While cell phone tracking has been a hot topic in the public sphere for over a decade, new local implementations of military grade tracking technology has generated even more controversy over privacy concerns. One of about two dozen forces nationwide, Oakland County police recently purchased the Hailstorm data tracking system for $170,000 utilizing federal Homeland Security grants. They hope to utilize the technology to increase public safety; however the local community is hesitant about the new technology.
Fearing privacy invasions and abuse of data collection power, The American Civil Liberties Union along with local leaders and the public have begun asking questions about the need for such sophisticated machinery and the role it will play in their lives.
Oakland County law enforcement authorities are doing their best to alleviate public concern about the collection of their data resulting from the new system. They assert that the Hailstorm technology does not pose a personal privacy threat because it does not record or monitor conversations nor does it capture any personal data through data mining. The use of the technology to obtain any information would be supported by a search warrant and affidavit in coherence with police practices. Very little information about how the system actually operates has been exposed, which has only increased skepticism and mistrust in the public.
These privacy concerns pose great risks for legal backlash. Obtaining the best police professional liability insurance could help manage fees and costs accrued through lawsuits and investigations.
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