State Cops Accidentally Out Their Surveillance Of Anti-Police Groups With Browser Screenshot
from the 'intel-techniques,'-indeed dept
A little opsec goes a long way. The Massachusetts State Police — one of the most secretive law enforcement agencies in the nation — gave readers of its Twitter feed a free look at the First Amendment-protected activities it keeps tabs on… by uploading a screenshot showing its browser bookmarks.
Alex Press of Jacobin Magazine was one of the Twitter users to catch the inadvertent exposure of MSP operations.
the MA staties just unintentionally tweeted a photo that shows their bookmarks include a whole number of Boston’s left-wing orgs https://t.co/KsmiQPj9sT
— Alex Press (@alexnpress) September 13, 2018
If you can’t read/see the tweet, it says:
the MA staties just unintentionally tweeted a photo that shows their bookmarks include a whole number of Boston’s left-wing orgs
The tweet was quickly scrubbed by the MSP, but not before other Twitter users had grabbed screenshots. Some of the activist groups bookmarked by the state police include Mass. Action Against Police Brutality, the Coalition to Organize and Mobilize Boston Against Trump, and Resistance Calendar.
Here’s a closer look at the bookmarks.
The MSP did not deny they keep (browser) tabs on protest organizations. Instead, it attempted to portray this screen of left-leaning bookmarks as some sort of non-partisan, non-cop-centric attempt to keep the community safe by being forewarned and forearmed.
We have a responsibility to know about all large public gatherings of any type and by any group, regardless of their purpose and position, for public safety reasons.
Ok. But mainly these groups? The ones against police brutality and the back-the-blue President? Seems a little one-sided for an “of any type and by any group” declaration.
The statement continues in the same defensive vein for a few more sentences, basically reiterating the false conceit that cops don’t take sides when it comes to activist groups and the good people of Massachusetts are lucky to have such proactive public servants at their disposal.
Whatever. If it wasn’t a big deal, the MSP wouldn’t have vanished the original tweet into the internet ether. The screenshot came from a “fusion center” — one of those DHS partnerships that results in far more rights violations and garbage “see something, say something” reports than “actionable intelligence”. Fusion centers are supposed to be focused on terrorism, not on people who don’t like police brutality or the current Commander in Chief.
What this looks like is probably what it is: police keeping tabs on people they don’t like or people who don’t like them. That’s not really what policing is about and it sure as hell doesn’t keep the community any safer.