Democratizing Police Adoption of Surveillance Technology

Author: Catherine Crump


The Biden-Harris Administration should help local communities reassert control over police use of surveillance technology. It should support legislation requiring that the use of all federally-funded surveillance technology be approved by local elected representatives through a public process, and that this use be constrained by a formal policy delineating the situations in which it will be used, how the data it generates will be handled and secured, and how its effectiveness will be evaluated. If new legislation is not forthcoming, then the Biden-Harris Administration should empower local initiatives through a pledge program in which leading local law enforcement authorities voluntarily agree to take these steps.

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About the Author

Catherine Crump is a clinical professor at UC Berkeley, School of Law, where she directs the Samuelson Clinic for Law, Technology & Public Policy. An expert on legal issues relevant to government deployment of police surveillance technology, she has testified before Congress and the European Parliament about related policy issues and litigated constitutional challenges to government surveillance in federal district and appellate courts.