In a new report published Thursday, the New York Office of the Inspector General for the New York Police Department (OIG-NYPD) said the New York Police Department violated the 2020 Public Oversight of Surveillance Technology (POST) Act, which required the NYPD to publicly disclose surveillance technology.
The POST Act was signed into law by then-New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio and required the NYPD to disclose information about its current and future surveillance technologies and how it wants to use them.
In the report, the OIG-NYPD said that NYPD was not in compliance with the POST Act orders to publish Impact and Use Policies (IUPs) for existing surveillance tech 180 days after the Act was signed and new IUPs at least 90 days before the use of any new surveillance tech.
The IUPs were supposed to “describe the capabilities of surveillance technology, and include any rules, processes, and guidelines that regulate access to or use of the technology, and any prohibitions or restrictions on its use, and any potential disparate impacts,” according to the report.
But, the OIG-NYPD said that the 36 IUPs NYPD published after the Act was signed were general and not detailed, leaving the OIG-NYPD unable to conduct an audit and assess whether NYPD’s use of surveillance devices complies with its IUPs and report any suspected violations.
“OIG-NYPD found that NYPD grouped related technologies and issued a single IUP for multiple technologies,” the report said. “This approach significantly limits the information made available to the public concerning the nature and use of individual technologies … It is OIG-NYPD’s position that the POST Act does in fact require an IUP for each surveillance technology. NYPD’s interpretation, which allows grouping of several technologies under a single IUP, is contrary to the intent of the POST Act.”
The report also detailed what recommendations from the OIG-NYPD that the NYPD implemented regarding the POST Act and other policing issues. The OIG-NYPD sent 15 recommendations to NYPD for POST Act-related items, and NYPD rejected 14 of them. The only recommendation NYPD is considering is whether police should release a press release when it make a new IUP for a new technology, which is available for public comment under the law.
Among the recommendations the OIG-NYPD says the NYPD rejected were reports on the “potential disparate impacts on protected groups of the use and deployment of surveillance technology,” disclosing what external agencies the NYPD shared data with, and two relating to how it used and audited its facial recognition technology.
“The NYPD continues to make clear that they don’t care what the law says,” said Surveillance Technology Oversight Project (S.T.O.P.) Executive Director Albert Fox Cahn in a press release. “This report helps support what advocates have said for years: that the NYPD is violating the POST Act.”
S.T.O.P. released a report in October 2021 detailing NYPD’s failures to comply with the POST Act, and said at the time that “NYPD falls far short of the reporting norms set by other police departments subject to similar surveillance technology oversight laws.”
The NYPD did not respond to a request for comment from the Daily Dot.