NYPD Baffled By Tech Advances Like Laptops And WiFi

from the with-great-power-comes-a-whole-lot-of-complaining dept

It's over. The tech kids have won. Shut down the NYPD's counterterrorism unit and brace yourselves for a crimewave of Biblical proportions.
Tech-savvy anarchists ran rings around the NYPD during last week’s Ferguson-related protests — and cops are now on edge over what the renegades may be able to pull off after a ruling in the Eric Garner case.
The overt message is that the NYPD can't keep up with decentralized opposition. That's right on top. The underlying message is that the NYPD still hasn't stopped sending its uninvited officers to various locales to gather intelligence/annoy the locals/rack up per diem charges.

Yes. The NYPD sent detectives to gather intel at the Ferguson protests. These are the takeaways from the NYPD's bumptious interlopers. The NYPD can't stop anything. Protesters are "running rings" around the technologically inept force -- one of the largest and most highly-trained in the nation.

Cue the whining:
A “technology gap” … favors the activists, many of whom have the newest electronic gear, sources said.

“A lot of these anarchists are from the Occupy Wall Street group. They are little rich kids, little techie brats,’’ a source said.

“They get their money from Mommy and Daddy. And they travel from the West Coast to the East Coast and everywhere in between to disrupt events that involve corporate America, world summits, civil rights and especially those that involve law enforcement.”

“They have their little MacBook Air computers, their Wi-Fi, their smartphones, and they’re off to the races. We’re reacting to these situations, which means we are not fully in control of them,” the source said.
Can you feel the resentment? These cops (all unnamed) hate the fact that they're being outwitted by a class of people they obviously feel superior to. There's no "technology gap" here. The cops have laptops, WiFi, smartphones and access to the same social media services. It's just that one group knows how use these tools to coordinate efforts -- and it isn't the group with millions of dollars and years of training behind them.

If this is how easily the nation's top police department is tripped up by "new" tech like Airbooks and WiFi, it should just call it a day and disband its (mostly self-) touted counterterrorism unit, as Marcy Wheeler points out.
If I were a NYC taxpayer, I’d call for the CT squad to be shut down right away. Partly because of the insubordination in the face of people peacefully protesting. But just as significantly, because of this claimed helplessness in the face of a far easier target than they’re ostensibly paid to pursue.
Or maybe give the NYPD the benefit of the doubt. Surely, it can adapt to meet the challenges of this connected era? The unnamed officers state their concern about possible (now definite) protests following the grand jury's decision in Eric Garner's death at the hands of a plainclothes police officer (spoiler alert: no indictment), but they have a finely-honed plan in place to disrupt the disrupters.
“We’re expecting strong reaction and demonstrations when the decision comes down,” one source said.

Another source said: “The cops on standby will be in riot gear. That means helmets and sticks.”
If you can't beat 'em, beat 'em.

Filed Under: nypd, police, protestors, technology

Reader Comments

The First Word

Subscribe: RSS

View by: Time | Thread

  1. icon
    Mason Wheeler (profile), 4 Dec 2014 @ 3:13pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

    They succeeded in their primary goal: to get air their issue to the public and start a national discussion. On this count, they were wildly successful. A whole lot of the conversations and debates that have taken place (and continue) since then would not have occurred if Occupy didn't do it's thing.

    Again, [citation needed] here. All that work has been done by well-organized activist groups that existed long before Occupy.

    Also, they continue their work to this day in an arguably more effective manner: by providing support and outreach to disadvantaged people, so their accomplishments continue to accumulate.

    ...such as?

    The one thing I saw out of them that was actually getting some truly useful, effective results was the Rolling Jubilee project... and for some inexplicable reason they shuttered it at the end of last year!

    Given the extreme reaction that the Powers That Be had to them, and given the high amount of effort that the government put into trying to destroy them, being "disorganized" was pretty much the only thing that allowed them to accomplish anything at all.

    You accuse me of spouting nonsense and then go and say a thing like this?

    Try telling Martin Luther King that bit of political philosophy! That's not how it works, not in the least. An organization with a competent leader can respond to political persecution and turn it into an asset, use it to strengthen their cause. That was the great secret of the Civil Rights movement: the thing that caused them to be so successful was all the opposition, and the movement's leaders' skillful use of it to bring people together and portray their opposition in the media as the inhuman monsters they were being.

    But that's only possible when you've got an established system to coordinate things. Otherwise, when the pressure's on, everyone goes their own way and it dissolves into anarchy and uselessness, which is precisely what we saw with the Occupy movement.

Add Your Comment

Have a Techdirt Account? Sign in now. Want one? Register here

Subscribe to the Techdirt Daily newsletter

Comment Options:

  • Use markdown. Use plain text.
  • Remember name/email/url (set a cookie)

Follow Techdirt
Techdirt Gear
Shop Now: Copying Is Not Theft
Report this ad  |  Hide Techdirt ads
Essential Reading
Techdirt Deals
Report this ad  |  Hide Techdirt ads
Techdirt Insider Chat
Report this ad  |  Hide Techdirt ads
Recent Stories
Report this ad  |  Hide Techdirt ads


Email This

This feature is only available to registered users. Register or sign in to use it.