Tell the Detroit City Council: Say No to Unchecked Government Surveillance

Tell the Detroit City Council to Pass the Community Input Over Government Surveillance Ordinance

People who live, work, or spend time in Detroit have the right to privacy. They have a right to go about their daily lives without being watched like criminal suspects. They also have the right to a say in whether their money is spent on more technology or other things that truly keep our city safer, like job creation, education, physical and mental health services and transportation. But right now, the people have no say when it comes to money spent on government surveillance. The people, and even their elected council members, are given little information and even less say over if and how surveillance technologies are used to spy on our communities. The Community Input Over Government Surveillance (CIOGS) ordinance, if passed, will empower the people of Detroit with the right to know what surveillance technologies are being purchased, how they are used, and whether those technologies may go too far.

CIOGS is a good-government transparency bill. It sets up discussions down the road about what surveillance techs will and will not be allowed. For right now, it is just about giving the public and their representatives basic (non-top secret) information and letting them have a say.

Surveillance technologies do not prevent crime. What they do is allow the government to disproportionately target vulnerable communities and treat everyone who lives and works in the city like they are a threat to public safety. CIOGS empowers the people. It empowers them to say no to funding surveillance technologies, so we can invest in real, community-based programs and resources that have a real, lasting, and positive effect on reducing crime. And if Detroiters want to approve a surveillance technology, it empowers them and their council members to condition funding on the creation of use policies that protect the public and keep everyone safe.

It’s time Detroiters have the power to watch over those who are trying to watch over them. Join us and call on the Detroit City Council to pass the Community Input Over Government Surveillance (CIOGS) ordinance.

Message Recipients:
Detroit City Council Members

People should have the power to say no to surveillance.
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Your Message
Dear City Council Member,

As a resident of Detroit, I am concerned that government surveillance is being used, unchecked, to spy on me and my community by the City Council who represents us. The incident involving Mr. Robert Williams is a glaring example of the dangers of facial recognition technology. His wrongful arrest, which traumatized his two young daughters, was because of a face recognition program that matches faces against driver’s license pictures. A computer said the image of another Black man might be him, but that man looked nothing like him.

Please pass the Community Input Over Government Surveillance (CIOGS) ordinance so that Detroiters can trust that if or when surveillance technologies are purchased or used in our city, it’s used on our terms. Pass CIOGS to stop another wrongful arrest and detention from happening again, like the damage that is already done to Mr. Williams and his family.


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