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Sandro Rosell
FC Barcelona President
Monday, September 25, 2017

On Sunday June 18th, the NYPD’s counterterror chief fervently contested a city council bill entitled the Public Oversight of Surveillance Technology Act. The proposed bill would force the police department to disclose its surveillance methods and other crucial secrets it utilizes to track and hinder terror plots. “It would be a law that would endanger people because it would help criminals and terrorists,” said Commissioner John Miller, referring to the bill. “It would endanger police officers because it would allow criminals to learn way too much, way too easily.”

The bill was set forth by councilmembers Dan Garodnick of Manhattan and Vanessa Gibson of the Bronx. “Civilians are in control of the police force — not the reverse,” Garodnick said. “We need to be able to understand what tools the NYPD has and how it uses them to ensure public trust in our criminal justice system.”

If passed, the New York Police Department would be required to publish “impact and use” reports exposing the types of spy equipment police use, and information regarding how the department safeguards the private information collected. Use of equipment such as license-plate readers, cellphone trackers and X-ray vans utilized to look through walls are just a few which will needs be revealed. As reported by the NY Post, the bill will in essence be giving potential attackers the NYPD’s strategic approach and instructing them on how to outsmart cops. “This legislation would create an effective blueprint for those seeking to do harm,” said Miller.

The New York Civil Liberties Union is also suing in an attempt to coerce police to reveal crime and terror-fighting information. Fifteen council members have signed on as co-sponsors for the bill. Still, even Mayor de Blasio believes the legislation is too liberal. “This bill is a shortsighted overreach that would make New Yorkers less safe. We’re not about to hand over a roadmap for terrorists and criminals to avoid legal and well-established investigative techniques,” said the mayor’s spokesman, Austin Finan. The negative attention the initiative received led Garodnick to concede to the committee that he would be willing to revise the bill with more feedback from the NYPD.

By:   Shmuel Rachelov