Document Journal: A new law seeks to expose the NYPD’s secret surveillance technology

“As surveillance technology evolves, New Yorkers will have to balance surveillance power with personal freedoms. In addition to license plate readers, x-ray vans, and stingrays, the NYPD now has a unit dedicated to operating face recognition systems—but it isn’t just being used in the fight against terrorism.

“There’s been an explosion in face recognition in the past year and a half,” says Sidney Thaxter, a defense attorney in The Bronx Defenders’ Digital Forensics Unit. “In 2016, our office probably had two cases [involving facial recognition technology]. Now it seems to be popping up everywhere, especially in shoplifting cases. It’s being used against protesters and alleged shoplifters rather than to fight terrorism and all of the [other] reasons it was ostensibly designed for.”

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