The ACLU today hosted a Reddit "Ask Me Anything" chat with #BlackLivesMatter activists DeRay McKesson and Johnetta Elzie, and the ACLU's Nus Choudhury. Together, they discussed policing and police reform in America, and the surveillance of #BLM activists will impact the movement.
We've also noted an alarming trend where the activists behind #BlackLivesMatter are being monitored by DHS. To boot, cybersecurity companies like Zero Fox are doing the same to receive contracts from local governments — harkening back to the surveillance of civil rights activists in the 60's and 70's.
The conversation during the 2-hour reddit AMA was extremely compelling and highlighted a lot of sentiments surrounding the current status of the movement. Links to the AMA participant responses can be found here:
As The Intercept recently reported, hundreds of documents obtained by The Intercept through a Freedom of Information Act request confirm that the U.S. Department of Homeland Security has been monitoring the Black Lives Matter movement since anti-police protests erupted in Ferguson, Missouri last summer.
The documents, released by the Department of Homeland Security's Office of Operations Coordination, indicate that the department frequently collects information, including location data, on Black Lives Matter activities from public social media accounts, including on Facebook, Twitter, and Vine, even for events expected to be peaceful. The reports confirm social media surveillance of the protest movement and ostensibly related events in the cities of Ferguson, Baltimore, Washington, DC, and New York.