Massachusetts police monitors left-wing activist groups


In September 2018, when Massachusetts state police tweeted a map of responses to fires and explosions during a gas emergency, they inadvertently revealed that they were closely monitoring several activist groups, including a Facebook group for Mass Action Against Police Brutality, the Coalition to Organize and Mobilize Boston Against Trump, Facebook 413, Facebook MA Activism, and Resistance Calendar. The image was taken down and cropped after half an hour, but it spurred journalists to ask questions. A spokesman explained that the police need to know about all large public gatherings of any type but do not care about any group's beliefs or opinions. ACLU, which has been tracking police surveillance of activist groups for a decade, says this is not a new problem in Massachusetts, where Boston police used a social media surveillance system called Geofeedia to assess social media posts relating to activism between 2014 and 2016.  A 2017 bill, the Fundamental Freedoms Act, failed to pass the Massachusetts legislature in 2017-2018.

Writer: Sarah Betancourt
Publication:  Guardian

Learn more
Related learning resources