Legal Aid Society


LAS Demands Investigation Into NYPD Surveillance Technology Rollout

The Legal Aid Society is calling for an investigation into the rollout of recent New York Police Department (NYPD) surveillance technologies that violated the Police Oversight of Surveillance Technology (POST) Act, as reported by Politico.

The POST Act increases the transparency and oversight over the NYPD’s use of new surveillance technologies and information sharing networks by requiring the department to disclose basic information about these tools and the safeguards in place to protect the privacy and civil liberties of New Yorkers. It requires the NYPD to propose and publish an impact and use policies on the department’s website “at least 90 days prior to the use of any new surveillance technology.” The public then “shall have 45 days to submit comments on such policy” to the NYPD Commissioner.

On April 11, 2023, the NYPD announced new surveillance technologies it would start using immediately, including a K5 autonomous security robot, Boston Dynamics’ robotic DigiDog, and StarChase GPS tracking guns. Other recently announced technologies include a digital fingerprint scanning technology and a new “augmented reality” technology available on some NYPD officers’ phones.

“The NYPD introduced five new technologies in 2023 in clear violation of the POST Act,” said Shane Ferro, an attorney with the Digital Forensics Unit at The Legal Aid Society. “These technologies were not introduced 90 days before they went into use, and no 45-day public comment period was offered.”

“There are many open questions about the rules governing these new technologies’ use, the oversight of these technologies, and the impact they will have on communities,” he continued. “This is a clear violation of both the letter and the intent of existing law, and we urge the NYPD-OIG to conduct an immediate investigation to hold the police department to their legal obligations.”