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Saturday 19th of September 2020

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Police Surveillance Spurs Call for Youth Digital ‘Bill of Rights’

Monday 20th of July 2020 | National, United States
The Crime Report
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Young people need a digital “Bill of Rights” to protect their social media communications from misuse by police and educational authorities, says a new report.

The report, based on interviews with young New Yorkers and commissioned by the Center for Court Innovation (CCI), called on New York’s City Council to ban all social media surveillance of young people and to scrap a controversial database containing the names of suspected gang members.

Police around the country frequently keep watch over social media channels used by youth to monitor conflicts that could spill into gang violence, but the lack of transparency or rules governing such surveillance disproportionately affects youth of color, claims the report written by the Youth Justice Board (YJB), a project of the CCI.

A lack of digital awareness on the part of youth, along with inadequate regulations and the Criminal Group Database operated by the New York Police Department (NYPD) —colloquially known as the ”Gang Database” —has left young New Yorkers “caught between competing adult priorities and left unserved by existing institutions,” the report, entitled “All Eyes on Us,” charged.

The report was the latest installment in a series of studies by the CCI to examine criminal justice issues and propose solutions from the perspective of young people themselves.

Researchers interviewed experts in the field, community members and public officials. They also led focus groups comprised of 12 youth affected by social media surveillance.

“Youth lack knowledge and training around digital citizenship and digital rights…[which] keeps young people from making educated choices on social media, leading to misinterpretations, mistakes and punishment,” the report said.

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  • International Juvenile Justice Observatory (IJJO). Belgian Public Utility Foundation

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