The following statement may be attributed to ACLU of Mississippi Executive Director Jennifer Riley Collins:
“The ACLU of Mississippi understands the city of Jackson’s need to deter crime and promote public safety. However, we caution the mayor and other city officials against deploying surveillance technologies before devising a policy that ensures residents are included in the decision-making process. Residents should be given a meaningful opportunity to review and participate in all decisions about if and how surveillance technologies are acquired and used locally. The policy should also address information security and public record law compliance, as well as protect against user abuse.
“Pervasive government surveillance systems have been shown to be both ineffective and susceptible to abuse, raising serious constitutional concerns for privacy and undermining the trust with the community. The increasing use of surveillance technologies by local police can create oppressive, stigmatizing environments in which every community member is treated like a prospective criminal. Jacksonians’ public behavior could be monitored and scrutinized 24 hours a day. This surveillance threatens residents’ constitutional rights to privacy, personal autonomy, and freedom of association, creating a chilling effect on public life.
“Surveillance technologies also present significant threats to civil rights and civil liberties that disproportionately impact communities of color and low-income communities.
“The ACLU of Mississippi is willing to work as a partner with the city of Jackson to develop, draft and implement a policy, which promotes transparency and accountability and protects civil rights and civil liberties with respect to surveillance technology.”