Map: State of Surveillance in California
Are drones, license plate readers, or social media surveillance in use in your community? How much money has been spent? Was there public debate? Are there surveillance use policies to help prevent misuse?
This interactive map, based on ACLU of California research*, is designed to help you understand how your community stacks up with other California cities and counties. Use the top menu to see what technologies are being used where, then scroll over a city or county for more details about its surveillance spending and transparency and accountability measures.
Don't like what you see? Read Making Smart Decisions about Surveillance: A Guide for Communities and urge local policymakers to enact a Surveillance & Community Safety Ordinance and follow the right process each time surveillance technology is being considered.
* Methodology: Between June and November 2014, ACLU of California examined online meeting minutes and other publicly-available sources for 60 cities and all 58 counties in California, seeking evidence of physical surveillance technology in use and any related information about spending, public debate and use policies.
In July 2016, ACLU of California sent public records act requests to 63 local law enforcement agencies (as well as the statewide eCrime Unit) to try to learn similar information about social media surveillance tools. Our responses as of Sep. 21, 2016 are included on this map. In this data, “confirmed” means that the entity itself has responded to a public records request and documented the acquisition, purchase, or use of social media software. Entities that acquired and used software on a trial basis are considered “confirmed.” “Reported” means that records we received in response to our public requests mention the entity and suggest that the entity has acquired or used social media surveillance technology, but we have not received records confirming the acquisition or use of such technology directly from the entity.
The resulting data is almost certainly just the tip of the iceberg, especially since surveillance technology acquired through outside resources (such as federal government grants, police foundations or surveillance vendors) may sidestep some or all of the normal local decision-making process.
We will continue to update this map as we collect more information about surveillance in California communities. To provide additional information or correct any potential errors, please contact us at email@example.com.