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POLICE SURVEILLANCE

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Throughout the 1950s and 1960s, local police departments were notorious for spying on and harassing political activists. Often dubbed Red Squads, many of these police units were disbanded in the 1970s and 1980s through the efforts of civil rights advocates and others.

But according to new research, the units are making a comeback. New technologies, new laws and increased interaction among federal, state and local law enforcement agencies are threatening not only to put Red Squads back in business nationwide, but to dramatically increase the scope and power of these units.

Guests:
• Mitzi Waltz, a Portland, Oregon-based journalist who covers the intersection of technology, politics and social issues. She authored a long article in the summer issue of Covert Action Quarterly on the resurgence of police surveillance called Policing Activists: Think Global, Spy Local.
• Frank Wilkinson, the executive director of the National Committee Against Repressive Legislation, a civil liberties group based in Los Angeles, California. He has been the subject of covert surveillance since 1955 and his group has actively campaigned against increasing police surveillance powers.

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