Send a Message to the Detroit City Council: Say No to Unchecked Government Surveillance

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

People who live, work, or spend time in Detroit have the right to privacy. We should have a right to go about our daily lives without being watched like criminal suspects. We should also have the right to a say in whether our money is spent on surveillance or on things that truly increase public safety, like job creation, education, physical and mental health services and reliable transportation. Right now, the people of Detroit and their representatives have little knowledge or 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 might be purchased, how they would be used, who they would be targeting, and whether those technologies go too far. Most importantly, CIOGS would give the people and their council members the right to say no.

Numerous studies have confirmed that surveillance technologies do not prevent crime. Not surprisingly, while Detroit has spent millions on surveillance cameras, flawed facial recognition software, and expanding its surveillance infrastructure, it has not seen a corresponding improvement in safety. CIOGS gives Detroiters a real say over whether and to what extent our tax dollars continue to fund surveillance technologies, or whether we invest more into community-based resources that have a real, lasting, and positive effect on reducing crime and improving lives. And if Detroiters want to approve a surveillance technology, CIOGS 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 had the power to watch over those who are trying to watch over them.

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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