We will watch the watchers.
Surveillance technology has a legitimate role in maintaining public safety, but without oversight, government spying can turn into an Orwellian nightmare. Local police have access to a mind-boggling array of surveillance equipment. As it now stands, law enforcement agencies across the country can often obtain this high-tech, extremely intrusive technology without any approval or oversight.
It remains unclear what types of surveillance equipment the Lexington Police Department and other Lexington Fayette Urban County Government agencies utilize, what types of policies they have in place governing their use, and how much oversight the city council provides.
We intend to find out.
Ultimately, we hope to push through a local ordinance requiring government agencies in Lexington to get city council approval of a detailed use plan, after a public meeting, before obtaining equipment such as stingray devices, automatic license plate readers (ALPRs) and other surveillance technology. This will take a first step toward limiting the unchecked use of surveillance technologies that violate basic privacy rights and feed into a broader national surveillance state.