NEW YORK – New York City Council Member Vanessa L. Gibson of the Bronx’s 16th District, Council Member Brad Lander of Brooklyn’s 39th District, and the Surveillance Technology Oversight Project (S.T.O.P.) have condemned the NYPD’s failure to comply with the Public Oversight of Surveillance Technology (POST) Act.
In a joint press release to The Parrot, it was noted that the POST Act, which was passed last year, requires NYPD to publish policies for every surveillance tool it uses, but Council Member Gibson, S.T.O.P.’s Executive Director Albert Fox Cahn, and other advocates say the NYPD’s policies fail to comply and are filled with errors and boiler-plate text. Gibson and Cahn release their joint statement on the final day for submission of public comments on the draft policies and encourage the public to make their voices heard in demanding NYPD accountability.
Council Member Vanessa L. Gibson said that the failure of NYPD to comply with the POST Act could make the public loss trust of the law enforcement.
“We cannot expect the public to regain their trust of law enforcement if the NYPD does not take the necessary steps to comply with the POST Act,” said Council Member Gibson. “This law was created to increase oversight and transparency of surveillance technology being used in our city and it is imperative that the NYPD complies with the legislation. New Yorkers deserve more than the bare minimum and are demanding accountability. I want to thank the Surveillance Technology Oversight Project, Legal Aid Society, Council on American-Islamic Relations, New York Civil Liberties Union, National Action Network, the Brennan Center for Justice and many others for their advocacy and for pushing this issue forward.”
In Council Member Brad Lander’s remarks, it was noted that the failure of NYPD to comply with the POST Act is an emblem of lack of transparency and a threat to minority Black and Brown community.
“Secrecy around surveillance technologies has long prevented us from understanding how tools are being used by the NYPD, how much is being spent on them, and whether steps are being taken to prevent biased enforcement,” said Council Member Lander. “The opaque nature of the NYPD’s use of surveillance technologies has left little room to protect civil liberties of New Yorkers, especially those in Black and Brown communities. The POSTACT has opened the door to further oversight, but for that to occur it is incredibly important we are provided with the accurate data swiftly that is required by the NYPD. Otherwise marginalized communities are not continuedly and unfairly surveilled.”
In reaction to this POST Act noncompliance on the part of NYPD, the Executive Director of S.T.O.P., Albert Fox Cahn, gave the law enforcement authority to comply with the Act or else S.T.O.P. call for protest, which might expose NYPD’s lack of accountability in their operations.
“New Yorkers have only a few hours left to speak out against NYPD surveillance,” said Cahn. “We thank Council Member Gibson for her longstanding support of the POST Act and commend her strong stance in protecting New Yorkers from invasive police surveillance technology. It was not enough to simply pass the POST Act. We must demand policies from NYPD that provide real accountability and call for a complete ban on racist surveillance tools like facial recognition, drones, and so-called “gang” databases.”
If you would like to read the POST Act, go to https://www.postact.org/ .