It’s common to assume nothing can be done to roll back mass surveillance. Truth is, every technology operates within a set of political assumptions about what can and cannot be done with it. Little by little, we can change those assumptions.
Three weeks ago, we caught the Boston Regional Intelligence Center trying to sneak $2.25m for “technology upgrades and integration” into the state budget. Our members started calling Ways and Means legislators, arguing that this would be throwing good money after bad. BRIC uses technology to repress peaceful journalists and protesters; why should they get a cent?
A little surprised at this pushback, legislators reduced the $2.25m to $792,669.
Here’s the exact language from H. 3829, the budget that just passed:
“8000-1001 For the Boston Regional Intelligence Center to upgrade, expand, and integrate technology and protocols related to anti-terrorism, anti-crime, anti-gang, and emergency response; provided that intelligence developed shall be shared with the BRIC communities and other State municipal and federal agencies as necessary; provided further, that BRIC shall provide technology required to access the intelligence with its municipal partners, the State police, the MBTA, the Mass Port Authority, and appropriate federal agencies to assure maximum interagency collaboration for public safety and homeland security…………………………………..…………………………..$792,669”
With this reduction, we just saved MA taxpayers $1.45m. And BRIC is, from now on, on notice that their funding requests will not be smooth sailing.
If you like that we did this, consider donating to Digital Fourth / Restore The Fourth Boston, joining our listserv, coming to our Wednesday 12pm meetings at Voltage Coffee & Art, or attending our monthly evening group (next meeting Sunday, November 1, at Summer Shack).