Civil Liberties Criminal Justice Main Topic Surveillance

12/13: Testify against funding BRIC, surveillance tech & militarized policing

West Midlands CT Police Department Creative Commons

On Monday, Dec. 13, at 1pm, the Boston Public Safety and Criminal Justice committee will consider whether to “accept and expend the amount of Thirteen Million Five Hundred Twenty Thousand Dollars ($13,520,000.00) in the form of a grant for the Federal FY21 Urban Areas Security Initiative, awarded by the United States Department of Homeland Security“. This funding includes:

  • $2,828,000 for funding the Boston Regional Information Center (BRIC) so often used to keep tabs on or surpressing peaceful protesters;
  • $850,000 for regional training and exercises. It isn’t clear what the training or exercises will focus on, but it can be expected to focus on militarized police activities and not on deescalation and peaceful police-citizen interactions;
  • $695,000 for SWAT team regional funding. More for militarized policing;
  • $315,000 for “Gunshot Detection”, which is presumably a “ShotSpotter” contract. ShotSpotter has recently been been found to falsify “shot” reports at the prompting of police and useless surveillance technology;
  • $168,000 for “BriefCam,” software the processes surveillance camera recordins, and makes it searchable. BPD’s use of this software  likely conflicts with the City’s ban on the use of facial recognition software;
  • $10,000 for a regional automated license plate reader (ALPR) system.

Boston previously rejected $850,000 in state funding for BRIC and it can reject this money as well.

Written testimony may be sent to the Committee email or to Michelle A. Goldberg and will be made a part of the record and available to all Councilors. Members of the public wishing to testify virtually via videoconference should email Michelle A. Goldberg for a link and instructions for how to do so.

The hearing will be streamed at: and broadcast on Xfinity 8/RCN 82/Fios 964.

Thanks to Digital Fourth for bringing this hearing to our attention.

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