“We oppose it strongly. We think it’s a very bad idea,” said deputy commissioner for legal matters Larry Byrne. “It would require us to disclose all sorts of confidential information about how these lawful surveillance techniques work.”
The Public Oversight of Surveillance Technology Act, introduced by Councilmembers Dan Garodnick and Vanessa Gibson, would require cops to issue a document describing the capabilities of each type of surveillance technology — like Stingrays, which track cell phone locations, license plate readers and X-ray vans that use radiation to see through walls and vehicles.
Byrne warned that information would quickly end up in the Al Qaeda-run Inspire magazine.
“We don’t believe that this bill will become law, but if we have to comply with this bill, the next issue of Inspire magazine that came out after it would be devoted to all of the technology the NYPD uses to prevent terrorist attacks — here’s how you can disable these technologies, here’s how you can avoid these technologies,” he told reporters at a Queens police precinct.
“This is a very misguided attempt, and I know of no police department or law enforcement organization or military unit in the United States that has this type of requirement imposed on them by law.”
Garodnick (D-Manhattan) dismissed the criticism as a “wildly overblown response.”
“We stand ready to engage with them when they are prepared to talk about this issue seriously,” he told the Daily News. “The NYPD always resists transparency measures. That’s not a surprise.”
The dire warnings are “just not helpful,” he said, adding the bill, supported by civil liberties groups, does not require the NYPD to disclose operational details on its technology.
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