Firms that profit from surveillance technology now oppose it : The Indicator from Planet Money The companies that lead the field in surveillance technology are turning against it.
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The Business Of Police Surveillance

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The Business Of Police Surveillance

The Business Of Police Surveillance

The Business Of Police Surveillance

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  • <iframe src="https://www.npr.org/player/embed/876389237/876404338" width="100%" height="290" frameborder="0" scrolling="no" title="NPR embedded audio player">
  • Transcript
Alexandra Schuler/picture alliance via Getty
The logo of the New York City Police Department (NYPD) stands on a surveillance camera near Times Square. (Photo by Alexandra Schuler/picture alliance via Getty Images)
Alexandra Schuler/picture alliance via Getty

Studies show that surveillance cameras can be effective at reducing crime. So it's no surprise that companies and police departments have been partnering up to create surveillance systems all over the U.S. Microsoft and Amazon have led the field, which is crowded with dozens of smaller companies.

But privacy advocates are worried about how the technology is being used...a lot of police departments are using the cameras in conjunction with facial recognition technology. And using that to monitor people who participate in protests or who don't social distance...and track them around a city.

This week, calls for reform have been coming fast and furious. And not just from privacy advocates: Many of the messages of protest have come from the companies that developed much of the technology. IBM said it's getting out of the facial recognition business. Microsoft and Amazon said they're going to stop making their software available to police.

On today's show, why the companies that make so much money from surveillance technology are turning against it.

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