Following the acquisition of eight units of Persistent Surveillance Systems Ground–Medium (PSSG-M) for the Capitol Police, human rights advocates warn about the threat it could pose to citizens’ privacy.
The high-definition systems that the Pentagon will install were used in Afghanistan to monitor large areas day and night and increase the presence of Capitol Police across the country, according to Conservative Brief July 13.
The Capitol Police describe them as “state-of-the-art campus surveillance technology that will enhance the ability to detect and monitor threat activity.”
The accuracy achieved would allow the Biden administration to develop a “liveness pattern” analysis on citizens or whatever the target may be noted to identify, for example, those responsible for a potential attack.
According to the Washington Times, similar technology used by the Baltimore Police Department violated the Constitution’s Fourth Amendment protections, as a federal appeals court ruled in June.
Also of concern is that the Capitol Police are not subject to the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) because they are an agency of the legislative branch, which masks their use of surveillance systems.
For this reason, some critics consider the possibility that the technology will not be put to good use.
For William Owen of the Surveillance Technology Oversight Project or STOP, the integration of the technology signals an alarming advance in police surveillance.
“These so-called improvements that the Capitol Police have implemented after the insurrection represent an expansion of police power and surveillance that STOP cautioned against in January,” he said.
He added, “As awful as the events on Jan. 6 were, increased use of biased surveillance technology is never the answer.”
Separately, the U.S. Capitol Police last week announced its plan to open regional offices in California and Florida to investigate threats against members of Congress better.
According to CBS News, a Capitol Police spokesman said the field offices would have it operate more like a protective agency, like the Secret Service, rather than traditional functions.
He also announced increased information sharing with local and federal law enforcement entities and greater “collaboration with the intelligence community.”
It poses a stark contrast to the policy of Democrats who now seek the “militarization” of the Capitol Police, including riot gear the Army’s advanced surveillance electronics used against the nation’s foreign enemies.
But, last year, they complained about control in the midst of last summer’s BLM and Antifa Marxist street insurrection when 30 people were killed, and 2,000 police wounded during several months of violent disorder in more than 50 cities.
The justification is also weak since they allude to the January 6 demonstration, in which only one person was killed by a state agent, and not a single weapon was seized.
Nevertheless, the FBI arrested more than 500 participants, who have been subjected to inhumane treatment for months and still lack a fair trial.