High-Tech Policing

April 21, 2017 • Volume 27, Issue 15
Are new surveillance technologies effective and legal?
By Barbara Mantel



Balko, Radley , Rise of the Warrior Cop: The Militarization of America's Police Forces , PublicAffairs, 2013. An investigative journalist examines the militarization of U.S. police agencies' growing reliance on technology.

Friedman, Barry , Unwarranted: Policing Without Permission , Farrar, Straus and Giroux, 2017. A New York University law professor describes how the public can regain control over policing.

Parenti, Christian , The Soft Cage: Surveillance in America From Slavery to the War on Terror , Basic Books, 2004. A sociologist traces the long history of police and corporate surveillance of Americans.


Beebe, Drew , “Since January, police have been testing an aerial surveillance system adapted from the surge in Iraq. And they neglected to tell the public,” Bloomberg Businessweek, Aug. 23, 2016, Baltimore police secretly tested aerial surveillance cameras after riots broke out in the Freddie Gray case.

Chammah, Maurice , “Policing the Future,” The Marshall Project, Feb. 3, 2016, A journalist rides along with a police officer who is using software that forecasts crime hot spots.

Hurowitz, Noah , “NYPD Blasts Surveillance Transparency Bill as a Boon to ‘Terrorists,’” DNAinfo, March 2, 2017, The New York City Police Department says a City Council bill to provide oversight of surveillance technology would play into the hands of terrorists.

Long, Colleen , “NYPD plans 23,000 body cams. Number on streets now: 0,” The Associated Press, Feb. 11, 2017, New York City police plan to put a body camera on every patrol officer by 2019.

Timberg, Craig, and Elizabeth Dwoskin , “Facebook, Twitter and Instagram sent feeds that helped police track minorities in Ferguson and Baltimore, report says,” The Washington Post, Oct. 11, 2016, Police reportedly have used social media-monitoring software to track minorities and activists.

Reports and Studies

“Implementing a Body-Worn Camera Program: Recommendations and Lessons Learned,” Police Executive Research Forum, U.S. Department of Justice, 2014, A police research organization compiles best practices on police use of body cameras.

Ariel, Barak, et al., “Report: increases in police use of force in the presence of body-worn cameras are driven by officer discretion: a protocol-based subgroup analysis of ten randomized experiments,” Journal of Experimental Criminology, May 17, 2016, British researchers conclude that use of force increases when police are given more discretion over body camera use.

Garvie, Clare, et al., “The Perpetual Line-Up: Unregulated Police Face Recognition in America,” Center on Privacy & Technology at Georgetown Law, Oct. 18, 2016, Researchers find that a quarter of police departments use facial-recognition technology and urge Congress to regulate it.

Hunt, Priscilla, et al., “Evaluation of the Shreveport Predictive Policing Experiment,” RAND Corp., 2014, RAND researchers tested predictive policing software in Louisiana and say it comes up short.

Joh, Elizabeth , “The Undue Influence of Surveillance Technology Companies on Policing,” New York University Law Review, forthcoming, A University of California, Davis, law professor argues that vendors of surveillance technology exert too much control over policing.

Levinson-Waldman, Rachel , “Hiding in Plain Sight: A Fourth Amendment Framework for Analyzing Government Surveillance in Public,” Emory Law Journal, March 2017, p. p. 528, A civil liberties advocate proposes a framework for protecting privacy rights in an era of public surveillance.

Lum, Cynthia, et al., “Existing and Ongoing Body Worn Camera Research: Knowledge Gaps and Opportunities,” George Mason University, 2015, George Mason University researchers review body camera studies and conclude more research is needed.

Ozer, Nicole , “Police use of social media surveillance software is escalating, and activists are in the digital crosshairs,” ACLU of Northern CA, Sept. 22, 2016, The ACLU of Northern California finds that some California police departments are using social media monitoring software without oversight from elected officials.

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Document APA Citation — See Alternate Citation Style
Mantel, B. (2017, April 21). High-tech policing. CQ researcher, 27, 337-360. Retrieved from
Document ID: cqresrre2017042109
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