PRA Exposé: New Domestic Surveillance Program a Platform for Prejudice
The New PRA Report on the Nationwide Suspicious Activity Reporting Initiative sheds light on new forms of inter-agency coordination and explains why wholesale intelligence gathering in the public domain should concern all of us. In 2008, the Los Angeles Police Department issues Special Order #11 that listed 65 behaviors LAPD officers shall report as suspicious, including taking pictures or video “with no apparent aesthetic value” and persons “espousing extremist views.” As of March 2010, the federal government is poised to implement nationwide reporting, tracking, and accessing so-called “Suspicious Activities” among 72 intelligence fusion centers and reconstituted police intelligence units.
“If the past decades have taught us anything about police intelligence, it is that an emphasis on information gathering, rather than better analysis techniques, opens the door to constitutional abuses without any measureable security benefit.” – David Cunningham, author of There’s Something Happening Here: The New Left, The Klan, and FBI Counterintelligence
PRA’s Report, Platform for Prejudice, explains why Congress should hold hearings and remove non-criminal conduct from suspicious activity criteria. As it stands today, Suspicious Activity Reporting invites divisive and counter-productive racial, ethnic, and religious profiling, erodes civil liberties, and undermines security by making intelligence analysts’ job harder.
Suspicious Activity Reporting
In the wake of the 9/11 attacks, government responded to perceived deficiencies in the nation’s defense system by re-configuring its domestic security apparatus and marshalling vast resources to implement counterterrorism policies. This development coincided with a backlash against Muslim, Arab, Middle Eastern, and South Asian populations, as well as increased deportations of immigrants of Latin American origin. Law and policy makers conceptualized the development of the enterprise in structural terms: the establishment of a new “intelligence architecture,” building an “information sharing environment,” and mandating interagency collaboration at all levels of government. Read more...
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