LAPD personal social media data collection

Occurred: September 2021

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The Hill reports that the Los Angeles Police Department (LAPD) has been collecting the social media details of every citizen it interviews, including people who have not been not arrested or accused of a crime.

Thousands of documents obtained by non-profit organisation The Brennan Center for Justice reveal that LAPD officers must record a civilian’s Facebook, Instagram, Twitter and other social media accounts on 'field interview cards', alongside basic biographical information.

In a memo, LAPD police chief Michael Moore says interview cards would be reviewed by supervisors to ensure they are complete, so that tey could later be used in 'investigations, arrests, and prosecutions'.

The findings raise concerns about civil rights and mass surveillance without justification, as well as potential privacy abuse. The LAPD told the Guardian that the field interview card policy was being updated, but 'declined to provide further details.'

The documents only came to light after the LAPD had refused to hand over documents in a records request filed by The Brennan Center and was sued.

Operator: Los Angeles Police Department (LAPD)
Developer: Geofeedia; Dataminr
Country: USA
Sector: Govt - police
Purpose: Monitor individuals
Technology: Social media monitoring
Issue: Surveillance
Transparency: Governance; Legal

Page info
Type: Incident
Published: September 2021
Last updated: March 2022