partial data on 5,500 law enforcement agencies in all 50 states, plus most territories and districts.
The Atlas of Surveillance site says its information is only as good as the source and that government agencies can withhold information. Plus, there’s always the chance of misinterpretation.
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While it’s impossible to fact-check every data point, each one is reviewed by multiple journalism students and staff. Let’s have a closer look at what it shows.
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Types of surveillance in use around the country
Does a camera on every street corner make you nervous? Do you worry that your face is constantly being scanned against a database of who-knows-who? Some people don’t mind it, and others are really bothered by it.
The Atlas of Surveillance lets you search and view databases containing the following examples of surveillance:
The Atlas is a map with over 10,000 data points across the country. Go to atlasofsurveillance.org/atlas to get started.
See what’s going on in your area
Want to narrow your search? Go to atlasofsurveillance.org/search to access a searchable database. Then:
Keep your tech-know going
My popular podcast is called "Kim Komando Today." It’s a solid 30 minutes of tech news, tips, and callers with tech questions like you from all over the country. Search for it wherever you get your podcasts. For your convenience, hit the link below for a recent episode.
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Take an incredible pic of the moon on your Samsung phone? It might not be all you. Also, I share how Google's newly introduced "Magic Wand" tool will change the workplace. And want to fact-check news from home or earn real college credits on YouTube? I got you covered. Don't miss my guide to detecting GPS trackers in your car.
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