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Illegal Surveillance In Americans Homes & Devices Immediate Oversight Of Clearview AI & Similar Technologies Demanded By The McWhorter Foundation

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PALM BEACH, Fla., April 03, 2024 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- The McWhorter Foundation is issuing an urgent call to action in light of growing concerns about the invasive nature of modern luxury surveillance technologies employed by law enforcement agencies, some of which are owned or funded by wealthy individuals and private entities such as the Town Palm Beach Police Foundation. Revelations around the capabilities of these technologies to monitor individuals even within the sanctity of their own homes, & vehicles have raised alarming privacy and civil liberties implications that cannot be ignored.

Invasive Surveillance Exposed:

Recent investigations and reports have shed light on the extensive reach of surveillance technologies, including the potential for law enforcement to access cameras and data from devices in our homes, such as doorbell cameras and smart devices like cell phones & computers. These technologies can capture detailed and intimate information about our private lives​ (Brookings)​​ (Brennan Center for Justice)​. The potential for abuse and the erosion of privacy rights pose a threat to the foundational principles of freedom and trust in our society.

The use of surveillance technology, including data monitoring and facial recognition, by law enforcement has significantly expanded, raising important questions about privacy, especially within private settings. Private companies like Clearview AI and Vigilant Solutions have partnered with over 3,100 federal and local law enforcement agencies to provide access to extensive databases that far surpass government databases in size. For instance, Clearview AI has gathered billions of images from the web, enabling law enforcement to match photos of individuals with online images, creating potential for widespread surveillance beyond traditional government capabilities​ (Brookings)​.

The integration of the "Internet of Things" (IoT) into surveillance efforts further compounds these privacy concerns. Devices like doorbell cameras, smart thermostats, and digital assistants continuously collect data which can then be accessed by law enforcement, either with or without a warrant, depending on the circumstance. This creates a surveillance ecosystem where an individual’s movements, habits, and even private conversations inside their home can potentially be monitored by the government​ (Brennan Center for Justice)​.

Moreover, the legal frameworks governing access to data from connected devices are evolving, with the Supreme Court's decisions suggesting a nuanced approach to the Fourth Amendment's application to digital privacy. While some types of data collection by law enforcement require a warrant, others do not, especially if the information is considered exposed to the public or shared with third parties like technology companies​ (Brennan Center for Justice)​.

This extensive reach of surveillance technologies, bolstered by partnerships between law enforcement and private tech companies, demonstrates a powerful capacity to monitor individuals not just locally but potentially across states, depending on the networks and databases accessed. The consequences of this surveillance capability are far-reaching, impacting privacy rights, and raising critical questions about the balance between security and individual freedoms.

Given the complexity of navigating these issues, advocating for robust legal protections and transparency in the use of surveillance technologies by both public and private entities is crucial to safeguarding privacy rights and ensuring accountable use of these powerful tools. The Impact of Private Funding: The involvement of high net-worth individuals and foundations in funding these surveillance capabilities further complicates the landscape, raising questions about accountability, transparency, and the influence of private interests on public policing practices​ (Brookings)​. The potential for surveillance tools to be weaponized against communities, particularly marginalized groups, underlines the urgent need for reform​ (Brookings)​.

Our Demands:

  • Immediate Disclosure: Law enforcement agencies must disclose their surveillance capabilities, specifically those that can monitor individuals inside their homes, and the extent of their use.
  • Independent Oversight and Regulation: We demand the establishment of rigorous oversight mechanisms, including independent bodies that involve community representatives to oversee the deployment and use of surveillance technologies.
  • Moratorium on Invasive Surveillance: Until effective oversight and ethical frameworks are established, there should be a moratorium on the most invasive surveillance practices, especially those capable of monitoring individuals in their private homes.
  • Commitment to Community Engagement and Privacy Protections: We advocate for a renewed commitment to engaging with communities on issues of surveillance and privacy, ensuring that policies and practices respect individual rights and liberties.

"In a society where surveillance technologies hold the power to not only observe but also influence and manipulate, we've seen the profound impacts these tools can have on personal freedoms and family integrity. The exploitation of these technologies by the wealthy to maintain power and widen the gap between the haves and have-nots is not just a breach of privacy—it's a threat to the very fabric of our community. The misuse of surveillance to monitor, divide, and manipulate individuals, including my own family, underscores a chilling reality: these practices are not about safety but control. It's imperative we demand transparency, accountability, and equitable laws to protect all citizens from the overreach of those who wield technology not as a tool for the common good, but as a weapon for personal gain and social dominance." - CK McWhorter

The McWhorter Foundation is deeply committed to advocating for policies and practices that respect the privacy and dignity of all individuals. We stand ready to support initiatives that advance these principles and encourage law enforcement agencies, policymakers, and the community at large to join us in this critical endeavor.

Regulatory Considerations:

This press release is not intended to constitute an offer to sell or the solicitation of an offer to buy securities. Any offers, sales, or purchases will be made in accordance with applicable securities laws and regulations. McWhorter Foundation has not registered with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) and may operate under exemptions. Any investment decisions should be made in consultation with appropriate legal and financial advisors, considering the individual circumstances and objectives of potential investors.

Forward-Looking Statements:

Forward-looking statements involve inherent risks and uncertainties, and we caution you not to place undue reliance on forward-looking statements. We do not undertake any obligation to update or revise any forward-looking statements, whether as a result of new information, future events, or otherwise, except as required by law. Actual results or outcomes may differ materially from those indicated or suggested by any forward-looking statements as a result of various factors, including, but not limited to, regulatory and legal developments, market conditions, and the outcome of negotiations. We disclaim any intention or obligation to publicly update or revise any forward-looking statements, whether as a result of new information, future events, or otherwise.

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