Amazon have admitted providing the police with user footage from its Ring camera doorbell product, displaying the increased collaboration between big tech and police agencies. This, as we know the FBI have secured thousands of deals thousands of deals with Google, Amazon, Microsoft, Dell, IBM and Hewlett Packard.
The more than 1.4 billion people living in China are constantly watched. They are recorded by police cameras that are everywhere, on street corners and subway ceilings, in hotel lobbies and apartment buildings. Their phones are tracked, their purchases are monitored, and their online chats are censored.
Now, even their future is under surveillance.
The latest generation of technology digs through the vast amounts of data collected on their daily activities to find patterns and aberrations, promising to predict crimes or protests before they happen. They target potential troublemakers in the eyes of the Chinese government — not only those with a criminal past but also vulnerable groups, including ethnic minorities, migrant workers and those with a history of mental illness.
They can warn the police if a victim of a fraud tries to travel to Beijing to petition the government for payment or a drug user makes too many calls to the same number. They can signal officers each time a person with a history of mental illness gets near a school.
It takes extensive evasive maneuvers to avoid the digital tripwires. In the past, Zhang Yuqiao, a 74-year-old man who has been petitioning the government for most of his adult life, could simply stay off the main highways to dodge the authorities and make his way to Beijing to fight for compensation over the torture of his parents during the Cultural Revolution. Now, he turns off his phones, pays in cash and buys multiple train tickets to false destinations.
While largely unproven, the new Chinese technologies, detailed in procurement and other documents reviewed by The New York Times, further extend the boundaries of social and political controls and integrate them ever deeper into people’s lives. At their most basic, they justify suffocating surveillance and violate privacy, while in the extreme they risk automating systemic discrimination and political repression.
For the government, social stability is paramount and any threat to it must be eliminated. During his decade as China’s top leader, Xi Jinping has hardened and centralized the security state, unleashing techno-authoritarian policies to quell ethnic unrest in the western region of Xinjiang and enforce some of the world’s most severe coronavirus lockdowns. The space for dissent, always limited, is rapidly disappearing.
“Big data should be used as an engine to power the innovative development of public security work and a new growth point for nurturing combat capabilities,” Mr. Xi said in 2019 at a national public security work meeting.
The algorithms, which would prove controversial in other countries, are often trumpeted as triumphs.
In 2020, the authorities in southern China denied a woman’s request to move to Hong Kong to be with her husband after software alerted them that the marriage was suspicious, the local police reported. An ensuing investigation revealed that the two were not often in the same place at the same time and had not spent the Spring Festival holiday together. The police concluded that the marriage had been faked to obtain a migration permit.
The same year in northern China, an automated alert about a man’s frequent entry into a residential compound with different companions prompted the police to investigate. They discovered that he was a part of a pyramid scheme, according to state media.
The details of these emerging security technologies are described in police research papers, surveillance contractor patents and presentations, as well as hundreds of public procurement documents reviewed and confirmed by The Times. Many of the procurement documents were shared by ChinaFile, an online magazine published by the Asia Society, which has systematically gathered years of records on government websites. Another set, describing software bought by the authorities in the port city of Tianjin to stop petitioners from going to neighboring Beijing, was provided by IPVM, a surveillance industry publication.
China’s Ministry of Public Security did not respond to requests for comment faxed to its headquarters in Beijing and six local departments across the country.
The new approach to surveillance is partly based on data-driven policing software from the United States and Europe, technology that rights groups say has encoded racism into decisions like which neighborhoods are most heavily policed and which prisoners get parole. China takes it to the extreme, tapping nationwide reservoirs of data that allow the police to operate with opacity and impunity.
Often people don’t know they’re being watched. The police face little outside scrutiny of the effectiveness of the technology or the actions they prompt. The Chinese authorities require no warrants to collect personal information.
At the most bleeding edge, the systems raise perennial science-fiction conundrums: How is it possible to know the future has been accurately predicted if the police intervene before it happens?
Even when the software fails to deduce human behavior, it can be considered successful since the surveillance itself inhibits unrest and crime, experts say.
“This is an invisible cage of technology imposed on society,” said Maya Wang, a senior China researcher with Human Rights Watch, “the disproportionate brunt of it being felt by groups of people that are already severely discriminated against in Chinese society.”‘Nowhere to Hide’
In 2017, one of China’s best-known entrepreneurs had a bold vision for the future: a computer system that could predict crimes.
The entrepreneur, Yin Qi, who founded Megvii, an artificial intelligence start-up, told Chinese state media that the surveillance system could give the police a search engine for crime, analyzing huge amounts of video footage to intuit patterns and warn the authorities about suspicious behavior. He explained that if cameras detected a person spending too much time at a train station, the system could flag a possible pickpocket.
“It would be scary if there were actually people watching behind the camera, but behind it is a system,” Mr. Yin said. “It’s like the search engine we use every day to surf the internet — it’s very neutral. It’s supposed to be a benevolent thing.”
He added that with such surveillance, “the bad guys have nowhere to hide.”
Five years later, his vision is slowly becoming reality. Internal Megvii presentations reviewed by The Times show how the start-up’s products assemble full digital dossiers for the police.
“Build a multidimensional database that stores faces, photos, cars, cases and incident records,” reads a description of one product, called “intelligent search.” The software analyzes the data to “dig out ordinary people who seem innocent” to “stifle illegal acts in the cradle.”
A Megvii spokesman said in an emailed statement that the company was committed to the responsible development of artificial intelligence, and that it was concerned about making life more safe and convenient and “not about monitoring any particular group or individual.”
Similar technologies are already being put into use. In 2022, the police in Tianjin bought software made by a Megvii competitor, Hikvision, that aims to predict protests. The system collects data on legions of Chinese petitioners, a general term in China that describes people who try to file complaints about local officials with higher authorities.
It then scores petitioners on the likelihood that they will travel to Beijing. In the future, the data will be used to train machine-learning models, according to a procurement document.
Local officials want to prevent such trips to avoid political embarrassment or exposure of wrongdoing. And the central government doesn’t want groups of disgruntled citizens gathering in the capital.
A Hikvision representative declined to comment on the system.
Under Mr. Xi, official efforts to control petitioners have grown increasingly invasive. Zekun Wang, a 32-year-old member of a group that for years sought redress over a real estate fraud, said the authorities in 2017 had intercepted fellow petitioners in Shanghai before they could even buy tickets to Beijing. He suspected that the authorities were watching their communications on the social media app WeChat.
The Hikvision system in Tianjin, which is run in cooperation with the police in nearby Beijing and Hebei Province, is more sophisticated.
The platform analyzes individuals’ likelihood to petition based on their social and family relationships, past trips and personal situations, according to the procurement document. It helps the police create a profile of each, with fields for officers to describe the temperament of the protester, including “paranoid,” “meticulous” and “short tempered.”
Many people who petition do so over government mishandling of a tragic accident or neglect in the case — all of which goes into the algorithm. “Increase a person’s early-warning risk level if they have low social status or went through a major tragedy,” reads the procurement document.
When the police in Zhouning, a rural county in Fujian Province, bought a new set of 439 cameras in 2018, they listed coordinates where each would go. Some hung above intersections and others near schools, according to a procurement document.
Nine were installed outside the homes of people with something in common: mental illness.
While some software tries to use data to uncover new threats, a more common type is based on the preconceived notions of the police. In over a hundred procurement documents reviewed by The Times, the surveillance targeted blacklists of “key persons.”
These people, according to some of the procurement documents, included those with mental illness, convicted criminals, fugitives, drug users, petitioners, suspected terrorists, political agitators and threats to social stability. Other systems targeted migrant workers, idle youths (teenagers without school or a job), ethnic minorities, foreigners and those infected with H.I.V.
The authorities decide who goes on the lists, and there is often no process to notify people when they do. Once individuals are in a database, they are rarely removed, said experts, who worried that the new technologies reinforce disparities within China, imposing surveillance on the least fortunate parts of its population.
In many cases the software goes further than simply targeting a population, allowing the authorities to set up digital tripwires that indicate a possible threat. In one Megvii presentation detailing a rival product by Yitu, the system’s interface allowed the police to devise their own early warnings.
With a simple fill-in-the-blank menu, the police can base alarms on specific parameters, including where a blacklisted person appears, when the person moves around, whether he or she meets with other blacklisted people and the frequency of certain activities. The police could set the system to send a warning each time two people with a history of drug use check into the same hotel or when four people with a history of protest enter the same park.
Yitu did not respond to emailed requests for comment.
In 2020 in the city of Nanning, the police bought software that could look for “more than three key people checking into the same or nearby hotels” and “a drug user calling a new out-of-town number frequently,” according to a bidding document. In Yangshuo, a tourist town famous for its otherworldly karst mountains, the authorities bought a system to alert them if a foreigner without a work permit spent too much time hanging around foreign-language schools or bars, an apparent effort to catch people overstaying their visas or working illegally.
In Shanghai, one party-run publication described how the authorities used software to identify those who exceeded normal water and electricity use. The system would send a “digital whistle” to the police when it found suspicious consumption patterns.
The tactic was likely designed to detect migrant workers, who often live together in close quarters to save money. In some places, the police consider them an elusive, and often impoverished, group who can bring crime into communities.
The automated alerts don’t result in the same level of police response. Often, the police give priority to warnings that point to political problems, like protests or other threats to social stability, said Suzanne E. Scoggins, a professor at Clark University who studies China’s policing.
At times, the police have stated outright the need to profile people. “Through the application of big data, we paint a picture of people and give them labels with different attributes,” Li Wei, a researcher at China’s national police university, said in a 2016 speech. “For those who receive one or more types of labels, we infer their identities and behavior, and then carry out targeted pre-emptive security measures.”
Toward Techno Totalitarianism
Mr. Zhang first started petitioning the government for compensation over the torture of his family during the Cultural Revolution. He has since petitioned over what he says is police targeting of his family.
As China has built out its techno-authoritarian tools, he has had to use spy movie tactics to circumvent surveillance that, he said, has become “high tech and Nazified.”
Surveillance cameras within 100 meters of Zhang Yuqiao’s home. There are no cameras in other places in his village, he said.Credit…Zhang Yuqiao
When he traveled to Beijing in January from his village in Shandong Province, he turned off his phone and paid for transportation in cash to minimize his digital footprint. He bought train tickets to the wrong destination to foil police tracking. He hired private drivers to get around checkpoints where his identification card would set off an alarm.
The system in Tianjin has a special feature for people like him who have “a certain awareness of anti-reconnaissance” and regularly change vehicles to evade detection, according to the police procurement document.
Whether or not he triggered the system, Mr. Zhang has noticed a change. Whenever he turns off his phone, he said, officers show up at his house to check that he hasn’t left on a new trip to Beijing.
Even if police systems cannot accurately predict behavior, the authorities may consider them successful because of the threat, said Noam Yuchtman, an economics professor at the London School of Economics who has studied the impact of surveillance in China.
“In a context where there isn’t real political accountability,” having a surveillance system that frequently sends police officers “can work pretty well” at discouraging unrest, he said.
Once the metrics are set and the warnings are triggered, police officers have little flexibility, centralizing control. They are evaluated for their responsiveness to automated alarms and effectiveness at preventing protests, according to experts and public police reports.
The technology has encoded power imbalances. Some bidding documents refer to a “red list” of people whom the surveillance system must ignore.
One national procurement document said the function was for “people who need privacy protection or V.I.P. protection.” Another, from Guangdong Province, got more specific, stipulating that the red list was for government officials.
Mr. Zhang expressed frustration at the ways technology had cut off those in political power from regular people.
“The authorities do not seriously solve problems but do whatever it takes to silence the people who raise the problems,” he said. “This is a big step backward for society.”
Mr. Zhang said that he still believed in the power of technology to do good, but that in the wrong hands it could be a “scourge and a shackle.”
“In the past if you left your home and took to the countryside, all roads led to Beijing,” he said. “Now, the entire country is a net.”
John Smyly, a former Boulder Colorado Police officer detains a man, Zayde Atkinson with no RAS. When he refuses to ID the way the cop wants him to, John Smyly escalates the situation. He tries to make his victim sit like a dog, for no reason other than to assert dominance over him. When Zayde Atkinson refuses, Smyly threatens to tase him. When Zayde continues to refuse to be John Smyly’s b****, Smyly brandished a fire arm to try to further intimidate his victim into compliance. The man he tried to bully and intimidate, Zayde Atkinson, NEVER gave in. Smyly was allowed to resign, and is likely working for another department at this time. If you know what department Smyly is working it, please email that information to firstname.lastname@example.org, so I can publicly publish that information, warning potential new victims.
ID Refusal by Boulder Colorado man, Zayde Atkinson results in threats and officer John Smyly brandishing a fire arm.
I remember this video when it first released these cops are just so utterly pathetic it’s disgusting and it really isn’t going to stop until we stand up and physically defend ourselves
Why was he allowed to resign? Should have been stripped of all official credentials. And then jailed for up to ten years.I’ve seen this video maybe six times at this point since it was originally released and the more times I watch it the more absurd it becomes. This video is a perfect example where you could be minding your business not breaking any law and even going out of your way above and beyond to placate a psycho in a costume and still almost become a murder victim on the street by that psycho in a costume.And they wonder why people hate the police.There isn’t any manner you can perform any action in this country that LE can’t twist into something suspicious.They keep asking him to “sit down” as in their eyes that’s him submitting to them and they win their sick mind games.Even the cop apologists think the police are terrorists… They say, if you obey and submit then you will prevent the violence that is otherwise guaranteed.>> Rapist mentality. See what you made me do?When a cop knows he is being unlawful but continues the lie anywayThis cop Escalated that whole situation!What is most scary is that, to become a judge takes between 8/10 years training, it takes between 6/8 years to become a lawyer. But it only takes around 6 months to become a LEO’s. This in itself is just crazy, how can a LEO’s understand law & enforce such law with minimum training is beggars belief. It’s like getting children being in charge to educate adults in how to be an adult. It’s a system that is programed to fail. Crazy world hey.What is most scary is that, to become a judge takes between 8/10 years training, it takes between 6/8 years to become a lawyer. But it only takes around 6 months to become a LEO’s. This in itself is just crazy, how can a LEO’s understand law & enforce such law with minimum training is beggars belief. It’s like getting children being in charge to educate adults in how to be an adult. It’s a system that is programed to fail. Crazy world hey.They should be handing out deadly buckets and ‘garbage picker-uppers’ to officers.“Sorry, you cleaning up trash at is suspicious behavior. We need to treat you like a threat now” – Police 2022Even “if” he was trespassing on private property he was picking up trash on private property… Um that’s a good thing right?!I didn’t realize that he gave him an ID with his name….he still escalated this situation?!What people don’t understand that these type of interactions happen more often then people think. James keep up your good work and fight for liberty and justice and to keep cops in check. 🇺🇸Wow the Ego just doesn’t stop with this cop. I’m proud of how this man handled the unwelcome invasion of government on HIS property. 👍🏼“All you have to do is comply”. Sounds familiar “……once compliance becomes part of the culture” – Boston Mayor Michelle WuOldie but a goodie, Almost certainly got picked up by another departmentThat got my blood boiling. Hats off to this guy for refusing to sit like an obedient dog!This guy was awesome the way he stood up for his rights. Imagine how many people get violated by police because they don’t know their rights or are just afraid. Always film police!!And a half dozen cops with itchy-fingers surround him waiting for an excuse to gun him down, and frightening what law enforcement has evolved to and they wonder why targets are on their backs now.Tasers are a training tool, much like the collar on your puppy… it speaks a universal language of, “do what I say, or you’re gonna get zapped again until you learn”,…. Understandably there are instances when it’s ABSOLUTELY necessary for such activities. “Get on the ground because I said so”, probably isn’t one of those,……
I was just gonna say the same thing! The bootlickers that “just comply” and don’t know there rights are the reason we are in the situation we are now.And just think, this is just “1” instance of this kind of abuse brought to light. Gotta wonder how many events like this end very differently because somebody refuses to comply with an “unlawful” order by a uniformed bully with a badge. This event should have been career ending for psycho shoat!It’s called harassing people just because he wants to prove the point he’s wrongCops remind me of terrible poker players. They bet too big, too early with an extraordinarily weak hand and get pot committed to where they must go all in in with no chance of winning. It’s also hilarious at 18:25 how the cop sneaks up on the bucket and the grabber like it’s actually a dangerous item“We see you out here picking up trash and that’s clearly a sign of a hardened criminal.”I can’t remember how many times I’ve watched this… but each and every time I’m left with a definite fact: This college student is a Psychology Major!!! It’s confirmed each and every time he asks the officer, “and how do you feel about that?”There’s a far more dangerous cop running around Colorado. His name is Chris Dickey and he’s cost taxpayers over $1,000,000 in lawsuits (He and his partner murdered a suicidal veteran having a PTSD episode, he and his partner severely beat a motorist who had a diabetic episode and crashed, he deployed a taser on a protester on public property who didn’t ID) and I believe he’s a deputy in Grand County.100% ego!!! The fact that he can’t let it go even when told to by his supervisor means he WILL KILL SOMEONE one-day. Count on it.They know he’s no threat but they are obsessed with getting him to sit down as they see that as him submitting.I’ve seem this video so many times, I can literally say every word they say in unison. Thing is , even after all those views, all those channels, I STILL find it one of the most telling videos on there right now. It shows broken police policies and behaviors. How they can turn anything Into a weapon, a crime, constitutional violation, and the other cops question nothing. The fact ONLY one officer was fired is Insane. He was the sacrifice, but all the others went with it. If it wasn’t for the bodycam, witnesses, and cameras on the cops, that kid would have been beaten , razed, or even shot. Ridiculous, every one of them should be fired and charged.I’ve already watched this video and a few other similar ones, so I think it’s advisable for people to carry the documentation of their properties or lease contracts under their arm or they risk being arrested for trespassing in their own home. How can there be a trespassing crime without the owner requesting it??????????????????Notice that as soon as the other cops arrive the trash grabber changes from “weapon” to “object”, he knew he was being an absurd liar.Wow that crazy story he tells his manager is insane. Guy it’s all on camera.There was absolutely no reason for this cop to even speak to this guy.Notice how he described the grabbed as “sort of a blunt object”. That’s the games these thugs play.According to the Boulder County Sheriff’s Office, Smyly was hired in January on a two-year term position as a civilian training and development coordinator in the sheriff’s computer support unit. As of 9 22 20 Boulder Daily CameraThese trash grabbers are so common officer tyrant knows exactly what he’s holding.COP= Control Obsessed PsychoPro active policing …? What interaction about this footage was positive? ~ I wonder if this cop still to this day thinks what he did was lawful and if he has any regrets?my favorite part is the jump in logic that not only someone must be trespassing if he thinks they are, but that a trespasser showed up to pick up trash illegally.Accusation before investigation! Guilty before proven innocent! How much training is needed to understand the mistakes in these two statements?“He was sitting around, milling about with a metal thing and banging it on another thing near a no trespassing sign” ..”your partner just confirmed he lives here”.. ” I dont know who he is”. The copsplaining is insane here. “We cant even talk unless you are in the sitting position i commanded you to take, even though this entire encounter is unlawful from the start and I already had confirmation of the info I obtained on unlawful premises”. Further sad was the citizen telling this victim to chill out.The cop could have easily went inside and investigated but it’s easier for them to intimidate someone into a confession. It’s to expensive for most people to afford a lawyer so they plea or confess. The plea or confession also prevents civil action, thus reinforcing the officers actions.Hey isn’t it cute how the state will show up on your property and Surround you and point their guns at you while claiming you are a threat but if you do it to them while being armed only with your first amendment they claim it’s insurgence or disturbing the peaceThis is an insane abuse of power. This cop has probably always “felt threatened” in his life. Should have never been a cop.“This officer was ready to kill me sir” a powerful statement indubitably. 👏That police officer should not have been allowed to resign, he should have been fired and charged for his crimes, but the thin blue line protected him.James don’t forget it’s the “day and age we live in” that’s the cousin to the”you got id”. That shit is highly addictive, hopefully in the future it’ll wipes out every pig and piglet suffering from this addiction.Love this man’s courage to stand up for his rights, every cop on this call should be fired for not insisting that this pig stop this completely illegal detainment also he lied about what he observed right from the get goI’ve seen this one before. This guy was great. He had the guts to back down eight cops with their guns drawn. It’s so important to let cops know their power is limited. They aren’t kings who can do what ever they please.I’ve seen this before and it’s infuriating. This is called, “being within sight of a cop while black“. This cop should do jail time. I counted six cops there surrounding this lawful citizen and not one had the decency to tell that POS ENOUGH. They are all sick and when you are in contact with one, no matter what the situation, your life is in danger. Only dangerous, sick people seek the job of a cop. I won’t change my mind about how unstable cops are until they LEAVE people who are not breaking the law alone. I think I’ll be waiting a long time.I remember watching this video when it first came out. Watching it again pissed me off just as much. Who is this cop who thinks he can go around asking Americans if they belong on any property when there was no 911 call. He’s totally on an ego trip. Guy with a stick was never close enough to him to be justified in shooting him. IdiotI love how the young man vehemently stood up for himself. I hope these officers hear his voice on repeat every time they fuck up. “How do feel? How do feel now? How do feel about that?”i love how he just twisted a lil bit of the details to his encounter with him… was so butt hurt he couldn’t get his DOB and make him sit on the ground like a dogWhy tf would their cameras ever have a mute button? Or right , the game is riggedIn defense of an officer please refer to these Redcoats as Redcoats or other demeaning terms of authoritarian revenue collectors!I wonder how a cop would feel if the person he was confronting gave a call and people start emerging from all round, surround the cop? It is downright creepy how they do this. What is worse is that no-one questions or clarifies the call out.I’ve seen this ….. blatent harassment …. ego driven , the nerve to call the garbage tool a weapon !!! …..“He had a metal object stabbing, I didn’t know if he was damaging something. ….then I noticed it is used to pick up trash ….then he picked up the metal object again “ His lies are SO EASILY detectable! 😣😣😣As much as I appreciate the time and effort and activism…I really can’t watch to many more of these vids without pulling my hair out . Needs to be something done about it other then just an awareness . Before certain entities start getting splattered .That young man is a REAL American, standing up for his rights!!I remember seeing this the day it was originally uploaded.. Boulder and Denver cops still haven’t changed. Shit is sad.I love when a cop says “subject is failing to comply “it almost like cops think citizens are slaves to them..!!!My favorite line is when the victim says that the cop had his gun out and the cop says “it wasn’t even pointed at you” as if that makes it all OKQualified IMPUNITY on display!* According to a news article* “Smyly resigned prior to the conclusion of the disciplinary process, but police indicated the process would have likely resulted in suspension or termination. As part of a settlement with the city, Smyly remained under city employment until February as he exhausted accrued holiday, sick and administrative leave. According to the Boulder County Sheriff’s Office, Smyly was hired in January on a two-year term position as a civilian training and development coordinator in the sheriff’s computer support unit.” Be careful that he is not hired again with the police dept. when this 2 year temp job is finished.You very accurately indicated the Crucible method of policing… They make the citizen try to prove their innocenceAll channels of this type constantly say, “cops dont know the law,” and things like that…. This is not true, cops do know at least the basics. Some just choose to constantly do the wrong thing because they have no consequences.I remember this video. The ego on Smyly was out of control. Zane should have made Smyly hand him his bucket and trash picker upper. The fact that Smyly wouldn’t give the ID back after his supervisor told him to was insane. The fact this egomaniac is in another department and still terrorizing other citizens is scary. Agree 100% cops should not be allowed to mute thier BWC for a certain time before, during an interaction, and a certain point of time after. I can’t remember for sure but I think Zane (the guy harassed by Smyly) did sue. Would be nice if Smyly had to apologize and pay some sort of damage out of his own pocket. This whole interaction was disturbing.I remember this video a long time ago,with over 1 million views…This officer is upset because Mr Atkinson refused to listen to unlawful orderThe victim had 2 weapons, common sense and a brain. Both lethal to today’s cops.When dirty cops are not held accountable. We The people will hold them accountable. One way or anotherThe danger in calling backup for a noncompliant man with a weapon… If he did get hurt or killed as a consequence he’d make excuses and blame the victimImagine telling a dude that is cleaning dirt in front of a building that he is trespassing. Like, do people just go to other peoples property and clean their trash??I never understood why this officer harasses this citizen… we also know had the guy given his name, the officer would have wanted to “pat him down”. What’s worse is once they knew he lived there they should have left right then and there.Apart from the fact that he has no legal obligation to identify, having his name in a database is not a good idea. If he is stopped in the future and his name ran, he will come under greater scrutiny having been checked for a “crime” previously. This can, at the least cost him his time or give them time to find a crime.When I see someone picking up trash at daytime, with earphones on, I immediately think “This guy’s looking to rob the place for sure”.If this is how this thug acts at work just imagine if he has a spouse, kids, or a pet and what they might go through.This is the 3rd or 4th time ive seen this video. Thankfully the citizen wasn’t hurt. It shows so many aspects of poor policing. No crime was reported. No crime committed. Muting of bodycam. Escalation by police officer. Its really quite sad.How can any of the other deputies be taken seriously after this? I would look at them and laugh.I wouldn’t be surprised if the young man switched his major so he could become a civil rights attorney.If I were a cop, which will never happen, and I were one of the policemen that later showed up, I would’ve had the courage to speak up and say, “This is stupid let’s leave this guy alone”, but none of them have the backbone to do so.You should have demanded he surrender his certification as part of the settlement, I guarantee he is still doing this kind of behavior and has already corrupted another department!18:26 Officer Sneaky creeping up on the bucket and claw like it was a Western Brown snake and he was fixin’ to wrangle it. Instead he committed a fourth amendment violation by seizing the man’s property.20:43 If you haven’t figured it out yet Smyly, you have shown that you are a) incompetent, and b) not at all capable of figuring this situation out, and never will.23:19 No, Smyly, you did not “contact him”. There was no touching between you and the man whom you trespassed upon.The officer initial officer tells the sergeant I recognize it’s a device to pick up trash but then a sentence later he says picks up the object because the officer realized he f*** up when he said the guy had a weapon. He just admitted to the sergeant that prior to him making the call for back up he knew that it was a device to pick up trash. No wonder the guy got firedAnyone want to know what a police state looks like? Watch this video again… This confrontation was a “near death” experience.This video is still really frustrating to watch. “I didn’t even point my gun at you sir!” The fuck? Let’s see your reaction when someone brandishes a hand gun!This cop thinks he’s the hero we deserve and without his intervention the city would crumble. James Madison audits just posted a video with officer Velez. Velez has the same hero complex and it’s just a matter of time before he pulls some crazy shit like smylyThe officer says he has a gun in his hand because you’re not listening, I didn’t know guns were hearing devices.THE COP HAD NO BUSINESS ASKING HIM ANYTHING. He gave him the apartment. Number already a long time ago.No this officer didn’t get the privilege of going to a new department, BLM made great changes to policing in America with those billions of dollars they raised. For example, BLM changed who and how settlements we’re paid, who and how cops are investigated, cops that violate rights lose their pension. There’s a whole slew of things BLM changed with all that money and destruction.Anybody ever see how flimsy those grabber things are?If he quit which he did it allows him to still be rehired by another agency or the next city overIf he quit which he did it allows him to still be rehired by another agency or the next city over
NSA whistleblower Edward Snowden and Pulitzer Prize-winning journalists Glenn Greenwald and Chris Hedges discuss mass surveillance, government secrecy, Internet freedom and U.S. attempts to extradite and prosecute Wikileaks founder Julian Assange. They spoke together on a panel moderated by Amy Goodman at the virtual War on Terror film festival after a screening of “Citizenfour” — the Oscar-winning documentary about Snowden by Laura Poitras.
Holding police accountable requires defending the First Amendment right to put them on camera. This is why Philip Turner, known on YouTube as The Battousai, fought to solidify that right in Turner v. Driver, a 2017 case decided by the US Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit. However, a shocking video shows Texas police ignoring the law, detaining Turner, and confiscating his video equipment. What the officers didn’t realize is that the case law resulting from the Turner v. Driver decision not only protects citizens’ right to film the police, but was named after the very man whose rights they were violating!
I am 69 years old and we got arrested for nothing back in the day ,.also it was always the cops word they accepted.
I am so happy you young people are so smart and doing this for all of us. It’s a beautiful thing.Thank You
>> I’m 70 and know what you mean. Orange county in the late 60s was like that.
When the officer said”The law doesn’t matter.” , That implies that he knew what the law was and proceed to break it.
Isn’t it obvious why these cops, law enforcement officials, court personnel, etc don’t want you to record them on a video? It’s because they are consistently doing something that violates our laws and moral standards.
It seems to me that if cops are to ‘enforce’ laws…wouldn’t they need to know the law?
Imagine how polite and law abiding cops would be when they would be personally accountable for their actions.
This guy is a bigger hero than most cops these days.
Notice how the cops turned their backs on Philip the moment they had his body cam in hand. They were more concerned with the camera than they were with Philip. Odd.
the most incredulous (funniest, even) part of philip’s encounter in corrigan, texas, is that he explained the law to them, stated the case of turner v. driver, and then told those officers that HE WAS the TURNER that the case is named for. and they arrested him anyway. just how dumb do you have to be to be an officer in corrigan, texas?
It is respectful for a police officer to remove sunglasses when talking to a member of the public in an official capacity, unless you want to try intimidating and hide your sincerity towards them
As the NSA and GCHQ hail the 75th anniversary of their alliance, successive presidents refuse to pardon #EdwardSwowden and a growing number of convicted whistleblowers. Were they traitors to their country, or is there another reason?
A Brexit ultra and profound reactionary, the eccentric MP is a strong contender to be the next prime minister. How dangerous is he?
Jacob Rees-Mogg calls it “God’s own country” – that swathe of rural Somerset south of Bath and Bristol where he was raised, and that he now represents in parliament. It is easy to see why the Tory backbencher, who conceivably could become prime minister before too long, loves it so much. When not in his Mayfair town house, or dwelling in some glorious imagined past, he, his wife and their six young children live in Gournay Court, a splendid 400-year-old mansion in the picturesque village of West Harptree at the foot of the Mendip Hills.
A short drive down the Chew River valley in one of his two vintage Bentleys, along narrow lanes flanked by neat hedgerows and pretty stone cottages, takes him back to Hinton Blewett, where he grew up in the Old Rectory with views across rolling farmland. A few miles beyond that is Ston Easton Park, an imposing Georgian pile with landscaped grounds that is now a luxury hotel. There, young Jacob – fourth of the five children of William Rees-Mogg, the distinguished former editor of the Times – spent the earliest years of his life, and was taught the Catholic catechism by his governess.
This is the storybook England of great estates, farms and elegant villages clustered around ancient, steepled churches. Here, the young Rees-Mogg was marinated from birth in English history and tradition. And now, aged 48, he would doubtless consider himself the embodiment of traditional English values.
He has never been seen (except perhaps by his wife) in anything other than a suit and tie. He speaks in sonorous Edwardian English and is unfailingly courteous. To be born British, he says, is “to win first prize in the lottery of life”. Not long ago he asked the House of Commons: “What greater pleasure can there be for a true-born Englishman [than] to listen to our national anthem… to listen to those words that link us to our sovereign who is part of that chain that takes us back to our immemorial history.” The Economist recently described him as “the blue passport in human form, the red telephone box made flesh, the Royal Yacht Britannia in a pinstripe suit”.
But Rees-Mogg’s many foes insist his values are those of a zealot, not those of modern Britain such as moderation, tolerance, inclusivity and compassion for the needy. His critics like him as a person and enjoy his intelligence, humour and self-deprecation, but contend that his old-school charm and civility mask extreme, doctrinaire positions not just on Brexit, but on almost every other social and economic issue including abortion, welfare and climate change. Rees-Mogg certainly has no time for “One Nation” or “compassionate” Conservatism, or for the “modernising” project begun by David Cameron. He unashamedly champions what he calls “full-blooded Toryism”. He has gained a passionate following among young Tories for whom – in an age of technocratic career politicians – the fact he is a character with strong beliefs appears more important than what those beliefs may be. But older, more centrist members of the party are appalled.
“You would only elect him leader of the Conservative Party if you didn’t want to win an election ever again,” one grandee and former cabinet minister told me.
“I couldn’t stay in a party led by somebody like him,” said Anna Soubry, the prominent backbench Remainer, earlier this month. Heidi Allen, another Conservative MP, has said the same, adding: “He’s not the modern face of the Tory party I and colleagues are desperate to prove is out there.”
Matthew Parris, the commentator and former Tory MP, was even blunter in the Times: “For the 21st-century Conservative Party Jacob Rees-Mogg would be pure hemlock. His manners are perfumed but his opinions are poison. Rees-Mogg is quite simply an unfailing, unbending, unrelenting reactionary.”
Rees-Mogg declined the New Statesman’s requests for an interview for this profile, citing a lack of time. However, he did find time last year for an hour-long podcast interview with Breitbart, the ultra-right-wing US website that helped to propel Donald Trump into the White House. Host James Delingpole introduced Rees-Mogg as his “most exciting guest ever” and “the sexiest thing from a right-wing perspective in British politics”. Rees-Mogg, an early supporter of Trump, also found time before Christmas to meet Steve Bannon, the US president’s former chief ideologue, in a Mayfair hotel. Raheem Kassam, the former Ukip luminary who brokered the meeting, said “the discussions focused on how we move forward with winning for the conservative movements on both sides of the pond”.
It may not be his fault, but Rees-Mogg has led a relentlessly privileged life. He spent his early years as a pupil at Westminster Under School, which educates boys aged seven to 13. While there, he played the stock markets using a £50 inheritance from a relative, standing up at the General Electric Company’s annual meeting and castigating a board – that included his father – for the firm’s “pathetic” dividend. A contemporary newspaper photograph showed the precocious 12-year-old solemnly reading the Financial Times beside his teddy bears.
He proceeded, inevitably, to Eton, and from there to Trinity College, Oxford, to read history. An ardent young Thatcherite who had imbibed Euroscepticism at his father’s knee, he became president of the university’s Conservative Association, debated at the Oxford Union, and would nip down to London to help out at Conservative Central Office. He had his own telephone installed in his college room. He incurred mockery for suggesting students should wear a “full morning suit”, and embraced the mortarboard – “I do so like to cycle around Oxford with it on.” One former student who knew him at university called him a “ghastly snob”. After graduating, he worked briefly for the Rothschild investment bank. He then spent three years with Lloyd George Investment in Hong Kong, before returning to London to run some of that firm’s emerging market funds. Surprisingly, since Rees-Mogg so passionately supports the reckless gamble with the British economy that is Brexit, a recent FT investigation described him as a cautious investor whose performance was “less than stellar”.
In 2007, Rees-Mogg and several colleagues left Lloyd George to set up Somerset Capital Management – one source of his estimated £100m personal fortune. Another source is his wife, Helena, the only child of the former Tory MP Somerset de Chair and Lady Juliet Tadgell, an heiress and former Marchioness of Bristol who is said to be worth £45m. Rees-Mogg met Helena while campaigning for a referendum on the EU constitution. He proposed in front of one of the half-dozen Van Dyck paintings that hang in her family’s stately home, Bourne Park in Kent. They were married in 2007 before 650 guests in Canterbury Cathedral, the archbishop having authorised a Tridentine mass in ecclesiastical Latin in light of Rees-Mogg’s fervent Catholicism. The couple now have six children aged between seven months and ten, all bearing the names of Catholic popes and saints. Following the birth of Sixtus last July, Rees-Mogg admitted he had never changed a nappy, adding: “Nanny does it brilliantly.”
The first recorded instance of him mingling at length with common folk came when he was selected, somewhat improbably, as the Conservative candidate for Central Fife in 1997. He toured council estates with the aforementioned nanny, Veronica Crook, in tow (she was his nanny, too, before looking after his children). Something was lost in translation, however, for Rees-Mogg came a distant third, securing just 3,669 votes. “The number of voters in my favour dropped as soon as I opened my mouth,” he said.
Four years later, Rees-Mogg stood again, this time in The Wrekin in Shropshire. He came second with 38 per cent of the vote, down 2 per cent on the Tories’ performance in 1997, despite a small uptick in the party’s national vote. Thereafter, the Kensington and Chelsea Conservatives rejected him for “lacking the common touch”, but he was eventually selected as the Tory candidate in his native North East Somerset, despite opposition from the party leadership. Cameron allegedly felt Rees-Mogg’s exceedingly patrician mien would undermine his efforts to modernise the party. The then Tory leader certainly encouraged Rees-Mogg’s sister, Annunziata, the party’s unsuccessful 2010 candidate in neighbouring Somerset and Frome, to shorten her name on the campaign trail to Nancy Mogg, but she refused.
Jacob Rees-Mogg was elected to parliament in 2010, with a majority of 4,914 that he has since doubled. He and his family spend about three weekends a month in the constituency. He responds to constituents by letter, not email, because – an aide told me – “he thinks people should get their own personally signed reply”. Even his political opponents concede that he is a diligent constituency MP, though they question his ability to understand the less affluent.
“I’ve always found him very polite. He obviously cares about his family,” said Robin Moss, Labour’s candidate in the constituency last year. “But he hasn’t the remotest idea of what it’s like to live on Universal Credit or be homeless. He’s never put his hand in his pocket and realised there’s nothing there.”
At first, Rees-Mogg was regarded in Westminster as a colourful, eccentric and entertaining MP, but hardly leadership material. He broke the record for the longest word uttered in the Commons chamber with “floccinaucinihilipilification” (the action or habit of estimating something as worthless). He called for Somerset to be allowed to set its own time zone, as it could before all British times were harmonised in the 1840s. He suggested council officials wear bowler hats to identify themselves as “thorough-going bureaucrats”. He joined the all-party parliamentary group for historic vehicles. He wore a top hat to Margaret Thatcher’s funeral. In one interview, “the honourable member for the 18th century” struggled to name a single pop group, and he began appearing on Have I Got News for You as some sort of amusing relic from the age of Downton Abbey.
Occasionally, he went too far. In 2013 he addressed a dinner of the Traditional Britain Group, which favoured the voluntary repatriation of black immigrants. That was “clearly a mistake”, he admitted. He also angered his party leadership by supporting an electoral arrangement with Ukip ahead of the 2015 general election.
But it was the 2016 EU referendum that raised his stature from that of a backbench ornament. Rees-Mogg campaigned vigorously for Leave, and has continued to fight for the hardest, purest form of Brexit ever since. In the wake of Theresa May’s insipid general election performance in 2017, he was seized on by young Conservatives desperate for a bold, colourful leader to take on Jeremy Corbyn – and so, the personality cult of “Moggmentum” was launched. (He joined Instagram and Twitter around the same time.) To persuade him to run for leader, two young activists, Anne Sutherland and Sam Frost, set up an online petition – “Ready for Rees-Mogg” – that now has more than 41,000 signatories, making it the biggest right-leaning campaign group in Britain. “We have a bunch of very, very boring people at the top of the Conservative Party, so someone who’s a bit different and not a classic cookie-cutter Tory minister is very exciting,” Frost told me.
Rees-Mogg’s rise continued. In September 2017 he emerged as the most popular potential leader in a monthly poll of more than 1,300 Tory members run by the website ConservativeHome, and has remained top in nearly every survey since. In October, he was the star of the party conference in Manchester, addressing packed fringe meetings while the main hall was half-empty. He has become something of a media celebrity, and gained a valuable new platform in January when he was elected chairman of the European Research Group, a cabal of 30 to 60 ultra-Brexiteer Tory MPs recently described by Peter Wilby in this magazine as “more of a party within a party than [Labour’s] Momentum”.
As the standard-bearer of the “swivel-eyed” brigade, he exerts relentless pressure to prevent May backsliding as she negotiates Britain’s departure from the EU. He speaks out when her red lines “are beginning to look a little bit pink”. He rejects any deal that would turn Britain into a “vassal state” or amount to “Brino” (an acronym for “Brexit in name only”). He objects to the negotiations becoming a “damage limitation exercise”, or to any suggestion that Brussels is dictating to Britain. He wants the UK out of the single market and customs union, even if that means crashing out of the EU without a deal. He is admired by Ukip supporters and is Nigel Farage’s preferred choice as the next Conservative leader.
In much the same way that Trump trashes the FBI to discredit its investigation of his Russian links, Rees-Mogg recently accused the Treasury of “fiddling the figures” to exaggerate the economic damage of Brexit. “He’s theologically opposed to having policy driven by evidence and facts, insisting that anyone who disagrees must be lying or relying on false information,” one former Tory minister complained. But Rees-Mogg has uncompromising views that extend far beyond Brexit. He opposes the 1998 Human Rights Act, gay marriage and all abortion, even in cases of rape and incest – though he insists he would not seek to re-criminalise it. “I take my whip from the hierarchy of the Roman Catholic Church rather than the Whips’ Office,” he says.
He believes that “you alleviate poverty by trickle-down economics” or what some might call “sink-or-swim”. To that end, according to the website TheyWorkForYou, he has voted against a “mansion tax” on homes costing more than £2m, a bankers’ bonus tax, and tax increases for those earning more than £150,000. He has voted in favour of reductions in corporation and capital gains taxes, as well as greater regulation of trade unions.
Rees-Mogg has opposed increases in welfare benefits, even for the disabled – “the safety net [has] become a trap”, he contends. He supports zero-hours contracts, arguing that they benefit both employers and employees. He backed the controversial “bedroom tax” on council tenants deemed to be living in properties larger than they needed, and caused anger last autumn by appearing to welcome the fast-growing number of food banks. “To have charitable support given by people voluntarily to support their fellow citizens I think is rather uplifting and shows what a good, compassionate country we are,” he told LBC radio. Rees-Mogg is also a climate change sceptic who opposes costly measures to reduce greenhouse gases. “Even if the greens are right, Britain will make very little difference on her own,” he said. “I would rather my constituents were warm and prosperous than cold and impoverished as we are overtaken by emerging markets who understandably put people before polar bears.”
And so the list goes on. He opposes foreign aid because “this is not the job of the government but ought to be a matter of private charity”. He regards fox hunting as “the most humane way of controlling the fox population”. He supports the sale of state-owned forests, the mass surveillance of communications on security grounds, and restrictions on legal aid. He opposes any more devolution of powers to Scotland and Wales.
He wants tougher immigration and asylum rules, and is no fan of positive discrimination. In 2006, he resisted Cameron’s efforts to increase the number of Conservative parliamentary candidates from ethnic minorities. “Ninety-five per cent of this country is white,” he said. “The list can’t be totally different from the country at large.”
“He had these sort of views when he was eight or nine. To still have them when he’s 48 seems to me to be pushing it a bit,” Chris Patten, the former Tory chairman, fellow Catholic and old friend of Rees-Mogg’s family, told me. “I don’t think they
have very much relevance to Britain’s problems in the 21st century, and the idea he could lead his party in this century is completely absurd.”
On the face of it, the idea is indeed absurd. Rees-Mogg has never held ministerial office (nor had Cameron when he became prime minister, but he had spent four years as leader of the opposition before forming a government in coalition with the Liberal Democrats). Except for his indisputable charm, Rees-Mogg comes across as a cartoon caricature of a Tory right-winger, and the ultimate toff in what is supposed to be a modern, egalitarian country. How he would play in Swansea, Sunderland or Stoke is anyone’s guess, for he seldom visits such places. Moreover, Rees-Mogg denies any interest in replacing May. If he threw his hat into the ring it would be thrown straight back at him, he protests. He has six young children, he adds.
And yet it might happen. “Yes it’s fanciful, but it’s not impossible,” says Paul Goodman, the former MP who edits ConservativeHome.
Few take Rees-Mogg’s protestations of disinterest seriously. As an 11-year-old he declared his intention to be “a millionaire by 20, a multi-millionaire by 40 and prime minister by 70”. He is now the bookies’ clear favourite as well as ConservativeHome’s frontrunner. He is speaking regularly at universities. “I’m absolutely sure he will stand,” a friend of his told me.
Rees-Mogg’s challenge will be to persuade the right of the parliamentary party to select him, rather than a cabinet-level Brexiteer, as one of the two candidates to be presented to the party membership.
He would be their riskiest choice, and Graham Brady, chairman of the 1922 Committee of Tory backbenchers, doubts he would prevail. “It’s one thing for a lot of members of the public, or the party, to think it’s great fun and admire him for never mincing his words and speaking 18th century English,” he told young activists in an unguarded moment at University College London in January. “It’s another to see that translating to being the prime minister and connecting with the whole of the country. So, no, I don’t see it happening.”
However, Rees-Mogg is a polished public performer and is untainted by last summer’s disastrous election. He has more charisma than Michael Gove, none of Boris Johnson’s personal baggage, and a substantial following among young Conservatives and those older, pro-Brexit party members who will have the final say. “In the end he’s a bit of a radical punt for his colleagues, but if he gets in the last two he will win,” said one supporter who follows the party’s internal machinations closely. Whether Rees-Mogg could win over the wider electorate is a moot point. He might prefer the fountain pen, but he is increasingly adept at social media. Supporters believe voters would warm to a politician who gives straight answers, who is funny and engaging, and whom they see as sincere and authentic even if they disagree with his views. They point to the equally improbable rise of Corbyn.
But the Jacobite rising faces fierce opposition. Late last week, Rees-Mogg was greeted by two separate sets of protesters when he arrived for a debate at the Cambridge Union – EU supporters and gay rights activists. “I never entertained the idea I’d see a politician like him so close to power. That’s absolutely terrifying for the future of this country,” Jessamyn Starr, one of the former, said. “He stands for bigotry and intolerance,” said Matt Kite, organiser of the LGBT “Kiss-in for Rees-Mogg”. “We won’t stand for people like him being wined and dined and applauded when his words have real consequences for people like us.”
Inside, Rees-Mogg was at ease in his dinner jacket. He spoke eloquently and humorously in support of the motion: “This house believes no deal is better than a bad deal.” He failed to address the consequences of “no deal”, but again dismissed the Treasury’s dire economic forecasts – “if you believe those you’ll frankly believe anything” – and castigated the EU for proposing that mobility scooters be insured. “Do we really want to make our elderly people zooming around on those marvellous mobility scooters pay an extra fee over which we have no say?” he asked.
But it was the passionate response of Rees-Mogg’s fellow Conservative MP, Nicky Morgan, the former education secretary, that stole the show. For her, the debate was no game. She tore into Rees-Mogg’s Brexiteer allies for labelling pro-Remain MPs “saboteurs”, and judges “enemies of the people”. She spelled out the catastrophic consequences of Britain leaving the EU without a deal. “Who does want ‘no deal’?” she asked, before providing her own answer: “Those who wish this country ill and want to destabilise it. Those who want us to be a minimal tax, minimal regulation [country]. And those political ideologues who are so caught up in the majesty of Brexit that they have forgotten who loses out – including the little old lady on her mobility scooter – because our economy can’t look after the elderly properly.” The packed chamber burst into applause. Rees-Mogg looked a little shaken. The motion was lost.