Seattle PD Forced to Stop Secret Surveillance System
• Technology enabled broad eavesdropping without warrant
By John Friend
The Seattle Police Department (SPD) recently decided to deactivate a controversial wireless Internet network that many privacy and civil liberties advocates worried could be used to spy on and track individuals’ movements and online activities without a warrant.
According to local reports, SPD’s wireless, or Wi-Fi, Internet network was initially installed in the city using funds from a Homeland Security grant and will now be deactivated unless and until the Seattle City Council approves its use.
The wireless network was ostensibly set up for emergency services personnel, but the so-called “mesh network” would have “the ability to identify any Wi-Fi device emitting a signal within range of one of its 160 wireless access points and record its location,” wrote Kevin Fitchard for Bloomberg Businessweek. The network would be capable of tracking anyone utilizing a Wi-Fi connection in the city, according to local reports.
SPD “own[s] a piece of equipment that has tracking capabilities so we think that they should be going to City Council and presenting a protocol for the whole network that says they won’t be using it for surveillance purposes,” Jamela Debelak of the American Civil Liberties Union of Washington State (ACLU-WA) told KIRO, the local CBS-affiliated TV news station in Seattle.
Doug Honig, communications director for ACLU-WA, was quoted in other local reports as stating: “In a democratic society you should be able to move freely without law enforcement tracking your movements unless they have reason to believe you’re doing something wrong.”
Americans of all political stripes have become increasingly concerned about the rise of pervasive, un-American and unconstitutional surveillance and spying tactics used by state and local police departments across the nation, including the use of drones in surveillance and law enforcement activities. The rise and institutionalization of these draconian and tyrannical policies are largely the result of the “terrorist attacks” of 9-11, an event that has been used to not only justify the illegal wars of aggression the United States military and its North Atlantic Treaty Organization allies are currently prosecuting, but also to justify the spread of the police state, the crackdown on civil liberties and the general assault on the Constitution through legislation such as the USA PATRIOT Act.
Many of the tactics and technologies employed by police departments across America come directly from Israeli advisors and technology firms specializing in surveillance and spying technology. Naomi Klein, a Jewish-Canadian author and investigative journalist, documented in her 2007 book The Shock Doctrine: The Rise of Disaster Capitalism, that Israel revealingly geared its economy toward the homeland security and surveillance industry in the months leading up to 9-11, allowing companies connected to the Israeli military and intelligence establishment to capture the lucrative and expanding market for these technologies following their increased demand as a result of 9-11.
It is also worth noting that the Anti-Defamation League (ADL)—which readers of AMERICAN FREE PRESS recognize as an Israeli intelligence and propaganda outfit—and Israeli police and military officials, are involved with training American law enforcement officials all across the country.
The ADL specializes in training law enforcement agencies in counterterrorism and “anti-government extremism,” while Israeli police and military officials have led the way in advocating increasingly tyrannical and authoritarian tactics in dealing with law enforcement issues in America, including the Orwellian use of surveillance technologies to spy on and track U.S. citizens.
John Friend is a writer who lives in California.