Such pledges are hardly enough to convince Albert Fox Cahn, founder and executive director of the Surveillance Technology Oversight Project at New York’s Urban Justice Center, who likens the initial wave of enthusiasm about contact tracing technology to the unsupported theory that hydroxychloroquine represented some sort of miracle cure.
"The protocols described by the facial identification policy are quite broad and are still open to rampant abuse," said Albert Fox Cahn, founder and executive director of the Surveillance Technology Oversight Project (STOP) at the Urban Justice Center.
The NYPD has a history of police abuse, and civil rights and liberties advocates like Urban Justice Center’s Surveillance Technology Oversight Project have protested the system out of constitutional concerns, with little success to date.
“The lack of privacy protections (when it comes to contact tracing) is a nightmare but also a potential public health catastrophe,” Albert Fox Cahn, the founder and executive director of the Surveillance Technology Oversight Project at the Urban Justice Center, a civil rights and privacy advocacy group, told City & State.
The legislation earned the support of powerful allies, including the American Civil Liberties Union, the Legal Aid Society, the Brennan Center for Justice and the Urban Justice Center’s Surveillance Technology Oversight Project, or STOP, which campaigns specifically for limitations on surveillance by the NYPD.
In New York City, if contact tracing databases are added to the NYPD’s growing armory of tracking tools the consequences will be disastrous. Our over-policed communities of color—those same communities that bear the brunt of this nightmarish pandemic—will face an impossible choice: provide information or help public health, or hide information to protect loved ones from police.