Privacy SOS

Tax payer funds supporting massive, corporate controlled surveillance regime in Lower Manhattan

The Occupy Wall Street movement is being monitored by an army of private security contractors working for precisely those financial firms targeted by the anti-corruption protests. Counterpunch's Pam Martens points out that the Lower Manhattan Security Initiative — the subject of much consternation, numerous lawsuits and gallons of spilled ink at the NYCLU — is made up of private spooks paid by the likes of Goldman Sachs and Citigroup, outnumbering actual police officers. The office is the kind of spy center you see on cop shows, replete with feeds from over 3,000 surveillance cameras in the area (at least 2,000 of which are privately owned), license plate trackers, and coming soon, face recognition. 

Who really owns the NYPD? Who do those officers really serve? As Martens points out, much to the NYCLU's chagrin, no public hearings on this center and the massive expenditure of public funds it required were ever held. But even if they had been?

Had a public hearing been held on this massive surveillance sweep of Manhattan by potential felons, hopefully someone might have pondered  what was to prevent Wall Street from tracking its employee whistleblowers heading off to the FBI offices or meeting with a reporter. One puzzle has at least been solved.  Wall Street’s criminals have not been indicted or sent to jail because they have effectively become the police.

© 2021 ACLU of Massachusetts.