Legal Aid Society


LAS: NYPD Has Spent $3 Billion in Secret Surveillance Contracts

The Surveillance Technology Oversight Project (S.T.O.P.), a New York-based privacy group, and The Legal Aid Society condemned the NYPD’s purchase of nearly $3 billion in secret surveillance equipment that had previously been hidden from the public, as reported by the New York Daily News.

The expanded set of contracts, more than $2.5 billion than previously reported, include more than $400 million spent in recent years on the Domain Awareness System, the opaque surveillance system that collects tens of thousands of camera feeds from around the city.

In 2020 the City Council passed a law requiring the NYPD to fully explain any surveillance contract, but they have failed to meet that law’s disclosure requirements. Documents produced by the police department often list things generally and are sometimes heavily redacted.

“The more we learn about the NYPD’s surveillance budget, the clearer it becomes that the money would be better allocated to the many underfunded resources New Yorkers need,” said Jerome Greco, Supervising Attorney of The Legal Aid Society’s Digital Forensics Unit “It is unsurprising that the NYPD exerted so much effort to keep this information from the public.”