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Boston police should be blocked from buying new surveillance tools

The Globe reported that the Boston police handed over at least nine people to immigration officials for deportation, abusing a loophole in the Trust Act, a law intended to protect Boston’s immigrant residents by barring local cops from getting involved in immigration enforcement (“Loophole in act a threat to immigrants,” A1, Jan. 2).

This is a clear overreach, and a perfect example of why we cannot trust the Boston Police Department with the $1.4 million worth of social-media monitoring software that they have said they intend to purchase.

Police officials have refused to commit to transparency about how they would use these new surveillance tools, which would enable them to constantly scan and analyze online activity in the area.

Boston cops have already bent the rules in order to unfairly target Boston’s immigrant communities and communities of color, and harass political activists. With Donald Trump set to take control of the federal government’s deportation program, the idea of police in our community running a mass spying dragnet is more chilling than ever.


The mayor and City Council should immediately act to block BPD from purchasing this dangerous software, which could easily be used to target Boston residents for deportation, to implement Trump’s unconstitutional Muslim registry, or worse.

Evan Greer
Jamaica Plain

The writer is the campaign director of Fight for the Future.