Surveillance by Other Agencies
Surveillance is not just the province of the National Security Agency or CIA—it is now conducted by a broad array of federal and state agencies.
The FBI is collecting racial and ethnic information and “mapping” minority American communities around the country based on crude stereotypes about which groups commit different types of crimes. The Transportation Security Association (TSA) employs thousands of “behavior detection officers” who scan passengers in the screening areas of airports for signs of deception or “mal-intent”—a program that the government’s own watchdog has concluded is based on junk science and is a waste of money. Law enforcement agencies nationwide gather reports from government agencies and the public on innocent Americans’ so-called “suspicious activities” and share them with unknown numbers of federal, state, and local government agencies.
The ACLU is pushing back against this rising tide of surveillance through litigation, Freedom of Information Act requests, advocacy for meaningful oversight, and campaigns to raise public awareness about unlawful and discriminatory government surveillance. Unchecked spying on Americans not only invades their privacy but also floods law enforcement agencies with useless information on innocent activity, making their jobs harder. It makes us neither safe nor free.