Police are using protests as an excuse to unleash new surveillance tech

"Catherine Crump, an assistant clinical professor at the University of California–Berkeley School of Law, and director of the Samuelson Law, Technology & Public Policy Clinic, pointed out that while police have a right to monitor protest activity, a line must be drawn when that surveillance becomes oppressive.

"People have a First Amendment right to engage in protest activity, but police are still generally permitted to engage in surveillance of protesters," Crump explained by email. "Police officers don't have to avert their eyes merely because someone is engaged in protest." She continued: 

"That said, mass surveillance of protesters merely because they are exercising their First Amendment rights, or because a small handful may engage in unlawful activity, is oppressive and bad policy. Today there are powerful technologies – automatic license plate readers, cell phone tracking devices – that can work to identify everyone who was in a given area. The police should not use these technologies in a dragnet fashion to sweep up protesters. And flying a predator drone over protesters is uncalled for, given the association between those drones and our wars in places like Afghanistan and Yemen.""