LA Police Are Collecting Detainees’ Social Media Information 

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Los Angeles The Department of Police (LAPD) instructs officers to collect social media account information and email addresses when they interview detainees, according to documents obtained by the Brennan Center for Justice at the NYU School of Law.

The Brennan Center filed public record requests to LAPD and police departments from other major cities, finding, among other things, that “LAPD instructs its officers to collect social media account information widely from people they meet in person using the Field Interview (FI) card.” Is. ” The LAPD initially resisted making the documents available but provided more than 6,000 pages after the Brennan Center sued the department.

A similar document, in a memo from then-LAPD chief Charlie Beck in May 2015, said, “While completing the FI report, officials should ask for the person’s social media and e-mail account information and include it in the ‘Additional Information’ box.” , Instagram or Facebook profiles.

This may be an unusual policy even though LAPD has been doing it for years. “Obviously, officers can’t stop anything from filling out FI cards for every interaction involved in patrolling,” wrote Mary Pat Dwyer, a lawyer and colleague at the Brennan Center’s Liberty and National Security program. “Notably, our review of FI cards in 40 other cities did not reveal any other police departments that use the cards to collect social media data, although details are scarce.” Dwyer told Arsen on Friday that “other police departments regularly review publicly available documents to determine whether they collect social media during field interviews” but found that “most people are not very transparent about their practices.” “

While people may refuse to give officials their social media account details, many are unaware of their rights and may feel pressured to provide information, Dwyer told Arsenal. “Courts have found that detaining individuals and asking for voluntary information does not violate the Fourth Amendment and that people are not free to respond.” “However, depending on the circumstances of the stop, people may not feel the freedom to walk away without responding. They may not know their rights, or they may hope to end the encounter quickly without providing information.”

The Brennan Center has also been seeking police department records from Boston, New York City, Baltimore and Washington DC since January 2020, but is still fighting to get all the information requested.

Enables ‘mass monitoring’ of data

According to the international organization, field interviews are defined as a brief detention of a person, on foot or in a vehicle, on the basis of reasonable suspicion, in order to determine the identity of the person and resolve the officer’s suspicions regarding criminal activity. Chief of Police Model Policy for Field Interviews and Pet-Down Search. Field-interview cards can play an important role in investigations.

“These cards facilitate large-scale surveillance of both individuals and their friends, family and associates મોટા mostly those suspected of a crime,” Dwyer wrote. “Information from the card is delivered to Palantir, a system through which LAPD collects data from a wide range of sources to enhance its surveillance and analytical capabilities.”

Officers obviously have great discretion in choosing which people to record information about and, in some cases, falsifying the information entered. Last year Los Angeles Times The LAPD found that the division under scrutiny of officials who allegedly falsified field interview cards played an outside role in the creation of the cards, which showed people as gang members. LAPD’s “metropolitan division has a strength of about 4 percent but holds more than 20 percent of the department’s field interview cards issued during the most recent 18-month period,” he said. Time Wrote. The report also said police officers could fill out the cards “as they documented encounters with anyone who questioned their beat.”

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